Blondes supposedly have more fun. This week, they kick a bunch of ass. Also causing trouble on Blu-ray are some screwy squirrels and a weirdo in a bear suit.
‘Atomic Blonde‘ – Let’s get the “Joan Wick” jokes out of the way quickly, shall we? Charlize Theron stars as a tough-but-sexy MI-6 agent in a Cold War spy thriller set in 1980s Berlin. Even without knowing that director David Leitch co-helmed the original ‘John Wick’ movie, the trailers made a comparison with that franchise pretty obvious, from the glossy visuals to the hard-hitting violence. Critics were mixed to positive on the movie, calling it a case of style over substance, but some pretty great style. On disc, it’s available in Blu-ray or Ultra HD options, with Pop Art SteelBooks for both at Best Buy.
‘Wind River‘ – ‘Sicario’ and ‘Hell or High Water’ screenwriter Taylor Sheridan attempts to transition to directing with another politically charged thriller. (Technically, Sheridan also directed an obscure horror flick in 2011, but that was before he had much clout or an Oscar nomination.) This one is about a tracker (Jeremy Renner) and a rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) investigating a murder on a Native American reservation. Most reviews were supportive of the mystery and suspense aspects of the film, but critical of the racial politics of centering this story around a couple of white heroes. The premise reminds me of Michael Apted’s 1992 film ‘Thunderheart’, which had much the same problem but was released in an era less sensitive to such things.
‘The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature‘ – Who even remembers the 2014 animated comedy about a bunch of squirrels trying to heist a nut store? Although modestly successful at the time, the movie has been virtually forgotten in the three short years that followed. Nevertheless, here’s a sequel to regurgitate most of the same gags in an even more forgettable fashion.
‘Brigsby Bear‘ – Eccentric ‘SNL’ supporting player Kyle Mooney wrote and stars in a bizarre dark comedy about a dysfunctional young man determined to make a movie continuing the adventures of his favorite kiddie TV show, which he discovers had been produced exclusively for his own viewing and no one else. As it turns out, the reason behind the show’s creation is pretty messed up. Mooney’s socially awkward hipster shtick can rub some viewers the wrong way and tends to wear thin in more than short doses, but the movie is said to be a strangely heartfelt commentary on modern society’s fetishization of childhood nostalgia.
Now available for purchasing during this month’s Barnes & Noble sale are new Criterion Collection editions of Jean-Pierre Melville’s ultra-cool 1967 hitman drama ‘Le samourai‘ and director Donna Deitch’s 1985 lesbian love story ‘Desert Hearts‘.
When Arrow Video released the expensive Scarlett Box limited edition collection of the first three ‘Hellraiser‘ movies last year, I remarked that I don’t care for any of the sequels and would probably hold out for a standalone release of just the first film. Now it’s here, but unfortunately it’s packaged in a Mondo Pop Art SteelBook, so I find myself waiting again.
New to Arrow are the 1976 Blaxploitation horror flick ‘J.D.’s Revenge‘ and the ‘George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn‘ box set, which contains three lesser-known features the director made between his famous zombie movies.
The latest Twilight Time limited editions include Rex Harrison in the 1967 family musical ‘Doctor Dolittle‘ (from a new 4k restoration by Fox), Woody Allen’s 1971 political parody ‘Bananas‘, Sandra Dee in the original “beach party” flick ‘Gidget‘ (1959), Marlon Brando in the interracial romance ‘Sayonara‘ (1957), and the Japanese road trip drama ‘The Yellow Handkerchief‘ (1977).
Previously, the three ‘Psycho‘ sequels were released individually by Scream Factory. Universal has now taken back the rights and bundled them all with the original Hitchcock film in a 4-movie collection. It seems to me that this will just emphasize the huge disparity in quality between the original and its follow-ups.
Shout! Factory gives us a little Lily Tomlin in the 1981 comedy ‘The Incredible Shrinking Woman‘.
Kino gets ‘The Last Laugh‘ with F.W. Murnau’s silent masterpiece about the plight of a working class doorman.
The second season of AMC’s ‘Preacher‘ is perhaps even more uneven than the first, but the show is still overflowing with truly bonkers ideas that no other series would ever attempt, not the least of which is introducing Adolf Hitler as a sympathetic, even pitiable character.
‘Atomic Blonde’, ‘Wind River’ and ‘Brigsby Bear’ are all strong rental candidates for me. ‘Le samourai’ deserves a purchase. ‘The Last Laugh’ will go on my wish list for later. I’m going to continue holding out a little longer for the Arrow edition of ‘Hellraiser’.
What looks good to you this week?