June started off with a big rush of new Blu-rays, including at least a couple of must-own titles. As if to give you a chance to catch your breath, the release calendar slows down dramatically this week.
‘Midnight Special‘ – Jeff Nichols, the acclaimed indie director of ‘Take Shelter’ and ‘Mud’, makes his first big studio picture with a sci-fi tale about a father (Nichols regular Michael Shannon) who must protect his young son, a boy with paranormal powers, from prying government interests. Produced for $18 million – Nichols’ most expensive yet but still quite small by studio standards – the film is sort of an arty low-budget superhero flick. It’s also an obvious riff on ’80s sci-fi movies like ‘E.T.’ and ‘Starman’. Although critics were mostly supportive, audiences showed little interest. Perhaps this will find its niche on home video?
‘The Brothers Grimsby‘ – Still trying to prove that there’s more to him than Ali G and Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen plays a dim-witted English soccer hooligan who must help his super-spy brother (Mark Strong) save the world from terrorists. The raunchy R-rated action-comedy was critically scorned and tanked at the box office on both sides of the pond.
‘Knight of Cups‘ – Back when he only made movies once a decade, Terrence Malick was revered as an auteur of Kubrickian stature. Since he started increasing his pace in recent years, his films have suffered diminishing returns. Malick’s latest, a navel-gazing drama about a Los Angeles screenwriter trying to drown his ennui in a sea of beautiful women, was widely accused of playing like a bad parody of his earlier work.
‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2‘ – The surprise hit of 2002 finally gets the sequel it absolutely never needed. I watched the first one of these to humor my mother and found it nearly unendurable. I will not make that mistake a second time.
‘The Wave‘ – When he reviewed the theatrical release, Phil said that this Norwegian disaster movie “frequently beats Roland Emmerich at his own game with only a fraction of the resources.” That’s a good thing, right? The director, a fellow by the memorable name of Roar Uthaug, has now been tapped to helm the upcoming ‘Tomb Raider’ reboot.
‘Embrace of the Serpent‘ – The Colombian adventure film about the last survivor of an Amazonian tribe who becomes embroiled with two Western doctors searching for rare medicinal plants received nearly universal acclaim from critics and was nominated for the Best-Foreign Language Film Oscar this year. Its striking black-and-white imagery should be quite a visual treat on Blu-ray.
The Criterion Collection very rarely dabbles in animation. The label released the anime milestone ‘Akira’ on Laserdisc back in the day, but its only animated offerings on DVD or Blu-ray until now were ‘Watership Down’ and Wes Anderson’s stop-motion ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’. That list grows a little bit this week with the trippy French sci-fi parable ‘Fantastic Planet‘.
The Warner Archive salvages the Debbie Reynolds musical ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown‘.
Shout! Factory takes a ride on the 1977 thriller ‘Rollercoaster‘, while Scream Factory crushes on Alicia Silverstone’s ‘Fatal Attraction’/’Lolita’ mash-up ‘The Crush‘.
Olive Films ponders how far Ian McShane’s career has come since appearing in the 1969 Suzanne Pleshette tourism comedy ‘If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium‘.
Is this really the first time that the Christopher Eccleston season of ‘Doctor Who‘ has been released on Blu-ray on its own? I’m no expert on the show, but it appears that the first season was previously bundled in an out-of-print Season 1-7 box set back in 2013. And now the belated standalone release has an MSRP of $59.99 for 13 episodes? Are you kidding me with that? I guess I’m glad I’m not a Whovian.
‘Midnight Special’ and ‘Embrace of the Serpent’ will go on my rental list. That’s as much as I’m willing to commit to this week.
Do you see anything to your liking?