Even a giant 50-foot Oprah couldn’t save one of this week’s Blu-ray releases from being a major box office disappointment earlier this year. Or maybe that’s the reason it was such a disappointment. Let’s puzzle over that while we see what else is available.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘A Wrinkle in Time‘ – As was widely publicized, Ava DuVernay (‘Selma’) became the first woman of color to helm a studio tentpole budgeted over $100 million. Unfortunately, even the combination of an acclaimed director, a classic children’s fantasy novel as source material, and a diverse cast couldn’t overcome the fact that the trailers… well, they just didn’t look very good. Frankly, the movie appears to be another eye-sore CGI-fest in the vein of Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ or Sam Raimi’s ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful’. (That said, it is curious that both of those movies made money while this one didn’t.) Critics struggled to be supportive of the project’s good intentions while finding the story (about a young girl and her friends whisked through time and space by three magical fairy godmothers wearing silly costumes and sillier makeup) to be a confused mess. Audiences didn’t care and the movie didn’t come anywhere close to breaking even. Hoping for a second chance to recoup some of its lost investment, Disney offers a SteelBook at Best Buy, a Target exclusive packaged with a photo book, or an Ultra HD edition.
‘The Hurricane Heist‘ – The title gives away the whole show. A group of yahoos attempt to stage a heist on a U.S. Mint facility in Alabama using a hurricane as cover. Never mind that there are no U.S. Mint facilities in Alabama. Such details don’t concern director Rob Cohen (of the first ‘Fast and the Furious’ and ‘Stealth’). Despite production values looking to be about on par with an Asylum production for the Syfy network, the movie somehow got released to theaters. Nobody cared. It flopped.
‘Death Wish‘ – With real gun violence on the news practically every day, there seemingly couldn’t be a worse time to revive the old Charles Bronson vigilante action franchise. Nevertheless, director Eli Roth and star Bruce Willis went ahead anyway, releasing the film just a couple weeks after the Parkland school massacre. The details of its bad timing will likely be forgotten eventually, and the movie will be viewed as the simple revenge fantasy schlock it was probably intended as. What won’t be ignored, however, is how bored and disengaged Bruce Willis looks in what is clearly another paycheck-cashing job for an actor who stopped giving a shit a long time ago.
‘Every Day‘ – Rising starlet Angourie Rice (‘The Nice Guys’) stars in a YA romance with a supernatural twist. She plays a teenage girl who falls in love with a disembodied spirit that inhabits a different body each day. That the reviews for a movie like this were pretty middling probably wouldn’t bother its target audience, but even those potential viewers didn’t seem too interested in it anyway.
‘Gringo‘ – Nash Edgerton, brother of Joel Edgerton, directs a dark comedy about a meek pharmaceutical company rep (David Oyelowo) who travels to Mexico on business and gets kidnapped by a cartel, among other misadventures. In addition to his brother, the director also roped in Charlize Theron and Thandie Newton, but even that star power didn’t draw much attention to the film. A lack of advertising from the studio probably didn’t help. Reviews were mixed to negative.
‘A Wrinkle in Time‘ and ‘The Hurricane Heist‘ debut in Ultra HD alongside their regular Blu-rays.
In anticipation of its belated sequel, Pixar upgrades ‘The Incredibles‘ to 4k. For reasons less clear, Lionsgate does the same for the Sylvester Stallone/Arnold Schwarzenegger team-up flop ‘Escape Plan‘.
After having already reissued the show once before to add Atmos audio, HBO tries to entice fans into buying yet another ‘Game of Thrones‘ Season 1 box set.
Disney pulls its classic ‘Peter Pan‘ out of the vault for a Signature Collection re-release, offered in SteelBook or storybook variants at Best Buy and Target respectively. Sadly, it’s still the same controversial de-grained and recolored video transfer that wipes away much of the original line detail in the artwork.
The Warner Archive gets a-steppin’ with the classic musical ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers‘. During its original production, the movie was shot twice, once in “flat” 35mm and again in CinemaScope widescreen, utilizing different performance takes unique to each. The Blu-ray includes both versions.
If you don’t happen to care for Digibooks, Sony repackages the Frank Capra classics ‘Lost Horizon‘ and ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington‘ into standard keepcases.
Kino pays a return visit to ‘The Big Country‘. William Wyler’s 1958 Western starring Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston gets a 60th Anniversary reissue.
Best Buy puts Tobe Hooper’s original 1974 ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre‘ into a SteelBook that almost has decent artwork, if not for the pull-quote from goddamned Rex Reed on the front cover. Can I get a variant without that?
The complete series set of the animated ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender‘ moves out of Best Buy exclusivity into general retail this week.
Other TV product includes the fourth season of ‘The Last Ship‘ and the 21st season of ‘South Park‘.
If I were equipped for 4k, I might want to upgrade ‘The Incredibles’. As is, I’m still happy with the original Blu-ray.
I have some curiosity about ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ from an academic perspective, but it really doesn’t look like my kind of musical otherwise (not that I’m especially fond of musicals in the first place).
Looking over the rest of the list, I’m good sitting this week out. What’s your plan?