Is there such a thing as a week with too many new Blu-ray releases? I think we may have one on our hands. The release slate is clogged with 4k upgrades and other reissues of old titles. Also, Tom Cruise fights a sexy mummy.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
‘The Mummy‘ – After disavowing ‘The Wolf Man’ and ‘Dracula Untold’, Universal tries once again to launch a shared cinematic universe (now called the “Dark Universe”) for its classic monsters, starting with a reboot of the ‘Mummy’ franchise. Tom Cruise steps in to replace Brendan Fraser, which may have sounded like an upgrade on paper, but didn’t entice either critics or audiences. Reviews were overwhelmingly negative and the movie underperformed at the box office. (Domestically, it made less than any of the Brendan Fraser entries, even ‘Tomb of the Dragon Emperor’.) Nevertheless, Universal has too much invested this time to start over again and is pressing forward with a ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ remake. At least that one will have a real director (Bill Condon) at the helm, as opposed to hack screenwriter Alex Kurtzman. Maybe it stands a chance.
‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie‘ – DreamWorks gives the popular children’s book character an animated adventure optimistically described right in the title as the first in a presumed franchise. Whether further entries will actually follow is a little up in the air at the moment, as the box office wasn’t great and it got crushed by DreamWorks’ own ‘The Boss Baby’. However, this one also had a pretty modest budget and may still have been profitable. Ed Helms voices the title character, a school principal hypnotized by two troublemaking students into believing that he’s an underdressed superhero.
‘It Comes at Night‘ – Director Trey Edward Shults made a small splash in art house circles with his micro-budget family drama ‘Krisha’ in 2015. His follow-up stars Joel Edgerton as a father trying to keep his family safe in a house in the woods while they ride out a mysterious global pandemic. Sold perhaps misleadingly as a horror thriller, reactions to the film were split over a wide gulf between positive critics’ reviews and scathing audience response. Apparently, a lot of people were really pissed off that the title is metaphorical and nothing actually comes at night.
As expected, ‘The Mummy‘ gets an Ultra HD release side-by-side with the regular Blu-ray. To piggyback off that, Universal is also dropping standalone 4k editions of all three Brendan Fraser ‘Mummy’ movies (previously bundled in an “Ultimate Trilogy” UHD back in May), along with ‘Dracula Untold‘ and (seriously?!) ‘Van Helsing‘ for the hell of it.
Although lacking any classic monsters, ‘Get Out‘, ‘Split‘ and the trilogy of ‘The Purge‘ movies are all horror-themed, which I guess is close enough to ride the mummy’s coattails.
After you’re done seeing the re-release of ‘Close Encounters’ in a theater, you can head home watch Steven Spielberg’s much cuddlier alien invasion blockbuster, ‘E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial‘, on UHD.
DreamWorks’ ‘Captain Underpants‘ flies onto the format too.
Kathryn Bigelow’s harrowing Oscar nominee ‘Zero Dark Thirty‘ is also available via a Best Buy exclusive.
Monsters, monsters, monsters… Universal keeps the classic monsters coming with SteelBook reissues of ‘The Mummy‘ (1932), ‘Dracula‘ (1931), ‘Frankenstein‘ (1931), ‘The Bride of Frankenstein‘ (1935) and ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon‘ (1954). Not in a SteelBook but broken out from a franchise box set to a standalone copy is 1955’s ‘Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy‘.
Criterion’s sole title this week is the 1967 music documentary ‘Festival‘.
Kino gets ‘Swept Away‘ with Lina Wertmüller’s Oscar nominated ‘Seven Beauties‘, and then takes a side trip to hunt for treasure and dodge a volcanic explosion at ‘Krakatoa: East of Java‘.
This seems like a really terrible moment in time to dredge up Bill Cosby’s notorious 1987 flop ‘Leonard Part 6‘, but somebody at Mill Creek had the balls to do it. From the same year comes the only slightly more reputable star-studded legal thriller ‘Suspect‘.
Synapse released a Collector’s Edition SteelBook of Dario Argento’s ‘Phenomena‘ last year. That disc now gets reissued in a more affordable keepcase.
Also from Synapse is 2014’s ‘The Creep Behind the Camera‘, a part-documentary/part-biopic about dirtbag movie director Vic Savage. This is paired in a double-feature with the real Savage’s schlocky 1964 horror flick ‘The Creeping Terror’.
Finally, Fox dumps a ton of horror movies back on the market with new Pop Art covers for a so-called Halloween Collection.
Television box sets include the fourth season of ‘Silicon Valley‘, the fifth season of ‘Orphan Black‘, the sixth season of ‘Veep‘, the tenth season of ‘The Big Bang Theory‘, and a complete series collection of the excellent ‘Friday Night Lights‘.
Despite the huge volume of releases, my interests this week are pretty minimal. I’d like to check out ‘The Creep Behind the Camera’. That’s pretty much it. Are you more excited for anything?