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

Welcome to this week in home video! Click the title to buy a Blu-ray/DVD from Amazon and help support FSR in the process!


Pick of the Week

Freebie and the Bean [Warner Archive]

Freebie And The BeanWhat is it? Two mismatched cops find themselves caught up in a case far bigger than their patience allows for.

Why see it? I’m not sure why I waited so long to watch this one, but I’m glad I finally did because it is “buddy cop movie” perfection. Alan Arkin and James Caan have terrific chemistry together, and a strong supporting cast adds to the fun as the script finds big laughs throughout. A funny comedy is all well and good, but director Richard Rush delivers on the action element too with some stunning San Francisco-set sequences. We get a great foot chase, some even better car chases, and stunts that impress without the distraction of today’s CG effects as cars go flying into buildings both on and off the ground.

[Blu-ray extras: None]


The Best

The Breaking Point [Criterion Collection]

The Breaking PointWhat is it? A charter boat captain is forced to make some tough choices when his livelihood is threatened.

Why see it? Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not was more famously adapted with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in the leads, but this later adaptation is the tougher, leaner, and arguably better version. John Garfield takes the helm and delivers a gritty performance as a aman with his back against the wall, and director Michael Curtiz balances both the relationship drama and the building suspense well. It’s a solid film through to the end, but it’s only in the very end that it hits you with an incredibly powerful and brutal final scene.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: 2K restoration, interviews, video essay, Today excerpts, booklet]

Fargo – Steelbook [Shout! Factory]

Fargo SteelWhat is it? Criminals both amateur and professional collide in a snowy American town.

Why see it? Joel & Ethan Coen have made several terrific films by this point, but one of the best — seriously, it should make everyone’s top 3 from the Coens — is this blackly comic gem about the dueling powers of greed and contentment. Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, and Steve Buscemi are just three of the massive talents at play here, and even on re-watch the film remains an immensely satisfying and highly entertaining morality tale. The extra features aren’t new here, but but if you don’t already own the film this is the way to go thanks to Shout! Factory’s slick new steelbook.

[Blu-ray extras: Commentary, featurette, interview]

Re-Animator [Arrow Video]

ReanimatorWhat is it? A man goes to extraordinary lengths to perform cunnilingus on his co-worker’s college-aged daughter.

Why see it? Stuart Gordon’s classic horror/comedy has stood the test of time for a reason — it’s darkly funny, terrifically gory, and absolutely over the top in all the best ways. The practical effects show a level of creativity that few films even attempt, and the human element is equally well represented with some highly memorable performances from Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, and others. The film’s seen multiple releases over the years, but Arrow Video has now given fans the ultimate version featuring two cuts of the film including the U.S. debut of the 105 minute integral cut. This set is gorgeous with an attractive digipack loaded with extras including a brand new commentary track. My full review is coming later this week, but suffice to say this is an absolute must buy for fans.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: 4K restorations of both unrated and integral cuts, booklet, comic book, postcards, three commentaries, documentary, interviews, featurettes, deleted scenes, ]

The Transfiguration

The TransfigurationWhat is it? A young boy struggles with the belief that he’s a vampire.

Why see it? Michael O’Shea’s feature debut is a beautifully restrained coming of age tale featuring bursts of bloody violence amid the dark calm and a seemingly doomed romance. Blood is spilled and splashed as the film creates a darkly affecting tale about the high and sometimes bloody cost of self awareness and sociopathic conviction. It’s ultimately as much a drama as it is a horror film, as much a thriller as it is a romance, and while its methodical execution won’t appeal to everyone those who go along for the ride will be rewarded. Fans of George Romero’s Martin will be very pleased indeed.

[DVD extras: Deleted scenes]


The Rest

Blindspot – The Complete Second Season

BlindspotWhat is it? A mysterious woman continues to work with a government agency hoping to avert tragedy.

Why see it? NBC’s other big action/intrigue series (aka not The Blacklist) is heavier on the action than its sibling and five times as convoluted. Allegiances are changed as often as outfits, and new revelations and twists are always just around the corner. It’s good fun, but that constantly shifting narrative makes it difficult to form attachments as we’re not given much time to settle in with many of the threads. It’s goofy too as plots grow more elaborate and coincidences grow more frequent.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, gag reel, deleted scenes]

The Dinner

The DinnerWhat is it? Two couples meet to discuss some bad behavior on the part of their sons, but it turns out the apples don’t fall far from the tree.

Why see it? As an acting extravaganza this is good stuff. Steve Coogan, Richard Gere, Laura Linney, and Rebecca Hall all do great work and hold the screen with characters who walk and frequently cross the moral line. The path taken by the story isn’t quite as captivating though, and while the core conundrum offers some intriguing ideas the third act feels like it’s giving up even before the end credits roll. It’s just not satisfying in any dramatic way, and that’s a let down after all that comes before.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary]

The Exception

The ExceptionWhat is it? A Nazi officer finds his duties conflicting when he falls in love with a Jewish maid.

Why see it? There are two narrative threads running parallel here as the Nazi (Jai Courtney) is working to protect a member of German royalty (Christopher Plummer) from possible spies even as he’s falling for the man’s servant (Lily James). You’ll notice a wide variation between those three talents from the veteran Plummer to the rising star James to Hollywood’s continued effort to make Courtney happen. It’s a solid enough historical drama/thriller.

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

Female Fight Squad

Female Fight SquadWhat is it? A woman returns to the world of underground fighting to help her sister.

