Could the most interesting Blu-ray release of the week be a famously cheesy television series from the 1970s? If so, what does that say about everything else?
‘Mortdecai‘ – Johnny Depp’s upcoming ‘Black Mass’ movie had better be good. The actor needs a little bit of redemption right about now. He may have hit rock bottom in the “silly costume, silly accent” phase of his career with this dud caper comedy about a goofy art dealer who tracks down stolen paintings. From what I understand, all of the humor in the film is based on the assumption that Depp’s twirly mustache is supposed to be the most hilarious thing ever. I have no doubt that Depp thought he was making a modern-day ‘Pink Panther’, but perhaps that style of comedy is best left in the past.
‘Blackhat‘ – Movies about computer hacking always wind up looking ridiculous and dated by the time they get released. How did the once-great Michael Mann get dragged into making this lame thriller about a super-studly good hacker (Chris Hemsworth) who travels the globe fightin’ and shootin’ from computer terminal to computer terminal on the hunt for a super-evil hacker? Yeah, it’s basically a remake of ‘Swordfish’. Did the director of ‘Heat’ really think this was a good idea?
‘Still Alice‘ – Julianne Moore finally won an Oscar. That’s pretty much the only thing this movie will be remembered for. (No, that’s not meant to be an insensitive joke about the fact that she plays a character with early-onset Alzheimer’s.)
‘The Cobbler‘ – Tom McCarthy, director of nuanced character dramas like ‘The Station Agent’ and ‘Win Win’, takes a bizarre career turn with this Adam Sandler fantasy about a shoe cobbler who magically turns into the people whose shoes he repairs. You know, so he can literally walk a mile in their shoes and see what their lives are like. Subtle. The film is reportedly too dry and sincere for Sandler’s fans and too dopey for McCarthy’s usual audience, satisfying no one.
‘Extraterrestrial‘ – When I saw this title on the list, I thought it might finally be a Blu-ray release for Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo’s delightful alien invasion spoof. Sadly, no, it’s some low-budget, cabin-in-the-woods horror flick by a team calling themselves the “Vicious Brothers” (yet who aren’t actually brothers). Yawn.
‘Tracers‘ – Taylor Lautner rides a bike and does parkour. Nobody cares.
Any new batch of Twilight Time limited editions is greeted by consternation about how quickly the discs will sell out – even though, quite honestly, very few Twilight Time Blu-rays actually do sell out. While the newest assortment has a few good movies in it, I’d bet that you’ll have plenty of time to pick them up at your leisure. The titles include: the Best Picture winning historical drama ‘A Man for All Seasons‘, the David Mamet adaptation ‘American Buffalo‘, the searing race relations drama ‘Mississippi Burning‘, the Paul Newman Western ‘Hombre‘ (based on an Elmore Leonard story), and the Ken Loach misery-fest ‘Carla’s Song‘.
The latest addition to the Criterion Collection is Leo McCarey’s classic 1937 tearjerker ‘Make Way for Tomorrow‘ about an elderly couple’s struggles during the Great Depression. Even as he won an Oscar for ‘The Awful Truth’, McCarey felt that this was the better of his two movies released the same year.
For its 75th Anniversary, Cohen Media presents a new 4k restoration of ‘Jamaica Inn‘, the last film that Alfred Hitchcock made in the UK before moving to Hollywood and the first of his three Daphne du Maurier adaptations. (The other two were ‘Rebecca’ and ‘The Birds’.)
In anticipation of the new sequel, Universal repackages the ‘Jurassic Park Collection‘ – this time in a Digibook with the 3D edition of the first movie. In anticipation of the upcoming Netflix series, Universal also gives us the goofy summer camp spoof ‘Wet Hot American Summer‘. And in anticipation of… nothing that I can tell… we get Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s porn parody (as in, parody of porn movies) ‘Orgazmo‘.
Kino may not have the rights to the Sidney Poitier classic ‘In the Heat of the Night‘ (which is with MGM), but the label did get its two lesser sequels ‘They Call Me Mister Tibbs!‘ and ‘The Organization‘.
Also from Kino are Roger Corman’s two horror pairings with star Ray Milland, ‘X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes‘ and ‘Premature Burial‘.
Arrow Video treats us to the 1969 Yakuza thriller ‘Retaliation‘ and the 1981 Euro-sleaze ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne‘.
Troma basks in the irradiated radiance of ‘The Toxic Avenger Part III‘.
Severin caters to Jess Franco cultists with ‘Vampyros Lesbos‘ and ‘She Killed in Ecstasy‘.
If you’re a fan of the original, pre-reboot ‘Battlestar Galactica‘, here’s what you need to know about Universal’s two Blu-ray box sets: The Remastered Collection contains the complete 1978 series (which only ran for one season) and its atrocious sequel series ‘Galactica 1980’. All episodes of both are cropped from their original 4:3 aspect ratio down to 16:9. The more expensive Definitive Collection, meanwhile, includes both the original 4:3 and the cropped widescreen versions, and throws in the theatrical feature version of the pilot episode that was previously released on Blu-ray a few years ago. (To be clear, you get the TV version of the pilot in any case. The theatrical version has some alternate footage to make the story more self-contained.)
To plug the new movie, HBO finally catches up with the sixth through eighth seasons of ‘Entourage‘. I loved this show in its early years, but it dragged on far too long and I never even finished watching the final season. I don’t feel especially bad about that, and have no plans to catch the movie.
Other TV offerings include the first season of something called ‘Power‘ (never heard of it) and complete series runs for both ‘Nikita‘ and ‘Revolution‘.
I don’t see anything I need to run out and buy this week. My wish list items for the future would include: ‘Jamaica Inn’, ‘A Man for All Seasons’, ‘Mississippi Burning’, ‘Hombre’, ‘American Buffalo’, and ‘Make Way for Tomorrow’.
I watched enough ‘Battlestar Galactica’ on TV as a kid that I don’t want my adult sensibilities to spoil those memories. I already know the show doesn’t hold up. I feel no need to remind myself of that by watching it again.
Are you more eager for something here than I am?