Let’s not monkey around. We’ve got a bunch of new Blu-rays to look at this week. Some will make you smile. Others will stink. Some are just plain inconvenient. They’re all going to war for your shopping dollar.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘The Emoji Movie‘ – As if ‘The Angry Birds Movie’ and ‘Trolls’ weren’t shameless enough cash-grabs, here comes a movie based on those dumb cartoony icon things that everybody insists on foisting into all their text messages and social media posts these days. Critics were nearly unanimous that such a thing does not need to exist (neither do emojis, frankly), but of course that didn’t stop it from making money.
‘War for the Planet of the Apes‘ – I expected Fox to drag out the ‘Apes’ reboot series at least as long as the original franchise, but the studio is calling this third entry the finale of a trilogy. I wasn’t much impressed with ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ and never watched further. Supposedly the second one was better. Most fans who bothered to see it were satisfied with the concluding chapter, but the movie got lost in a sea of other sequels this summer and its box office was down significantly from ‘Dawn’. I expect that it will do better on home video, where it’s available in 2D, 3D or Ultra HD.
‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power‘ – I get that Al Gore’s trying to make the title a pun about being a sequel to his documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, but calling it ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’ just kind of makes it sound like the movie probably doesn’t need to exist. Anyway, climate change is still bad. Don’t do climate change.
‘Annabelle: Creation‘ – The prequel/spinoff to ‘The Conjuring’ gets its own prequel to tell us exactly where that creepy evil doll came from. If that’s a burning question you were dying to know the answer to, just wait until the pre-pre-prequel that gives us the origin story of the horse that supplied her doll hair.
‘Personal Shopper‘ – Kristen Stewart reunites with her ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’ director Olivier Assayas, once again playing the put-upon assistant to a wealthy person. The twist this time is that the movie is also a ghost story. Reviews were mixed for both the film itself and Stewart’s performance specifically.
Arriving simultaneously on Blu-ray and Ultra HD are ‘The Emoji Movie‘ and ‘War for the Planet of the Apes‘.
Warner breaks out the holiday classics ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving‘ and ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas‘ to standalone UHD releases, but the ‘Peanuts: Holiday Collection‘ from a couple weeks ago is a better value.
If the stress of the holiday season makes you want to watch family members punching each other in the face repeatedly, Lionsgate scratches that particular itch with the brother-vs.-brother MMA drama ‘Warrior‘.
Unsurprisingly, Fox has taken advantage of the opportunity to bundle the latest three ‘Apes’ movies into a ‘Planet of the Apes Trilogy‘ box set.
GKIDS continues rolling out it Hayao Miyazaki reissues with the animator’s 1984 ‘Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind‘ and 1986 ‘Castle in the Sky‘.
Sean Penn’s 1991 directorial debut ‘The Indian Runner‘ makes its way to Blu-ray from Kino, as does the goofy 1982 action comedy ‘They Call Me Bruce?‘.
Unseen in its original CinemaScope aspect ratio for decades, the 1955 Alan Ladd film noir thriller ‘Hell on Frisco Bay‘ receives a new restoration for the Warner Archive.
Getting into the Halloween spirit, the Warner Archive also offers the 1981 slasher ‘Night School‘.
Arrow Video breaks out a standalone copy of the splatterific ‘Blood Feast‘, previously bundled in the expensive ‘The Herschell Gordon Lewis Feast‘ box set.
For classier scares, the Cohen Media Group resurrects ‘Frankenstein’ director James Whale’s 1932 chiller ‘The Old Dark House‘, starring Boris Karloff.
‘Hell on Frisco Bay’ sounds interesting. I’ll put that and ‘The Old Dark House’ on my wish list. I also still need to evaluate which of the Hayao Miyazaki titles are worth upgrading.
I’ll probably give the new ‘Planet of the Apes’ trilogy another chance someday, but not today.