November gets off to an incredible start as one of the biggest movies of the year hits Blu-ray. I know, I can hardly believe that we’ve hit the end of the Sharknado franchise either!
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Incredibles 2 – After a stint in live-action, director Brad Bird finally returned to Pixar to deliver the sequel to The Incredibles that fans had long clamored for. Interestingly, he chose to continue the story from immediately where the first movie ended. As expected, the film was a huge critical and commercial success, though (and perhaps this is just my perception) the reaction to it didn’t seem quite as enthusiastic as the original. Might the fact that modern pop culture has become oversaturated with other superhero movies in the meantime have diluted any impact a sequel could make at this point? Regardless, it made a lot of money in theaters and will continue to do so on Blu-ray and UHD. You can get the latter in a SteelBook at Best Buy (with dumb, gimmicky art, unfortunately) or a Target exclusive that comes with a storybook. A 3D version is available overseas.
BlacKkKlansman – The last significant commercial success Spike Lee had was Inside Man in 2006. Refusing to be written off, the filmmaker roared back this year with a serio-comic dramatization of the bizarre true story of a black police officer (John David Washington) who infiltrated the KKK with the help of his white partner (Adam Driver). Told with Lee’s trademark incendiary passion and wit, the movie scored a lot of rave reviews and strong box office returns.
Christopher Robin – Not to be confused with last year’s Goodbye Christopher Robin, the bio-pic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne’s problematic relationship with his real-life son. This whimsical Disney concoction stars Ewan McGregor as a grown-up version of the fictionalized Christopher, who gets shaken out of his drudgerous middle-aged life when his favorite teddy bear comes back to life to play with him again. In other words, it’s Hook meets Paddington, as directed by Marc Forster in full Finding Neverland mode. Although it mostly seemed to fly under the radar, critics gave the movie a pass and family audiences approved enough to quietly gross a couple hundred million dollars.
Papillon – Even styling his hair in the same iconic cut, I can’t imagine that anyone will ever believe that Charlie Hunnam is the new generation’s Steve McQueen. That casting is apparently just one of the problems with the remake of the famous 1973 prison drama. Reviews were mixed and it barely got a theatrical release.
The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time – What a world we live in that a Syfy channel joke has now spanned six – yes, six! – infernal movies. In what is allegedly the final chapter of this epic tale, Ian Ziering once again returns to battle tornado-borne sharks. Time travel is involved, likely just to make a pun out of the title.
The week is overflowing with new Ultra HD discs, starting with day-and-date releases for Incredibles 2 and BlacKkKlansman.
BBC offers the first season of Sherlock, while Target has an exclusive copy of Stranger Things Season 2 in VHS-style packaging.
To build anticipation for the new sequel, Disney uprezzes Wreck-It Ralph to 4k with a SteelBook at Best Buy.
Other catalog upgrades include Superman: The Movie from Warner Bros., Air Force One from Sony (that laughable CGI climax is going to look especially horrible in 4k HDR), Law Abiding Citizen from Lionsgate, and a 5-movie collection of all of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies from Paramount.
Repackaged into new SteelBooks are the UHD editions of The Shape of Water (identical to the case released in Europe earlier this year), Wonder Woman (an improvement over the last SteelBook), Justice League (kind of a lateral move from its prior SteelBook) and a huge collection of all eight Harry Potter movies.
Criterion tells A Story from Chikamatsu, a 1954 period drama about infidelity and forbidden love by Japanese auteur Kenji Mizoguchi.
Why the Sharknado movies haven’t been enshrined in the Criterion Collection yet is a mystery to me. Now that the franchise is allegedly done, Asylum packages a complete six-film collection in a SteelBook.
The Warner Archive goes swinging through the jungle with Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure starring Gordon Scott as the Lord of the Apes.
Olive digs up a collection of Frank Capra’s WWII documentaries called Mr. Capra Goes to War.
Scripted directly for the screen by Stephen King and directed by his buddy Mick Garris, the 1992 were-cat thriller Sleepwalkers is a terrible, terrible movie. That won’t stop Scream Factory from giving it a Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray.
Following that, Scream Factory reissues John Carpenter’s The Thing in a new SteelBook with an ugly Pop Art cover. The 3-disc set not only contains Scream’s own 2016 Collector’s Edition, but also a licensed copy of the Arrow Video 4k remaster from the UK. (Yes, that’s the same disc that prompted a horde of Arrow fanboys to shout me down when I said I didn’t think it looked all that great.)
More SteelBook reissues are available for Isle of Dogs from Fox, Phantasm from Well Go USA, and Grindhouse from whichever label is currently distributing assets from the now-defunct Weinstein Company. (Amazon’s listing isn’t clear.) Best Buy also has rudimentary pages claiming SteelBooks for a Rocky Collection, Planet of the Apes 3-Movie Collection, and Super Troopers 1&2, but none has any details or cover art, so I didn’t create listings for them.
Much as happened last year with the show’s first season, Netflix is sneaking Season 2 of Stranger Things onto Blu-ray and Ultra HD as Target exclusives in gimmicky VHS-style packaging. Following the same puzzling release pattern, both appeared out of the blue with no advance warning or advertising.
More widely available is the first season of HBO’s Succession.
Anime fans should take note of FUNimation’s impressive Complete Collection of Mamoru Oshii’s classic mecha series Patlabor: The Mobile Police, which contains 63 TV episodes, 16 OVAs, and three movies.
I have the 3D SteelBook for Incredibles 2 on preorder from the UK. I’m also very eager to see BlacKkKlansman. I don’t think I can afford it right now, but that Patlabor box set is really tempting me.
What’s your plan of action for the week?