Why see it? Dolph Lundgren is the big marketing hook here, but he’s little more than a supporting character as he’s behind bars throughout the film and only in a few scenes. Instead, it’s actor/stunt performer Amy Johnston in the lead, and she holds her ground for the most part. Budget and script are working against it all, but it could have been okay if the actual fight scenes were worth a damn. Disappointingly though they’re dull as dirt. The choreography is flat, and the fights fail to ever feel energetic or eye-catching.

[DVD extras: None]

The Hunter’s Prayer

The Hunters PrayerWhat is it? An assassin has a crisis of conscience when a teenage girl’s fate comes to rest in his hands.

Why see it? Sam Worthington takes the lead here and delivers a bit more than we’re used to from him in regard to talent and charisma. Yeah, I said it. It’s an overly familiar setup — a killer comes to value life — and the film doesn’t really do anything new with it, but it’s a competently-produced take on it all. Fans of the sub-genre won’t be disappointed, but it’s not a film destined to stick with you for very long after.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

John Wayne Double Feature – Rio Lobo / Big Jake

John Wayne DoubleWhat is it? John Wayne walks tall and shoots some bad guys in two early 70s westerns.

Why see it? This is a no-frills release pairing two of Wayne’s films — 1970’s Rio Lobo and 1971’s Big Jake — on two Blu-rays, and while neither is a Wayne classic they’re both solidly entertaining westerns. The first sees Wayne as an officer in search of the men who did him wrong, and the second casts him as a father trying to save his son (played by his real son Patrick Wayne). Both feature gun fights, fist fights, and some traditional Old West visuals, and while neither packs the punch of something like Rio Bravo or The Searchers they’re still good enough watches on a lazy afternoon.

[Blu-ray extras: None]

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

King Arthur SwordWhat is it? Arthur returns to a land and kingdom that was stolen from him as a child.

Why see it? Guy Ritchie’s misguided, big budget reboot of the King Arthur legend bombed at the box office for understandable reasons, but while it wasn’t worth the massive investment it’s still worth a couple hours of your time if you’re into goofy action/fantasy films. Charlie Hunnam remains a non-starter, but Jude Law makes up for his lack of charisma by overplaying his own in glorious fashion. It’s dumb and silly, but add in enough action and creature fun to hold your attention and you have a fun enough time at the movies.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

Kung Fu Yoga

Kung Fu YogaWhat is it? An archaeology professor in search of an Indian treasure must contend with nature, mercenaries, and barely competent female companions.

Why see it? Jackie Chan movies are always worth watching at least once as he manages to infuse even the blandest action films with some degree of personality. His best years are obviously a couple decades in the past, but his latest delivers a few fun thrills with Stanley Tong back at the helm. They are few and far between though as the film’s reliance on CG and unfunny comedy threaten to sink it at every turn. The women here fair about as well as they typically do in Chan’s films — the fantastic Supercop aside — and are left as sexy comic relief more often than not. It’s minor entertainment, but it stands apart from much of his minor work with a few cool bits, a CG opening scene, and a big Bollywood dance number to close it all out.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, bloopers]

Teen Wolf [Scream Factory]

Teen WolfWhat is it? An awkward high-schooler sees his life take a turn when a generic malady reveals his ability to turn into a werewolf.

Why see it? Michael J. Fox is always worth watching, and he manages some fun physical antics here, but I’m gonna go ahead and admit that I am not a fan of this movie. I didn’t like it as a teen, and I don’t like it now. The script and tone both do it in for me as neither works to engage or create characters of any real value. The dad’s first “wolfie” appearance aside, the film just isn’t funny. I know the rest of you seem to love it though, so just know that this new Blu-ray is a fantastic gift for fans thanks both to its remastered picture and a legitimately great making-of that goes deep on the film’s history and production.

[Blu-ray extras: 2K scan, making-of documentary]

Teen Wolf Too [Scream Factory]

Teen WolfWhat is it? An awkward and obnoxious high-schooler sees his life take a turn when a generic malady reveals his ability to turn into a werewolf.

Why see it? If the goal here was to make the same movie again but worse, well congratulations are definitely in order. Jason Bateman plays the cousin of the first film’s character, but the story’s basically the same. Teen sucks at sport (boxing this time inexplicably), teen discovers he’s far better at sport as a werewolf, everyone loves him as wolf but he loses sight of what’s important, blah blah blah. The singular nature of the sport hurts the team camaraderie aspect, the romance is empty, the laughs are absent, and the wolf makeup is poor compared to its predecessor. It is a bad movie. Scream Factory’s new Blu does include several new interviews though, so fans will want to pick it up.

[Blu-ray extras: Interviews]

Wolves

WolvesWhat is it? A teenager has to choose between following his own dreams and talents or succumbing to his father’s destructive personality.

Why see it? The specifics differ, but the core story here about a teen whose own future is threatened by his parent’s present is a familiar one. The route taken here is the expected one — check out the new film Columbus for an example of how to tackle it differently — but it’s the performances that lift it above the fray. Carla Gugino and Taylor John Smith are both good, but Michael Shannon delivers an intensely compelling turn as the out of control father. See it for him if nothing else.

[DVD extras: None]


Also out this week:

Among Us, Cut Shoot Kill, The Flesh [Cult Epics], Lego DC Superhero Girls: Brain Drain, Master of the Drunken Fist, Master of the Shadowless Kick, Snatched

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