The biggest new Blu-ray this week boldly goes where twelve previous movies have already gone before. If that doesn’t do it for you, perhaps you’ll find some enjoyment in watching an Oscar winner completely humiliate himself?
‘Star Trek Beyond‘ – After J.J. Abrams trekked over to the ‘Star Wars’ universe, the studio heads at Paramount handed the third movie in his ‘Star Trek’ reboot franchise to ‘Fast & Furious’ director Justin Lin. This leads to an awkward clash of sensibilities. The good news: Lin’s movie is generally better and more entertaining than Abrams’ last one, the disappointing ‘Star Trek into Darkness’. The bad news: Despite some interesting ideas, the film turns very dumb, and does so a lot. Regardless, I enjoyed it more than I didn’t. On disc, it comes in a variety of options including 2D, 3D, SteelBook, UHD, or an Amazon-exclusive gift set with a spaceship model. All have Dolby Atmos audio.
‘Nine Lives‘ – Often, when you see overqualified talent working on a movie far beneath their abilities, you wonder if perhaps the project started out with a much more interesting script before it got derailed by rewrites and studio interference. Other times, it’s utterly perplexing how or why a movie got made at all. Not only does this talking cat body-swap comedy star two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, it was directed by former A-Lister Barry Sonnenfeld (of the ‘Men in Black’ franchise). How did this happen? What could this movie have possibly started as to get these people involved? Whatever it was, the final result was an embarrassing bomb.
‘Bad Moms‘ – Remember the family-friendly, PG-rated, Christian-values-espousing flop ‘Moms’ Night Out‘ from a couple years ago? (You’ll be forgiven if you don’t.) ‘The Hangover’ screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore decided to make a proper raunchy, R-rated version of it. Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Christina Applegate are among the suburban soccer moms who go wild for a night of drunken debauchery. The movie proved to be a sleeper hit over the summer – which either means that audiences have forgiven Lucas and Moore for ‘The Hangover Part III’, or (more likely) nobody recognized those names and went to see the movie solely based on the cast and premise.
‘Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders‘ – Holy time warp, Batman! Adam West and Burt Ward have reunited to reprise their iconic roles in the 1960s ‘Batman’ TV series. No, it’s not about a geriatric Batman and Robin. They lend their voices to an animated feature in the style of their old show. Julie Newmar also returns as Catwoman. This looks all kinds of awesome.
‘The Sea of Trees‘ – Gus Van Sant’s latest drama, in which a depressed Matthew McConaughey makes a new friend while wandering in Japan’s infamous “Suicide Forest,” was laughed off screens at the Cannes Film Festival last year. For an art film that relies on critics’ reviews and festival word-of-mouth to find an audience, that’s a kiss of death. The movie currently has a woeful 10% aggregate score on Rotten Tomatoes.
‘Imperium‘ – Daniel Radcliffe has worked very hard this year to shake off his Harry Potter typecasting. In addition to playing a farting corpse in the bizarre ‘Swiss Army Man’, he stars here as an FBI agent who goes undercover as a skinhead white supremacist. Reviews praised his performance and the movie.
‘Anthropoid‘ – Challenging Radcliffe’s film for the prize of weirdest movie title of the week is a WWII thriller starring Cillian Murphy and Jamie “Fifty Shades” Dornan as Czech freedom fighters on a suicide mission to assassinate a top Nazi general. Based on a true story, the movie received mixed reviews, some calling it gripping and others calling it dull.
Sony expands its Choice Collection of manufactured-on-demand BD-R discs with a reissue of the Bill Murray comedy ‘Stripes‘, which makes no sense given that the original pressed Blu-ray appears to still be in print and is widely available at retailers including Amazon and Best Buy. Titles making their high-def disc debuts this way include ‘Neighbors‘ (the John Belushi/Dan Aykroyd one from 1981, not the one with Seth Rogen), ‘Not Another Teen Movie‘, and a little-seen John Ford comedy-drama called ‘Gideon of Scotland Yard‘.
I guess it’s already the time of year to start rolling out Christmas movies. Warner gets the ball moving with a SteelBook repackage of ‘The Polar Express‘.
Meanwhile, the Warner Archive unearths the campy 1975 bomb ‘Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze‘.
As far as I can tell, Fox’s so-called ‘X-Men Collection‘ is just a bundle of the existing Blu-rays for the eight official ‘X-Men’ movies plus the ‘Deadpool’ spinoff shoved into a new slipcover box. Absurdly priced at $199.99, that’s an average of $22 per film when most of them can be purchased individually for less than $10 each.
TV product this week includes the second season of ‘Outlander‘, the final season of ‘Hell on Wheels‘ (plus a Complete Series compilation), and a Limited Edition of ‘The Walking Dead‘ Season 6.
I’m working on a review of the new ‘Star Trek’ now and would have bought it regardless. I definitely also need to rent ‘Return of the Caped Crusaders’. Beyond that (no pun intended), nothing else calls to me. Will you part with any money this week?