With Thanksgiving and Black Friday now over, the home video studios have decided to take things easy for another week. While we get a few discs that might be considered notable releases, the holiday season’s biggest titles won’t start rolling out until the beginning of December.
You’d think that Sony might have wanted to release ‘Men in Black III‘ on Black Friday to capitalize on the pun, rather than hold it back to the following Friday. That seems like a missed opportunity. Whatever the case, this third belated entry was a reasonable hit over the summer and helped to at least somewhat redeem a franchise that everyone assumed was dead after 2002’s mighty lame ‘Men in Black II’. 3D ticket prices probably helped. Personally, I was never much of a fan of the first ‘Men in Black’, and thought that the trailers for this one just made everyone involved look tired and bored. Josh Brolin does a great Tommy Lee Jones impersonation, though. I guess that counts for something.
Also in 3D is ‘Step Up: Revolution‘. Even by the standards of its modest budget, this was a huge flop, and may finally signal the end of the inexplicably popular street dancing franchise.
Shia LaBeouf claims that he’s sworn off making ‘Transformers’ sequels and other summer popcorn crap, and only wants to play genuine adult roles going forward. His first attempt to be taken seriously as an actor, the Prohibition-era gangster yarn ‘Lawless‘, didn’t convince too many critics or viewers. Despite an acclaimed director (John Hillcoat of ‘The Proposition’ and ‘The Road’) and a respectable cast around him (including Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce and Gary Oldman), the film’s reviews were tepid and its box office was poor.
Another disappointment this year was ‘ParaNorman‘, the new stop-motion animated feature from Laika Entertainment (producers of ‘Coraline’). Perhaps releasing a Halloween-themed spooky comedy in the middle of August wasn’t such a good idea. Reviews were strong, though. Hopefully, the movie may find more life on video.
Other ghost stories being released this week include the horror flick ‘The Apparition‘, starring Ashley Greene from the ‘Twilight’ movies, and the musical ‘Sparkle‘, which resurrects Whitney Houston for a supporting turn. Forgive my cynicism about the latter, but the movie was scheduled to go direct-to-video until the actress passed away.
The Complete First Season of Luck‘ should more accurately be called the Complete Series. The horse racing drama didn’t have a whole lot of luck on HBO this year. Despite the producing power of Michael Mann and David Milch, as well as a powerhouse cast populated with the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte and Michael Gambon, the show’s ratings were lackluster. Nonetheless, HBO initially renewed it for a second season, until a series of accidents on set resulted in the deaths of three horses. The network eventually shut down production and canceled the series. That’s kind of too bad. Although the show was a bit overly-confusing for its own good (both Mann and Milch are fond of throwing the audience directly into the action without a whole lot of exposition), it had a number of exciting and suspenseful racing sequences, and slowly grew into a rather compelling story over the course of its only season. At the moment, I’m not sure whether the Blu-ray box set will include any of the footage from the aborted second season as a supplement or not.
In other TV developments, MGM issues all five seasons of ‘Stargate: Atlantis‘, while Shout! Factory has the second season of ‘Transformers Prime‘ and FUNimation has licensed the darkly surreal anime classic ‘Serial Experiments Lain‘. Sadly, the Blu-ray of the latter doesn’t come in a cool lunch box like the DVD edition did back in the day.
‘Lain’ will go on my wish list for the future, and I’ll probably rent ‘ParaNorman’ at some point. Otherwise, I think I’ll sit out this week. How about you? Will you spend any money this week?