What happens when you make a sequel to a movie that was only marginally successful or well-liked the first time around, and strip away the few features that made it at all interesting? We find out in this week’s new Blu-ray releases!
‘Pacific Rim: Uprising‘ – The original ‘Pacific Rim’ was a frustratingly dumb, largely pointless movie. But with Guillermo del Toro behind the camera, it was at least very stylish and imaginative on a visual level, and Idris Elba helped sell the dopiest aspects of the plot. If not saved by a big turnout in China, the movie would have been a box office flop. Because it did wind up making money, a sequel had to follow. However, it didn’t make quite enough money to justify paying del Toro or Elba to return, nor star Charlie Hunnam (who probably won’t be much missed). Instead, we get TV producer Steven S. DeKnight (Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’) in the director’s chair with John Boyega (fair enough) and Scott Eastwood (ehhh…) in front of the cameras, and reportedly a significant reduction in the robot vs. kaiju punching action that fans would naturally expect to see. Unsurprisingly, it tanked. Nevertheless, Universal is making a full-court press on home video, with Blu-ray, 4k Ultra HD, and 3D options, a combo pack at Best Buy that puts all three of those formats in the same package, or a SteelBook at Target (Blu-ray only).
‘Midnight Sun‘ – If Clint Eastwood’s son can have a movie career despite a crippling lack of screen charisma, why not Arnold Schwarzenegger’s? In his first starring role, Patrick Schwarzenegger plays the love interest to a young girl (Bella Thorne) who won’t let her life-threatening allergy to sunlight keep them apart. (That sure sounds like basically the same plot as last year’s ‘Everything, Everything‘, doesn’t it?) Critics scoffed, but the low-budget YA romance captured the hearts of enough of its target audience to turn a comfortable profit.
‘Unsane‘ – Steven Soderbergh’s second feature since canceling his retirement is a very modest psychological thriller starring Claire Foy as a troubled woman whose mental health is not much improved by a stay at a mental institution. Is she really nuts, or are the doctors trying to drive her mad on purpose? Reviews were mixed and the box office was negligible, but it cost next to nothing to make. The whole movie was shot on an iPhone, because that’s the sort of weird experiment Soderbergh needs to get out of his system from time to time. (See also: ‘Bubble‘.) I’m not sure how well that will translate to 4k HDR, but Universal invites you to find out on UHD.
More relevant than ever with every new school shooting that continues to happen on American soil with distressing frequency, Michael Moore’s Oscar-winning activist documentary ‘Bowling for Columbine‘ gets inducted into the Criterion Collection. Remembering the volume of hate mail I received when I reviewed the movie on DVD back in the day, I expect our alt-Right readers to blow a gasket about this.
Criterion’s other release this week, the 1983 Spanish magical realist drama ‘El Sur‘, should be less politically divisive, one would hope.
Twilight Time is in a musical mood this month with Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature in ‘My Gal Sal‘ (1942), Janet Leigh and Jack Lemon in ‘My Sister Eileen‘ (1955), or Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand in ‘Let’s Make Love‘ (1960). As far as I know, the 1970 romantic comedy ‘Take a Girl Like You‘ is not a musical, but it does feature former child star Hayley Mills in one of her first grown-up roles.
The Warner Archive spends ‘Two Weeks in Another Town‘ with the 1962 Vincente Minnelli thriller starring Kirk Douglas.
Searching for another Alfred Hitchcock movie to release on Blu-ray, Kino finds one ‘Under Capricorn‘. The 1949 film may be one of Hitchcock’s lesser efforts, but Ingrid Bergman can liven up almost anything.
Beware the ‘Night of the Lepus‘! The schlocky 1972 monster bunny horror flick hops onto Blu-ray courtesy of Scream Factory.
The third and final season of ‘Dark Matter‘ limps onto home video now that Syfy has canceled the show. (I struggled to get through one episode, personally.)
BBC brags that the ‘Doctor Who: Tom Baker – Season One‘ collection (episodes from 1975-76) have been “specially restored for Blu-ray.” Temper your expectations. The show was still shot on low-def video with a production budget of about $0.75 an episode. There’s only so good that fetching scarf can look when upconverted to HD.
I’m working on a review of ‘Bowling for Columbine’ and bracing myself for the inevitable reaction that will receive.
I’ll probably watch ‘Unsane’ if I come across it on cable or Netflix, but it’s not a high priority for me.
That’s all I’ve got. How’s the week look to you?