This week brings us an odd assortment of new Blu-rays. The lengthy list of discs is heavy on back catalog releases with almost no new movies of significance. Tom Cruise fans get quite a bounty, though.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘Tyler Perry’s Acrimony‘ – Having last worked with him in 2009’s ‘I Can Do Bad All by Myself’, Taraji P. Henson returns to the Tyler Perry movie factory to star in a revenge thriller about a faithful wife who gets rather pissed off when she discovers that her husband is a cheating dog. Perry writes and directs, but apparently couldn’t find a way to work his Madea character into this one. Like most of his productions, the movie wasn’t screened for many critics and fared poorly with those who did see it, but played well to its target audience and made a comfortable profit.
‘The Endless‘ – Co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, responsible for the 2014 rom-com/monster flick mashup ‘Spring‘, aim for a less comedic type of cult film with their follow-up. Two brothers return to the UFO cult they left years earlier hoping for closure, only to get caught in the middle of some pretty weird shit that forces them to question their beliefs. Although the movie didn’t get much of a theatrical release, critics were generally impressed.
‘Escape Plan 2: Hades‘ – About the only thing 2013’s prison thriller ‘Escape Plan’ had going for it was the long-awaited team-up between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. Schwarzenegger couldn’t be bothered to return for the sequel, so Dave Bautista steps in for him. Stallone is back, but reportedly has minimal screen time. Although Stallone claims that a third movie is currently in development, the fact that this one is going direct-to-video isn’t a good sign.
In anticipation of the new entry, Paramount upgrades all five of the previous ‘Mission: Impossible‘ movies to Ultra HD. This is especially good news for the first three, which were inexplicably limited to lossy Dolby Digital audio on Blu-ray and now finally move up to lossless Dolby TrueHD (no Atmos, sadly, except on ‘Rogue Nation’). The one that will benefit the most is, ironically, the franchise’s least-loved. The old Blu-ray edition of ‘M:I-2’ suffered a lousy video transfer and desperately needed a remaster. Unfortunately, I believe the regular Blu-ray discs in each package are just the old copies and haven’t been updated.
For the hell of it, Paramount also bumps Cruise’s first ‘Jack Reacher‘ movie up to 4k as well.
Unrelated to any of that, Sony finally releases the UHD edition of ‘Groundhog Day‘ from Best Buy exclusivity into general retail.
You have to love that the Criterion Collection can find room for both Swedish art film legend Ingmar Bergman and Baltimore trash auteur John Waters in the same week. I almost cannot fathom watching Bergman’s somber rape revenge drama ‘The Virgin Spring‘ and Waters’ high camp ‘Female Trouble‘ back-to-back, but now I kind of want to.
Another weird pairing comes from the Warner Archive, which uses the excuse of the new (if instantly forgettable) remake to bring the Blaxploitation classic ‘Super Fly‘ to Blu-ray alongside, of all things, Sergio Leone’s 1961 sword-and-sandals epic ‘The Colossus of Rhodes‘.
Arrow Video continues its recent New Zealand cinema kick with 1984’s ‘Vigil‘, the debut feature from director Vincent Ward. The label will also release Ward’s ‘The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey’ next month. I can only hope this is leading toward his very underrated ‘Map of the Human Heart’ soon.
Also from Arrow is Abel Ferrara’s gritty black-and-white vampire tale ‘The Addiction‘.
Scream Factory ventures back to 1944 for the classic horror sequel ‘The Curse of the Cat People‘, produced by Val Lewton and directed by Robert Wise.
If you missed out on the Twilight Time limited edition copy of the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan rom-com ‘Sleepless in Seattle‘ before it sold out, Sony takes back the rights to issue its own copy.
The first season of DC’s ‘Black Lightning‘ makes its way to disc from Warner Bros.
Author Ray Bradbury once famously disparaged the 1980 TV miniseries adaptation of his short story collection ‘The Martian Chronicles‘ as “just boring.” Kino hopes you’ll give it a second look anyway.
If that’s not your speed, Kino also has a second volume of ‘The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection‘.
Even though I haven’t upgraded to 4k yet, I’m tempted by all of this week’s ‘Mission: Impossible’ UHD discs, especially the first three, which should be notable improvements over their Blu-ray counterparts. I may need to wait for the prices to come down, though.
‘The Curse of the Cat People’, ‘The Virgin Spring’, ‘Female Trouble’, ‘Vigil’, and ‘The Addiction’ will all go on my wish list for some later time.
Where will you throw your dollars this week?