Our Pick of the Week Confirms the Idiom "With Friends Like These..."

Discs My Friend Dahmer

Plus 15 More New Releases to Watch This Week on Blu-ray/DVD!

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Pick of the Week

My Friend Dahmer

My Friend DahmerWhat is it? An awkward teen named Jeffrey Dahmer tries to navigate school, home life, and a growing desire to do very bad things.

Why see it? Tales of real life serial killers almost exclusively focus on their serial killing — understandably — but this drama instead explores Dahmer’s teen years through the eyes of one of his few friends. It’s a true story based on an acclaimed graphic novel by that very real friend, and the it works as a coming of age tale and a prequel to real terror. You never grow to like young Jeffrey, but the film reveals the humanity that was once there, however briefly. It’s an engaging look at someone we know is destined for evil, and while it only dips briefly into that terror the film as a whole leaves you with a chill as if you’ve just dodged a horrible fate.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: interview, featurette]


The Best

Braven

BravenWhat is it? A man sees his family threatened by drug runners and isn’t having it.

Why see it? Jason Momoa’s smaller action film of 2017 is easily the better one as it delivers old-school action done right. We’re given more than enough character work to show us that Joe and his family are good people, and with our affection firmly on their side the ensuing fight becomes one we’re invested in. The film’s split pretty evenly with its first half focused on character, setup, and building tension, but once the first body hits the snow things remain in high gear until the end. Momoa’s charisma comes through strong, and he strikes a convincing pose as a man capable of defending his family — who happily are far from helpless in their own right. It’s good, simple stuff.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None?]

Consenting Adults [KL Studio Classics]

Consenting AdultsWhat is it? A suburban husband covets his neighbor’s wife with tragic results.

Why see it? Kevin Kline is always worth watching, and here he gets to play in a twisted and deadly sandbox as a man framed by his neighbor for murder. It’s a smart and sexy thriller, and while it does star Kevin Spacey it’s important to note that he shows a natural skill at playing a sleazy, conniving, and dangerous man. The eternally under-appreciated Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio co-stars, and it’s ultimately a complete package when it comes to being the rarest of films — a sharply written thriller for adults with excitement built on characters and story turns rather than CG.

[Blu-ray extras: Commentary]

Phantom Thread

Phantom ThreadWhat is it? A man of precision finds his life shift beyond his control when he falls in love.

Why see it? Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest may just be Daniel Day-Lewis’ last, and that alone makes it worth a watch as he gives a terrifically wicked performance as someone disinterested in what those around him think as long as the world loves his work. The film, like the man, is crafted within an inch of its life to tell a very particular character piece, and while there’s plot here it’s more about the interactions he has with the women in his life both professional and personal. Vicky Krieps is every bit Day-Lewis’ match, and they together become part of a beautifully-designed world.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

The Psychopath [KL Studio Classics]

The PsychopathWhat is it? A serial killer leaves bodies and creepy dolls throughout the city.

Why see it? The deservedly legendary Robert Bloch wrote the script for this Amicus thriller, and he delivers a smart and twisty ride pairing a murderer’s plan with a gallery of suspects. The dolls add an unsettling edge to the darkness teasing horrific madness alongside the gruesome demises, and director Freddie Francis has great fun finding menace in cars, POV shots, and those weird little figures. Extras are light, but the always reliable Troy Howarth adds an informative and entertaining commentary.

[Blu-ray extras: New 4K restoration, commentary]


The Rest

All the Money In the World

All The MoneyWhat is it? The grandson of John Paul Getty III is kidnapped, and the world’s wealthiest man shows no interest in paying the ransom.

Why see it? Ridley Scott’s dramatic retelling of this true story found attention mostly for its post-production woes of having Kevin Spacey in a lead role as news of the man’s dickish real-world behavior was breaking. Scott re-shot his scenes in minimal time and landed a strong performance by Christopher Plummer in the process. Beyond this drama, though, the film itself is a solid if unexceptional experience. Michelle Williams does good work, it’s attractively shot (outside of some green screen sequences to put Plummer in the desert), and it’s a story with a satisfying end. Be sure to check out the featurette on Scott’s last-minute race to replace Spacey — it’s fun watching everyone talk around saying Spacey’s name or mentioning his behavior.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes]

Along With the Gods

Along With The GodsWhat is it? A fireman dies and must face seven challenges for the chance at reincarnation.

Why see it? This big budget fantasy epic from South Korea explores the effect our lives have on our deaths, and while variations on heaven and hell play a part the ultimate goal being chased is that of reincarnation. There’s no guarantee of it, and while the film offers physical adventures along the way it ultimately comes down to the morality of the lives led. It’s every bit the kind of melodrama Korean cinema feels at home with, but it’s paired with spectacle, action, and a bit of playfulness along the way.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Intros, featurette]

Cheech & Chong’s Up In Smoke

CheechWhat is it? Two new friends bond over their shared interests in smoking weed and dodging trouble with the law.

Why see it? Like all of their films, Cheech & Chong’s very first movie remains something of an acquired taste, but even for those of us who think their best film is Martin Scorsese’s After Hours there are plenty of undeniable laughs here. The pair are at their most natural and relaxed, and the casual plot allows more room for comedy that just bubbles up in their behaviors. Unexpected appearances from Tom Skerritt and Stacey Keach add to the fun. The disc includes a brand new interview with the pair which is even funnier and offers some insight into their friendship, careers, and longevity.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, commentary, deleted scenes, music video]

Enigma Rosso [Scorpion  Releasing]

Enigma RossoWhat is it? A sick killer targets a girls’ school, and a dogged detective is hot on his trail.

