A big fish swims home this week as DC’s billion-dollar blockbuster hits the Blu-ray and Ultra HD disc formats. This might be a bigger deal if it hadn’t been available for streaming for a couple weeks already.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Aquaman – Isn’t it funny how the DC Extended Universe has scored its most success with characters that might seem hardest to translate to live action? Despite mixed reviews, the Aquaman movie outgrossed even Wonder Woman to become the studio’s biggest hit to date. Most of that is likely attributable to a bonkers visual design by director James Wan and a winning performance from Jason Momoa. I know as many people who loved it as those who dismissed it entirely, but the thing sold a lot of tickets in either case. If a streaming copy just doesn’t cut it for you, disc options include 2D, 3D, or UHD. Among the retailer exclusives is one at Walmart that’s packaged with a Funko Pop! keychain.
If Beale Street Could Talk – Barry Jenkins follows up his surprise Oscar winner Moonlight with an adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel about a young couple in Harlem whose relationship is challenged when the man (Stephan James) is falsely accused and arrested for rape. The film was very acclaimed, and Regina King claimed a gold statue of her own for Best Supporting Actress
Can You Ever Forgive Me? – The same year she got a Razzie for The Happytime Murders, Melissa McCarthy was also nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for the true story of Lee Israel, a failed celebrity biographer who concocted a mini criminal enterprise forging letters and documents from famous dead authors and selling them on the collector’s market. Richard E. Grant was likewise nominated for playing her accomplice and fellow alcoholic. Directed by Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) from a script by Nicole Holofcener, the darkly comedic movie was praised by most critics. However, our Phil was less enthused when he saw it at TIFF last year.
Stan & Ollie – Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly put on a lot of prosthetics (and considerable girth in Reilly’s case) to play the legendary comedy duo Laurel & Hardy. Both are said to do a very good job of mimicking the originals. The movie as a whole appears to be pretty standard bio-pic fare. It failed to do much business at the box office or land any significant awards attention.
Second Act – In between seasons of hosting World of Dance, Jennifer Lopez returns to rom-com duty playing a dollar-store assistant manager whose career skyrockets when she creates a fake Facebook profile. Then the movie shifts gears to become an adoption drama, only for J.Lo to decide to go to art school. It sounds like a confused mess, and the reviews were pretty brutal, but that didn’t stop it from somehow pocketing a comfortable profit.
Aquaman takes a dive into the UHD waters, with a SteelBook at Best Buy or a Digibook at Target.
One week ahead of its remake hitting theaters, Paramount revisits the 1989 adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary with a 4k upgrade. The Best Buy SteelBook has Mondo art, if that does anything for you.
Criterion marks its first collaboration with Robert Zemeckis by bringing his 1978 feature directorial debut, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, into the collection. A minor work for a man known for his blockbusters, the movie is an affectionate coming-of-age comedy about the early days of Beatlemania. One might hope that this could someday lead to Criterion editions of Back to the Future or Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but the likelihood of that seems extremely slim.
Also from Criterion this week is a 2002 Mexican drama called Japón.
A video essayist whose work has appeared in the supplement sections of several Criterion discs, the director calling himself Kogonada went out and made his own movie in 2017. The indie drama Columbus stars John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson as a pair of strangers who walk around the title city in Ohio talking about architecture. Critics swooned and it was nominated for a handful of Independent Spirit Awards. The belated Blu-ray release comes from Oscilloscope Laboratories.
Even if you’re not ready for 4k, Paramount has you covered with a 30th Anniversary Blu-ray for Pet Sematary.
Joining the Shout Select line this week are the Neil Simon comedy Brighton Beach Memoirs and the Sonny Chiba martial arts trilogy The Street Fighter Collection. (The latter comes a few weeks after Arrow Video brought the spinoff Sister Street Fighter Collection to Blu-ray.)
GKIDS brings out another anime classic with Satoshi Kon’s challenging psychological thriller Perfect Blue.
Kino finally completes Sergio Leone’s Man with No Name trilogy with the middle entry, For a Few Dollars More. Unlike Kino’s problematic Blu-rays for A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, this one supposedly gets the colors right.
More from Kino include John Frankenheimer’s 1973 adaptation of the Eugene O’Neill play The Iceman Cometh and a quartet of Bob Hope/Bing Crosby comedies: Road to Singapore (1940), Road to Zanzibar (1941), Road to Morocco (1942), and Road to Utopia (1946).
Scream Factory exhumes the 1945 Boris Karloff chiller The Body Snatcher, produced by Val Lewton and directed by Robert Wise.
Ballet and spy movies are two genres you almost can’t imagine would mix, but back in the early ’80s some crazy movie producer really wanted to make Mikhail Baryshnikov a movie star, and thought the best way to do that would be to pair him with Gregory Hines in a Cold War thriller. Thus we have White Nights, now coming to Blu-ray from Sony, along with Harold Ramis’ 1996 cloning comedy Multiplicity.
Rom-coms and spy thrillers are almost as unlikely a match, but the Warner Archive digs up one such concoction with Doris Day in 1966’s The Glass Bottom Boat.
FilmRise double-dips on the Chloë Moretz drama The Miseducation of Cameron Post with a Special Edition just a few months after the first release.
Adam scoffed at the James Franco haunted bank heist thriller The Vault when he watched it on Netflix a few months ago. Now it’s on Blu-ray for some reason.
I’m getting kind of tired of talking about Mill Creek repeatedly delaying some of its VHS Retro Look titles. Allegedly, Sheena and Songwriter are supposed to come out this week. But I’ve said that before, so take it with a grain of salt.
Gearing up for the final season, HBO reissues all the past seasons of Game of Thrones with new cover art by graphic designer Robert Ball, whose claim to fame has been making posters for every episode of the show.
Did you realize that NBC’s cheesy Midnight, Texas had a second season? Me neither.
I’m currently fighting an urge to blind-buy Aquaman. If I did, the UK SteelBook has much better artwork than the one at Best Buy.
More likely to get my money are Perfect Blue and For a Few Dollars More, while If Beale Street Could Talk and Can You Ever Forgive Me? look like good rentals.
Will you dip your toe in the water for any titles this week?