Did I promise a small improvement in Blu-ray releases this week when I wrote last week’s Highlights post? Perhaps that was mostly wishful thinking. At least we get one major new title this week, though. No, it’s not a great title, but it’s got to count for something, right?
‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation‘ is a movie that benefits from reduced expectations. As I said in my Blu-ray review (yes, I wrote another one of those!), it’s a fairly mediocre, tepid PG-13 action flick. However, compared to its predecessor (the thoroughly godawful ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra‘), ‘Retaliation’ is a quantum leap improvement on every level, and marks the first time that the G.I. Joe franchise has actually appeared on screen in recognizable form. That’s a step in the right direction. I can only hope that the next step goes a little further. As a reminder, Walmart has an exclusive SteelBook edition of this, and Best Buy has something called the Extended Action Cut, which is reportedly about 13 minutes longer than the theatrical version.
Our site’s release calendar lists ‘Twixt‘ as coming out on Tuesday, but I spotted a copy in my local Best Buy over the weekend, and I believe it was actually released last week. Whatever the case, I didn’t cover it last week, so I’ll talk about it here. This is the latest movie from Francis Ford Coppola, who has shifted gears in this phase of his career to focus on small, experimental indie productions. In this sort-of horror story, Val Kilmer stars as an author who gets wrapped up in a murder investigation while on a book tour. The film was made in 2011 and played in festivals, but never secured a distributor for a full theatrical release. Originally, selected scenes switched from 2D to 3D, but that conceit has been dropped for the Blu-ray, which is 2D only. (Frankly, it was never a wise decision to ask viewers to wear 3D glasses for the entirety of a movie that’s mostly 2D.) Reviews were primarily negative, though the movie had a few defenders.
Also from the festival scene is ‘Black Rock‘, a horror thriller (!) from Katie Aselton and Mark Duplass, stars of the FX (soon FXX) sitcom ‘The League’. How odd. I don’t think I could take Aselton seriously in a movie like this. Aaron saw it at Sundance and thought it completely sucked. Too bad.
We seem to be on a horror theme this week for some reason. Is there something particularly scary about the end of July? The Criterion Collection adds Guillermo del Toro’s spooky ghost story ‘The Devil’s Backbone‘, while Scream Factory reaches back to the 1970s for ‘The Incredible Melting Man‘ and John Carpenter’s ‘The Fog‘.
On a lighter note, Fox brings us the Marilyn Monroe classics ‘Bus Stop‘ and ‘Niagara‘, as well as Elvis Presley’s ‘Love Me Tender‘.
If ‘Twixt’ doesn’t fulfill your yearning for minor Coppola, Image resurrects his 1986 fantasy rom-com ‘Peggy Sue Got Married‘.
Finally, Sony continues to give some of its most worthless titles the “Mastered in 4k” treatment as a ploy to trick people into buying them again. This week’s attempt is the moronic stoner action comedy ‘Pineapple Express‘, in which Seth Rogen and James Franco compete to see who can be the bigger dipshit asshole, and we all lose.
On the TV front, HBO Home Video rolls out the first season of its sibling network Cinemax’s ‘Banshee‘, and Paramount unveils the latest results of its ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation‘ restoration work, this time with the entirety of Season 4 or a separate release of the ‘Redemption’ two-parter.
I’ve already watched the ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ Blu-ray, but am curious enough to check out the extended cut as soon as I can get my hands on it. I’m also a big fan of ‘The Devil’s Backbone’. Will you grab anything this week?