Your friends will be there when your back is to the wall. You’ll find you’ll need us ’cause there’s no one else to call. When it looks hopeless, a decision’s what you need… So decide already. Which Blu-rays will you buy this week?
‘22 Jump Street‘ – I’ve been waiting for this to hit home video. The original ’21 Jump Street’ is the movie where I finally saw the light on Channing Tatum, an actor I couldn’t previously stand. He was hilarious in that, and this sequel (from the same creative team of Chris Miller and Phil Lord, on a hot streak after ‘The Lego Movie’) looks just as funny.
‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill for‘ – On the other hand, Robert Rodriguez’s much-belated sequel/prequel/side-quel to his last movie of any significance was widely panned by both critics and fans of the original. I’m inclined to believe the complaints that it’s a pointless retread, is less coherent than the first movie, and doesn’t offer anything new. And yet, the idea of seeing those striking black-and-white visuals of the ‘Sin City’ world in 3D is kind of appealing on a superficial level. Also, Eva Green as a femme fatale… yummy. (As a reminder, Best Buy has an exclusive SteelBook.)
‘Into the Storm‘ – Take ‘Twister’, which was already a pretty stupid movie, and remake it 18 years later as a Found-Footage flick for half the original budget and with a cast of no-name actors. Does that have any appeal for you? Me neither.
‘The Wind Rises‘ – By my count, this is the fifth feature film that legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has sworn will be his very last movie before wandering off into retirement. This one’s a historical drama about an aviation engineer who designed Japanese aircraft during World War II. It looks a lot more interesting than ‘Ponyo’, which is a good thing. (Not that I hated ‘Ponyo’, but it was very much a lesser effort from the director.) I look forward to Miyazaki making many more last-movie-evers in the future.
‘If I Stay‘ – It saddens me to see Chloe Moretz star in a sappy romance drama adapted from a YA novel. She seemed to be headed on a much more interesting career path than this.
‘And So It Goes‘ – What the hell happened to Rob Reiner? Remember when he used to be an important director? Did you even realize that he released a new movie starring Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton earlier this year? Did you ever see a trailer or an ad for it? I sure didn’t. The plot description (a curmudgeonly senior has to take care of the precocious granddaughter he never knew he had) sounds pretty horrible.
‘Automata‘ – Antonio Banderas stars in a low-budget sci-fi flick from a “visionary” first-time filmmaker no one has ever heard of. It looks like a retread of ‘I, Robot’ (the Will Smith movie, not the Isaac Asimov novel). On the plus side, most of the robotic characters were achieved with practical effects rather than CGI, so that part’s cool.
‘20,000 Days on Earth‘ – Musician, author, screenwriter and sometimes actor Nick Cave celebrates his 57th birthday (which would technically be 20,805 days on Earth) with what I guess you could call a fictional documentary about a day in the life of a person very much like himself named Nick Cave. Yeah, it’s weird, but so is he, so fans should know what they’re getting themselves into.
Now available on Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection, Frank Capra’s classic romantic comedy ‘It Happened One Night‘ was the first movie to win the so-called Oscar Big Five: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Clark Gable), Best Actress (Claudette Colbert) and Best Screenplay. Only two other movies have ever repeated that achievement, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘The Silence of the Lambs’.
As a tie-in with ‘The Wind Rises’, Disney also offers up new high-def editions of two more Studio Ghibli classics: ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service‘ and ‘Princess Mononoke‘. Be warned that although both movies include both Japanese and English soundtrack options, the discs only provide English “dubtitles” (a transcription of the English dubbing script), not a true English subtitle translation of the original dialogue. That’s a pretty major screw-up considering that foreign Blu-rays have the correct subtitles, as did Disney’s prior DVD releases.
Scream Factory remembers a couple of George Romero’s lesser non-zombie horror efforts with ‘Monkey Shines‘ and ‘The Dark Half‘.
Kino reaches back to the days of silent cinema for the horror masterpiece ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari‘.
Also distributed by Kino, ‘The Bubble‘ is the latest restoration from the 3-D Film Archive. The 1966 movie (also known as ‘Fantastic Invasion of Planet Earth’) is sort of a cross between ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ and, well, ‘Under the Dome’. Don’t expect much from the plot or acting quality, but these old B-movies made very aggressive and fun use of the 3D format.
Walter Koenig and Bruce Campbell battle zombie-robots from outer space in the 1989 cheesefest ‘Moontrap‘!
After the disastrous failure of ‘Popeye’, Robert Altman was ostracized from Hollywood and spent most of the 1980s making small independent films, many based on stage plays. ‘Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean‘ stars Cher, Karen Black and Sandy Dennis as former high school friends who reunite on the anniversary of James Dean’s death to look back on their lives.
Finally, Flicker Alley has new restorations of two more classic Cinerama travelogues, ‘Search for Paradise’ and ‘Seven Wonders of the World’, both presented in Smilebox format.
This week actually has quite a few discs that I’m interested in. ’22 Jump Street’, certainly. ‘It Happened One Night’ and ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ are both must-buys. If not for the subtitle issues, ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ and ‘Princess Mononoke’ should have been as well. I guess I’ll have to look into importing better editions from overseas. ‘The Wind Rises’ deserves at least a rental.
‘The Bubble’ sounds fun, but I don’t need to buy it right away. I’m undecided about the ‘Sin City’ sequel.
What grabs your attention this week?