Avast, ye mateys! Shiver me timbers, walk the plank and all that other nonsense. The pirates arrrr coming and it be time t’ sail the ocean Blu…
I’ll stop now, I promise.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales‘ – Johnny Depp has debts to pay, which means that it’s time to trot out Capt. Jack Sparrow again. Javier Bardem joins the cast this time as the villain in the fifth (ugh) movie in a series that, let’s be honest, ran out of wind after the first one. As with ‘Transformers’, franchise fatigue finally set in with audiences, and the box office for this entry was down considerably from the last three. The movie nonetheless sets sail on a variety of formats and retailer exclusives, including SteelBooks for both Blu-ray and UHD at Best Buy. Because Disney has forsaken 3D in North America once again, you’ll have to import from abroad if that’s your fancy.
‘A Ghost Story‘ – Casey Affleck spends an entire movie wearing a white sheet with eye holes cut out, and Rooney Mara sits for five unbroken minutes to eat a whole pie on camera. Remarkably, many critics are calling this one of the best movies of the year. David Lowery, who helmed last year’s ‘Pete’s Dragon’ remake that nobody saw, takes a silly concept and treats it as a meditation on grief, loss, the passage of time, and the impermanence of all things.
‘The Book of Henry‘ – Somewhere between making one of the biggest blockbusters of all time (‘Jurassic World’) and being fired from the ‘Star Wars’ franchise, director Colin Trevorrow attempted to return to his indie roots with a small drama about a grieving mother (Naomi Watts) who sets out to assassinate her neighbor because her dead son left a note asking her to. This was not well received. Critics tore into it, calling it one of the most misguided movies ever made. Audiences ignored it. Trevorrow is currently not attached to direct anything else in the near future.
‘Goon: Last of the Enforcers‘ – That Sean William Scott hockey comedy that you sort-of half remember coming out a bunch of years ago, and maybe enjoyed if you saw it, gets an unneeded sequel that no one was very enthusiastic about.
‘Cult of Chucky‘ – The evil doll is back for more serial-killing mayhem, now in his seventh outing. Don Mancini (who wrote all of these movies and directed the last couple) is still at the helm. Brad Dourif (as the voice of Chucky) and Jennifer Tilly also return. Despite going direct to video, this entry arrives with a fair amount of buzz that it might be the best ‘Child’s Play’ sequel yet. Not that ‘Child’s Play’ was ever a masterpiece or anything, but that’s kind of crazy, isn’t it?
‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales‘ heads out into 4k waters alongside its 1080p counterpart. Meanwhile, Sony offers Ultra HD upgrades to ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai‘ and ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula‘. Lionsgate does the same for ‘Kick-Ass‘ and ‘Warm Bodies‘.
The Criterion Collection sinks its fangs into Carl Theodor Dreyer’s surreal horror classic ‘Vampyr‘. The 1932 movie is lucky to still exist at all, and unfortunately what remains of it is in far from pristine condition.
The Warner Archive offers a reissue of ‘Superman: The Movie‘, this time containing the Extended Cut (previously available on Blu-ray) plus the extra-extended TV version that has never before been officially released on home video. Aired originally as a two-night miniseries, the TV version is padded with a lot of unnecessary filler footage, but should still hold some curiosity value for fans. Sadly, the disc does not have the movie’s original theatrical cut, which remains exclusive to the Superman Anthology box set.
Also escaping from the Warner Archive is Kyle MacLachlan’s 1987 sci-fi thriller ‘The Hidden‘. I haven’t seen it in years, but I remember this being a pretty tight bit of B-movie fun.
Suddenly Seymour… is getting reissued… The 1986 remake of ‘Little Shop of Horrors‘ (the one people remember and actually enjoy) was first released on Blu-ray in 2012 with Digibook packaging. I’m not sure what took so long for Warner to put that disc into a keepcase, but here it finally is.
Shout! Factory heads ‘Home for the Holidays‘ with Jodie Foster’s dysfunctional family comedy.
Sony forges a trail over the ‘Lost Horizon‘ for the 80th anniversary of the Frank Capra adventure yarn.
Arrow Video is very busy this week with four new titles. These include two giallo thrillers (Lucio Fulci’s 1972 ‘Don’t Torture a Duckling‘ and Sergio Martino’s 1975 ‘The Suspicious Death of a Minor‘) as well as new remasters of the hilarious 1988 John Cleese/Kevin Kline comedy ‘A Fish Called Wanda‘ and the schlocky 1984 Stephen King adaptation ‘Children of the Corn‘.
Just in time for creator Joss Whedon’s ostracization from the nerd community, Fox reissues the original movie version of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘ (the one with Kristy Swanson that most fans ignore anyway) in a 25th Anniversary Edition.
Universal tosses ‘Cult of Chucky’ into a new box along with the rest of the franchise for a ‘Chucky: Complete 7-Movie Collection‘.
Be warned that Mill Creek’s 50th Anniversary Edition of George Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead‘ has an atrocious video transfer from terrible Public Domain source elements. Check out Matthew’s review in the link above. Janus Films recently completed a more thorough restoration that received praise from director Romero before his passing earlier this year, which means there’s a strong chance the Criterion Collection may release it on Blu-ray. (Janus and Criterion are owned by the same parent company and have a close relationship.) Fans should probably hold tight for that.
Separately, Scream Factory has a Collector’s Edition double-dip for Romero’s sequel ‘Land of the Dead‘.
More scares arrive from Synapse, which serves up the 1991 horror comedy ‘Popcorn‘.
Now collected for your viewing pleasure are Season 3 of ‘iZombie‘, Season 4 Part 2 of ‘Vikings‘, Season 5 of ‘House of Cards‘, and Season 6 of ‘American Horror Story‘.
HBO also sentences the Bernie Madoff bio-pic ‘The Wizard of Lies‘ to life on home video.
I have a copy of ‘Vampyr’ in for review. I’m curious enough about ‘A Ghost Story’ to give it a rental. Wish list items for me include ‘Superman: The Movie’, ‘The Hidden’, ‘A Fish Called Wanda’ and ‘Lost Horizon’.
What treasures do you seek this week?