We’re in a very odd position this week where a surprise blockbuster comes out on disc while the movie is still a strong player at the theatrical box office, bringing in millions of dollars every week. I guess the studio underestimated what a monster hit it had.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle‘ – I don’t recall the original ‘Jumanji’ movie being all that beloved, honestly. Although it made a decent amount of money, it was largely dismissed back in 1995 as being a middling Robin Williams vehicle during a period where Williams made a lot of crappy movies. With the original star now dead, making a sequel (not a reboot, but officially a sequel) 22 years later seemed like a dubious idea. Rather than seeing a board game come to life in the real world, this one finds a group of kids sucked into the world of the game (now a video game) and into the bodies of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan. For some reason, family audiences ate it right up. The film’s business started strong over the Christmas holiday and had extraordinary legs, grossing over $900 million worldwide. As of last week, it was even still in the box office Top 10, almost three months after its theatrical premiere. That’s a hell of an unexpected success story. Disc options include Blu-ray or Ultra HD. Best Buy has a SteelBook for the latter.
‘Pitch Perfect 3‘ – I think that perhaps the charming original ‘Pitch Perfect’ didn’t really need to be a franchise. Although a higher box office earner, the first sequel was decidedly a lesser movie. Now we have a trilogy, and trailers for the third entry looked really desperate to find an excuse to keep these characters together after they’ve all graduated from college (and the actresses are in their mid to late 30s). Both critics and audiences came out disappointed.
‘Downsizing‘ – Alexander Payne (‘Election’, ‘The Descendants’) makes his first foray into science fiction with a satirical parable about a middle class couple (Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig) who volunteer to be shrunken down to a few inches in size and live in a supposedly idyllic community at miniature scale. That’s a pretty clever premise, but reviews were mixed to negative, complaining that Payne fails to do much with it. Audiences had little interest and the picture was a box office flop.
The trio of ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle‘, ‘Pitch Perfect 3‘, and ‘Downsizing‘ all debut simultaneously on Ultra HD. Best Buy carries SteelBooks for the first two.
To coincide with part 3, the original ‘Pitch Perfect’ and ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ also get upgraded to 4k.
The Criterion Collection explores its spiritual side with Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent masterpiece ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc‘, which features an emotionally draining performance from star Maria Falconetti that is still widely praised as one of the greatest ever captured on film. After that, Criterion turns its eye toward Volker Schlöndorff’s 1970 television movie ‘Baal‘, adapted from a play by Bertolt Brecht and starring fellow German New Wave director Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
The latest limited editions from Twilight Time focus on noir thrillers and cop dramas. Marilyn Monroe, Richard Widmark and Anne Bancroft star in the 1952 ‘Don’t Bother to Knock‘. From 1961 is Cliff Robertson in Samuel Fuller’s ‘Underworld U.S.A.‘. George C. Scott and Stacy Keach headline the 1972 adaptation of Joseph Wambaugh’s bestseller ‘The New Centurions‘. After his breakout in ‘The French Connection’, Roy Scheider played another NYPD detective in another famous car chase picture, 1973’s ‘The Seven-Ups‘.
Robert Altman channeled some Ingmar Bergman for his 1972 psychological horror drama ‘Images‘, now available from Arrow Academy.
Having recently done the same for ‘Matinee’, Shout! Factory bestows a Collector’s Edition upon Joe Dante’s 1989 manic farce ‘The ‘Burbs‘.
Well Go USA promises that its reissue of Takashi Miike’s bloody yakuza thriller ‘Ichi the Killer‘ will be the Definitive Remastered Edition.
I’m working on a review of Criterion’s ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc’. After that, I’m intrigued by ‘Images’ and the entire Twilight Time slate, but I’ll have to wait for sales on most of them.
I’ll probably catch ‘Jumanji’ and ‘Downsizing’ on TV someday.
What looks good to you this week?