Why see it? The sleaze factor is high with this lurid Italian shocker from the late 70s, and that’s just part of its charms. There’s a slight giallo element at play here, but more time is given over to the cop and the various levels of corruption and crime existing in places of authority and respect. No one’s clean here, from the killer to the cop to the girls themselves, and everyone has something to hide. It’s a solid little thriller in that regard, albeit one with lots of icky skin shots and more than a little convolution.

[Blu-ray extras: Commentary]

Full Moon High [Scream Factory]

Full Moon HighWhat is it? A high-schooler is bitten by a werewolf, and it understandably upends his social life.

Why see it? Larry Cohen is underrated across the board, and he has some genre classics to his name including The Stuff, Q, Phone Booth, It’s Alive, Maniac Cop, and more. That said, he’s also managed a few duds along the way, and this clear inspiration for Teen Wolf is among them. The comedy is overly broad and woefully unfunny, and that’s ultimately what kills it. Shoddy effects are forgivable, but an increasingly unfunny comedy leaves very little to defend or praise. But hey, Alan Arkin’s in it!

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary]

Gone Are the Days

Gone Are The DaysWhat is it? An old gunfighter heads out for one last adventure.

Why see it? It’s hard to argue with the old-school genre talents of Lance Henriksen, Tom Berenger, and Danny Trejo, and there are never enough westerns, but it’s still something of a struggle at times watching this indie effort. The slow pacing isn’t quite justified by the dialogue or story, and what little action we get is tempered by clear budgetary restrictions. It’s shot well enough, but ultimately the draw remains the trio of older talents killing time on the screen.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurette, interviews]

Jasper Jones

Jasper JonesWhat is it? A teenager gets drawn into a mystery involving a dead woman.

Why see it? So few movies paint Australia as a land of peace, kindness, and good fortune, and this 80s-set feature isn’t about to change that. Levi Miller (Better Watch Out) plays the boy forced to grow up quickly as people’s true selves reveal the truths behind their actions. Racism, abuse, and infidelity are ingredients in every town, and he’s discovering them all. The mystery itself isn’t that hard to piece together, but the performances and heart make it a compelling watch for young and old alike.

[DVD extras: Interviews, short film]

Mohawk

MohawkWhat is it? A female Mohawk is hunted by rogue American soldiers in the early 19th century.

Why see it? Ted Geoghegan’s follow up to We Are Still Here mostly leaves supernatural horror behind in favor of very real horror from our own history, but it finds power in its themes and performances while also delivering a handful of genre-friendly moments. It’s a violent and at times emotionally crushing affair, and while the budget is a clear restraint on his ambitions here enough comes through to deliver the raw emotion of a people under siege. There’s satisfaction to be found here too despite knowing that the big picture of it all is an inevitable and nightmarish outcome.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Molly’s Game

Mollys GameWhat is it? The true story of an ex-Olympian who went on to run a highly exclusive and illegal weekly poker game.

Why see it? It’s hard to resist the pull of an Aaron Sorkin script being brought to life by Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba, and fans of any of those three talents will want to give this one a spin. There’s an expected sharpness to the dialogue that keeps viewers on their toes, and a brief turn by Kevin Costner adds to the fun. What holds it back, though, is an excessive running time (two hours and twenty one minutes) that doesn’t feel justified by the content or endless narration.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurette]

Proud Mary

Proud MaryWhat is it? A hitwoman finds herself targeted on all sides.

Why see it? Sometimes a movie comes along that you want to work both for the talents involved and for the sheer joy of it, but that’s not always enough to guarantee success. Taraji P. Henson as a bad-ass hitwoman is incredibly appealing in theory, but the film just can’t muster the energy or will to do much with her. Action beats are slight and lethargic, the story is overly familiar, and the end result is a sadly dull experience. The requisite use of “Proud Mary” is over the film’s singular highlight sequence, but even that underwhelms. Still, Henson is compulsively watchable.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay [4K UltraHD]

Suicide SquadWhat is it? The squad is tasked with a tough mission that will either knock time off their sentences or leave them dead.

Why see it? DC’s live-action Suicide Squad movie is a disappointment for reasons well beyond Jared Leto’s presence, but their new animated feature focused on the criminals turned paid heroes corrects more than a few of its wrongs. It’s bloody as hell, highly violent, and shows these folks as the villainous asses they are. The humor’s more than a little sophomoric, but fans of the characters should be more than happy with their presentation here. The action and story both move well.

[4K UltraHD/Blu-ray extras: Featurettes]

The Tribes of Palos Verdes

The TribesWhat is it? A teen moves to the coast with her parents and finds a mix of drama, heartbreak, and a love for surfing.

Why see it? Maika Monroe’s best known for her turn in It Follows and The Guest, but while she excels in genre efforts her acting chops are equally at home in more traditional dramatic fare. She’s the heart and soul of this family drama, but expectedly good work comes from Alicia Silverstone and Jennifer Garner too. As dramas go it doesn’t break new ground or excel necessarily, but it does good work contrasting the harsh dramas with the natural beauties.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes]


Also out this week:

Are We Not Cats?, Deep Red [Arrow Video], The Greatest Showman, Helena, A Touch of Sex

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