Last week slowed down a bit for new Blu-ray releases, but this week revs back up to speed with a huge volume of new titles, including one of the biggest box office hits of all time. Is that disc, or much of anything this week, really worth buying, though?
‘Furious 7‘ – $1.5 billion in box office grosses says that I am decidedly out of touch with what people want to see in a movie theater. I don’t get the appeal of the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise. I mean, yeah, fast cars and explosions… whatever. You can get those in lots of other movies. Admittedly, I’ve only seen the first one (a lame ‘Point Break’ knockoff) and the third (which wasn’t great either). Supposedly they start getting better with the fifth one, but who sits through five whole movies waiting to be entertained? Anyway, my feelings notwithstanding, the seventh entry was a massive hit. A lot of that may come down to the curiosity factor of seeing Paul Walker’s final performance. (Then again, that parkour movie that came out soon after his death tanked.) If you saw the movie in a theater, do you plan to buy it on disc too, or was one viewing enough?
‘Cinderella‘ – Disney continues its streak of live action re-imaginings of its own classic animated properties, and continues to have success with them. In this case, the movie is more of a straightforward remake than, for instance, ‘Maleficent’ or ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Of all people, Kenneth Branagh directs, and apparently did a good job with it. Reviews were favorable and the movie made decent money.
‘Monkey Kingdom‘ – Monkeys are cute. Monkeys are very easy to anthropomorphize. Thus, monkeys make pretty obvious subject matter for the latest DisneyNature documentary. My kids will probably love this sort of thing in a few years.
‘Love & Mercy‘ – Both John Cusack and Paul Dano (who look nothing like one another) play Beach Boys singer Brian Wilson at different points in his life in a musical bio-pic that most critics were very kind to. Screenwriter Oren Moverman also wrote Todd Haynes’ bizarre ‘I’m Not There’, which took a similar approach to casting multiple famous people to play the same musical celebrity (Bob Dylan there). This looks a little more conventional than that one, fortunately.
‘Reality‘ – French surrealist Quentin Dupieux (director of the oddball evil tire movie ‘Rubber‘) goes super meta with a Hollywood satire about a filmmaker whose entire movie project will collapse if he can’t find the perfect groaning sound effect within 48 hours. This is for those of you who thought that ‘Birdman’ just wasn’t weird enough.
In anticipation of the upcoming theatrical release of ‘Spectre’, MGM is reissuing all of the James Bond movies yet again, this time in a series of smaller collections grouped by actor. Nine of the films will also get individual new SteelBooks through Best Buy. As far as I’m aware, all of these are the same Blu-ray discs released previously. However, if you buy the Amazon-exclusive Ultimate James Bond Collection box set, you’ll get a new bonus disc with a 90-minute documentary.
Also from MGM is a breakout release of the so-called “Producer’s Cut” of ‘Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers‘ (a.k.a. ‘Halloween 6’). This version of the movie was previously exclusive to the complete franchise box set released last year.
Out of the Warner Archive comes the film noir Raymond Chandler adaptation ‘Murder, My Sweet‘, starring Dick Powell as the author’s hero Philip Marlowe.
The Criterion Collection’s sole addition this week is Krzysztof Kieslowski’s metaphysical drama ‘Blind Chance‘. I tend to lose a lot of points as a film nerd whenever I admit that I don’t think much of Kieslowski’s wildly overrated ‘Three Colors Trilogy’, so I’ll pass on this one. From the plot summary, it appears that the later Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle ‘Sliding Doors’ was an unacknowledged remake of this.
Arrow Video celebrates a very different Polish filmmaker, Euro-sleaze auteur Walerian Borowczyk, with his 1974 erotic drama ‘Immoral Tales‘ and 1975 horror fantasy ‘The Beast‘.
Mill Creek digs up Christopher Guest’s 1989 Hollywood satire ‘The Big Picture‘ and the goofy 1990 alien invasion spoof ‘Spaced Invaders‘.
Tons of TV box sets hit store shelves in time to promote their upcoming seasons. These include Season 1 of ‘Empire‘, Season 1 of ‘Aquarius‘, Season 2 of ‘Sleepy Hollow‘, Season 8 of ‘The Big Bang Theory‘, and Season 12 of ‘NCIS‘, as well as the Marvel pairing of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘ Season 2 and ‘Agent Carter‘ Season 1.
The final episode of HBO’s gripping documentary miniseries ‘The Jinx‘ (from Andrew Jarecki, director of the equally stunning ‘Capturing the Friedmans’) actually led to the arrest of its subject, alleged serial killer (or, as he tells it, unluckiest man in the world) Robert Durst.
Danger, Will Robinson! Fox pushes some nostalgia buttons with a complete collection of the goofy sci-fi classic ‘Lost in Space‘.
For all that, my only interests this week are ‘Murder, My Sweet’ and ‘The Jinx’, though I will probably also break down and buy some of the 007 SteelBooks to pad out my collection. What are your plans this week?