Plus 8 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

Bad Day for the Cut

Bad Day For The CutWhat is it? A man seeks revenge for his mother’s death.

Why see it? Like Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin, the path here cuts through generations with fuses lit years before the bloody explosions begin claiming victims, and while the straight line of vengeance remains the details that come into play add character, personality, and layered meaning to the carnage. The violence is balanced with equal doses of humanity and humor, both of which grow with the addition of each new supporting character. Nigel O’Neill does a fantastic job as an everyman thrust into situations beyond his norm. He’s capable and plans his moves, but mistakes happen and he’s occasionally outflanked, and O’Neill’s performance reveals a man whose motivation often supersedes his ability. Action comes in violent, satisfying bursts leading to an end that does the same.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]


The Best

The Foreigner

The ForeignerWhat is it? A man seeks revenge for his daughter’s death.

Why see it? Martin Campbell’s (Casino Royale) latest stars Jackie Chan and packs a hefty amount of intrigue, action, and double-crosses into its mid-range budget and nearly two-hour running time. It’s far from a usual Chan film both because he’s only in roughly half of it and because IRA-related plot turns are given equal attention, but the combination works well to deliver intimate thrills and satisfying beats. Chan does well with the drama while still delivering numerous sequences and set-pieces that highlight his character’s skills while satisfying Chan fans and action junkies alike.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

It

ItWhat is it? Kids in a small Maine town discover an evil beneath the streets.

Why see it? The film channels the horrors of Stephen King’s beloved novel, both visceral and emotional, as well as the feeling of childhood’s tenuous nature into a rare studio horror film that’s actually terrifying. There are a handful of (mostly effective) jump scares, but the majority of the film’s terror comes in atmosphere, dread, and the boldly in-your-face appearance of Pennywise. Bill Skarsgård’s performance is a delicate balance of the inherently creepy (clowns being clowns) and the utterly ferocious. The human effect of his own expressions is paired with practical make-up and cg manipulations that result in a being who’s scary standing still but absolutely horrifying in motion. This is a film that makes viewers care about its characters. What happens to them matters, and whether the threat they’re facing is human or otherwise we can’t help but pull for them with clenched fists and hopeful smiles. There’s still a sequel to come, but as it stands this is the Stand By Me of King’s horror canon.

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


The Rest

68 Kill [Scream Factory]

KillWhat is it? A young man follows his heart on a journey of robbery, debauchery, and murder.

Why see it? There’s no arguing with the cast here as Matthew Gray Gubler, AnnaLynne McCord, Sheila Vand, and the rest make for a charismatic and lively group of characters, but the tone and antics are far more of a mixed bag. It’s a messy mix of comedy, action, and untoward behavior, but the elements don’t blend as well as they need to resulting in moments sprinkled throughout that entertain even as the whole exists as a collection of gags, punchlines, and loud noises. Of course, in addition to the cast, it’s also a film that may be worth it for avoiding even a single dull moment.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Bitch

BitchWhat is it? A woman’s attempted suicide instead leaves her acting like a dog.

Why see it? Bitch’s very premise – a harried woman begins acting like a dog – is Bitch’s biggest weakness. The lead performance is a brave one, especially as much of the film finds her naked and smeared with shit, but not a moment of it succeeds in engaging or affecting viewers. It can’t decide how to play the situation, whether it be for laughs or for drama, and the result are sequences that fail on both counts. The film works far better, though, when she’s removed from the picture and the focus falls instead on her husband’s growing sense of responsibility. It shifts into a Mr. Mom-like comedy as Jason Ritter endures wacky conflicts with the kids and his boss, and while we’ve seen this situation before it’s entertaining in its shift towards physical comedy that Ritter slays at.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None?]

Friend Request

Friend RequestWhat is it? A young woman befriends a jerky loner and pays the price.

Why see it? The concept of “no good deed going unpunished” is a familiar one, but while it’s a theme in the plot here it’s also an unfortunate reality for anyone giving the film a charitable watch. Music stingers, lazy jump scares, bland cg assists, and uninteresting characters make for an uninspired watch from beginning to end. If you’re looking for a horror movie that takes better advantage of the tech/social media connection maybe give Unfriended or The Den a watch instead as both manage far better terrors.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurette]

Mark Felt: The Man Who Took Down the White House

Mark FeltWhat is it? The true story behind the who and why of Deep Throat.

Why see it? The Watergate story is both familiar and newly relevant, but this biopic feels slightly unnecessary all the same. There’s information here, but there aren’t very many thrills. Still, it’s worth a watch for the simple fact that you can’t go a minute without seeing some fantastic actor pop up including Liam Neeson, Tony Goldwyn, Bruce Greenwood, Michael C. Hall, Brian d’Arcy James, Diane Lane, Josh Lucas, Eddie Marsan, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Maika Monroe, and Noah Wyle. It’s nuts! Also government secrets are bad and stuff.

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

Marshall

MarshallWhat is it? Before Thurgood Marshall joined the Supreme Court he faced the trial of his career.

Why see it? Marshall is an important historical figure and well-deserving of a biopic, but I’m not sure a celebration of his life needs to be equally split time-wise with a character played by Josh Gad. Nothing against Gad, of course, as he’s fine in the role, but he takes too much away from Chadwick Boseman’s strong portrayal of Marshall. It’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t tank the film as we’re still left with a competent look into a life few of us are familiar with.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

November Criminals

November CriminalsWhat is it? A teenager still grieving his mother’s death finds purpose in a friend’s murder.

Why see it? David Strathairn and Catherine Keener are the two best reasons to watch, and there are also a few David Bowie songs on the soundtrack that sound good in your ears. Beyond that, though, the film just fails to connect. Neither lead (Ansel Elgort, Chloe Moretz) manage much personality alone or together, and the story — a white kid fighting to overturn the belief that his black friend died from gang-related affiliations — is equally lifeless (and messily handled).

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]


Also out this week:

Bullet Head, Scooby Doo & Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Teacher, The Tiger Hunter [Shout Select], The Witches [Arrow Academy], Young Mr. Lincoln [Criterion Collection]