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?
That TCM steelboom is gorgeous. I quit collecting them a while back but I may have to make an exception in this case. Other than that, nothing else.
On the subject of a A Wrinkle in Time and the fact it made far less money than Alice in Wonderland or Oz: The Great and Powerful. I’d guess it came down to brand recognition. Everybody and their dog has seen the original AIW and Wizard of Oz, so both movies had a built-in audience before release. Although Wrinkle is a realitively famous novel, it had never been adapted before for TV or film and I’m sure far less people have read it or much less heard of it than the other two properties. And like you said, the goofy looking trailers didn’t help a bit.
Oh wow! The Great Silence blu ray is out this week! It’s one ofbthe greatest spaghetti westerns ever made and one of the principal influences on Tarantino for The Hateful Eight. Definitely picking it up.
Also, Scream Team is releasing a collector’s edition if the throwback slasher The Sleeper which is basically a riff on Black Christmas. Gotta grab that to. This is actually a prettt good week!👍
I’m glad you mentioned that. There’s a review of Great Silence on Rock!Shock!Pop! It definitely looks interesting.
‘Wrinkle in Time’ had been adapted before 🙂
There’s a lot of good potential rentals. Gringo, Hurricane Heist. I saw Death Wish in theaters and thought it was okay, but not day one material. When it goes on sale , I’ll probably pick it up. If a 3d version of An Oprah In Time materializes, I’ll definitely pick it up. More than likely I won’t pick anything up this week. I have a lot of stuff coming to my house this week and next week is pretty big, so I’ll probably hold out.
I recently gave all my Disney/Pixar blu-rays to my niece to enjoy (she’s just starting to move out of the Dora the Explorer phase) so I’m toying with picking up Peter Pan. I figure it’ll be a long time before Disney even considers the possibility of releasing the movie on UHD. The Incredibles is a definite day one purchase. Avatar – The Last Airbender series is tempting and I may pick that up as well. Death Wish is a possible rental, but more likely I’ll end up waiting until it shows up on Netflix/Amazon Prime.
Just to note – Avatar is an upscale, but I have never had the entire series, so I am toying with that as well.
I figured the transfer might be lacking. However, at $30 for the entire series, I can live with that.
Really? They dropped the price since last I looked. At that price, I may bite.
The Incredibles UHD was a preorder, so I should have it arriving tomorrow (although I might have ordered from Best Buy, in which case, it could end up anywhere from last month to two months from now – they have never been reliable on shipping speeds for preorders).
Game of Thrones I am on the fence about. I’ve already bought season 1 twice, and the Blu-Ray with Atmos is already pretty freaking awesome, so the UHD would have to be absolutely amazing for me to to jump on that (plus, I am sure it doesn’t have the collectors edition case like the Atmos release does).
Avatar is a maybe. If Best Buy runs a good sale on it, I will probably pick it up.
A Wrinkle In Time is a rental for me.
The ‘Death Wish’ remake had already had its release date bumped once due to sensitivity issues. It was originally slated to come out just after the Las Vegas gun massacre. These gun massacres seem to happen so regularly in America that you’re never going get a clean window in which to release a shoot ’em up movie without some tragedy in relatively recent memory.
I liked the old movies (mostly parts 3 and 4), but I agree that Willis just hasn’t been an engaged performer for a long time. A different lead might’ve got me to give this one a go.