We return from the Labor Day break and start September off with the Blu-ray debuts for a couple of the most buzzed-about movies of the year – a horror flick and a documentary that happen to present two wildly different views on child-rearing.
New Releases (Blu-ray)
Hereditary – A rare Sundance hit that broke out to mainstream success as well, Toni Collette stars as the mother of a very troubled family that disintegrates after her own mother dies. Questions arise as to whether their home is being haunted by malevolent spirits or whether some or all of the family may be mentally ill. Whichever is the case, the problem seems to be passed down from one generation to the next. If you haven’t seen the movie (and I haven’t), I’m told that it’s best to go into it cold without knowing much about the plot beforehand. Our resident horror fanatic Deirdre loved loved loved it, and the movie went on to become indie distributor A24’s biggest box office success to date.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – In these deeply depressing and cynical times, sometimes we all could use a reminder that genuine goodness can exist in the world too. The documentary profiling longtime educator and children’s TV host Fred Rogers digs up no dark secrets to sully its subject’s reputation or our childhood memories. Instead, the film shows him as a complex man dedicated to teaching the values of empathy and compassion to young children. The documentary received near-universal praise from critics. Even fifteen years after his death, Rogers’ work continues to live on. My own young boys are big fans of the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood cartoon spinoff from his show.
Adrift – Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin star in a survival tale about a young couple trapped in the middle of the ocean after their sailboat is damaged in a hurricane. Although that plot description sounds like the setup for a sequel to Robert Redford’s All Is Lost, it’s actually based on a true story. Reviews were mostly favorable, especially in regard to Woodley’s performance, but the movie didn’t do much business at the box office.
Godard Mon Amour – It’s interesting to me how quickly the world turned against French director Michel Hazanavicius after he won an Oscar for The Artist. The backlash against him and that film seems way out of proportion to any offense they may have committed. (Personally, I still love it.) His next movie, the 2014 war drama The Search, was a massive international flop. Hoping to get his mojo back, Hazanavicius returns with another light comedy about cinema history, this time focused on French New Wave icon Jean-Luc Godard’s affair with 20-year-old starlet Anne Wiazemsky on the set of their 1967 La chinoise. The result didn’t impress too many people, least of all Jean-Luc Godard, who called it a “stupid, stupid idea.”
Hereditary is birthed onto Ultra HD at the same time as its Blu-ray counterpart.
Meanwhile, as plans for a third movie keep moving in and out of development, Sony upgrades Michael Bay’s Bad Boys I & II to 4k in a double-feature set.
Speaking of Michael Bay, Paramount has packaged all of his Transformers pictures into a so-called Ultimate 5-Movie Collection on Blu-ray. I’m not sure what’s behind the delay (considering that all of the movies have already been released individually), but an Ultra HD edition of the box set is expected on November 6th.
Lest we forget, Michael Bay also has two movies in the Criterion Collection (both on DVD), which of course puts him on equal artistic footing with Ingmar Bergman, whose Scenes from a Marriage is sadly lacking either giant robots or explosions. Well, I suppose it has some emotional explosions, but that’s not quite the same, is it?
Arrow Video released a Limited Edition of the Dario Argento giallo thriller Deep Red earlier this year, and follows that up now with a more reasonably priced Special Edition.
The Arrow Academy imprint brings some attention to an obscure 1955 samurai tale called Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji.
Disney celebrates the 25th anniversaries for both the Tim Burton stop-motion masterpiece The Nightmare Before Christmas and the dumb Bette Midler witch comedy Hocus Pocus with new reissues, including exclusives at Target and Best Buy. As far as I can tell, the only new item The Nightmare Before Christmas offers is a sing-along subtitle track, though the glow-in-the-dark SteelBook is kind of nice and is very attractively priced at just $12.99 right now. As for Hocus Pocus, I’m perplexed at how anyone could even like that movie.
If you have nostalgia for crappy 1990s comedies, Kino has a trifecta with Blame It on the Bellboy, Once Upon a Crime, and Oscar. After bingeing on those, you can wind down with Universal’s Cop and a Half.
When it premiered back in 2005, could anyone have foreseen that Supernatural would still be running 13 seasons later? Original creator Eric Kripke didn’t. He bowed out after five.
Just starting its run is the Big Bang Theory spinoff Young Sheldon.
Hereditary looks worth a rental. I’m sure that Won’t You Be My Neighbor? will hit Netflix soon enough. Deep Red and Scenes from a Marriage will go on my wish list for some future Arrow and Criterion sales.
That’s all I have my eye on this week. What about you?