Oh baby! One of the most inventive and fun movies of the year is available on Blu-ray and UHD this week. If I were a betting man, I’d wager that it will outsell the latest Will Farrell dud.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘Baby Driver‘ – Director Edgar Wright (‘Shaun of the Dead’, ‘Hot Fuzz’) finally scored the breakout hit he has long deserved with a nifty heist thriller about a kid named Baby (Ansel Elgort) who works as the go-to getaway driver for an Atlanta crime boss played by Kevin Spacey. I actually saw this in the theater twice, which is a rarity for me. I have some quibbles with the movie (Spacey is basically sleepwalking through a role he’s played a bunch of times before, and the love story plot with Lily James is very thin), but the premise is clever and the car chase and action scenes are F-U-N. I imagine that it will look and sound great on Blu-ray and UHD as well.
‘The House‘ – Will Farrell and Amy Poehler play a suburban couple who turn their home into an illegal casino to pay for their daughter’s college tuition. I like the idea of reteaming these two former ‘SNL’ vets, but the trailers did not look very funny, reviews were dire, and audiences stayed away. I’m sure it’ll begin rotation on TBS soon enough.
‘The Beguiled‘ – Sofia Coppola remakes a 1971 Clint Eastwood movie about a wounded Union soldier (Colin Farrell in this version) who takes refuge in an all-girls’ school during the Civil War, triggering all sorts of complicated sexual politics and power plays. Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning co-star. What was surely intended to be a feminist statement particularly relevant to these complicated times we live in came under criticism for alleged whitewashing and racism due to Coppola writing out or rewriting black characters present in the original novel and in the first movie.
‘Wish Upon‘ – From the title, I’d assume that this is some ‘tween romance fairy tale thing. Apparently, it’s actually a horror movie about a magic box that grant wishes, each bringing a tragic consequence ‘Monkey’s Paw’-style. Most horror fans who sat through it came out wishing they had saved their money.
‘The Lure‘ – Criterion has a number of pretty strange cult movies in its collection already (‘Beyond the Valley of the Dolls’ and ‘Eating Raoul’ come immediately to mind), but the Polish horror musical about murderous mermaid strippers may well be one of its strangest yet. Check out the bizarre NSFW trailer for a taste.
‘Baby Driver‘ puts the pedal to the floor and revs right up to 4k. Best Buy has an exclusive SteelBook with cartoon artwork by someone who clearly never actually watched the movie. (Baby exclusively wears earbuds in the movie, never on-ear headphones.)
Also arriving on Ultra HD is the ‘Peanuts: Holiday Collection‘, featuring nine classic TV specials including ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’, ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ and ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’.
In addition to ‘The Lure’, more traditional Criterion fare comes in the form of Orson Welles’ 1952 adaptation of ‘Othello‘. Criterion also has a Blu-ray-only reissue of the madcap comedy ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World‘ (previously a Blu-ray + DVD combo set).
Bill Condon apparently used his clout from the success of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to pressure Paramount into releasing an extended director’s cut of his Oscar bait musical ‘Dreamgirls‘.
Also from Paramount is a 30th Anniversary reissue of ‘Planes, Trains & Automobiles‘ with some absolutely hideous cover art designed around entirely the wrong holiday. The movie takes place at Thanksgiving, not Christmas. How could someone get that wrong and nobody in the art department catch it?
‘Miracle on 34th Street‘, on the other hand, is indeed a Christmas movie. Fox has a 70th Anniversary reissue of that one.
Alejandro González Iñárritu has four Oscars on his shelf, yet it took until now for Lionsgate to put his feature directing debut ‘Amores Perros‘ on Blu-ray. Despite all his later awards, this is arguably still his best movie.
Kinji Fukasaku’s campy 1968 sci-fi horror flick ‘The Green Slime‘ oozes out of the Warner Archive. Setting sail behind it is Michasel Curtiz’s 1941 nautical adventure ‘The Sea Wolf‘, restored to its original 100-minute length after decades of existing only in a shorter cut.
Kino doubles up on Mario Bava with the director’s 1966 horror thriller ‘Kill, Baby… Kill!‘ and his 1970 Spaghetti Western ‘Roy Colt & Winchester Jack‘. Kino then shifts over to comedy for Woody Allen’s ‘Take the Money and Run‘ and Garry Marshall’s ‘The Flamingo Kid‘.
A bunch of 1990s movies that Universal dumped as Best Buy exclusives a couple months ago now move to general retail: ‘Bowfinger‘, ‘BASEketball‘, ‘EDtv‘, ‘Problem Child‘, ‘For Love of the Game‘, and ‘The Babe‘.
I gave up on ‘The Leftovers‘ early, but some of my friends assure me that the show got a lot better. Now that it’s all wrapped up after three seasons, is it really worth giving another shot?
I have a preorder in place for the ‘Baby Driver’ UK SteelBook (which has better art than the domestic SteelBook) scheduled for release on November 13th and will wait for that.
‘Othello’ will go on my wish list for a future Criterion sale. Likewise for ‘The Green Slime’ and ‘The Sea Wolf’ at the Warner Archive. Meanwhile, ‘The Lure’ seems like something I really need to rent. I also have some interest in ‘The Beguiled’.
What gets your engine revving this week?