This Week in Home Video
Plus 7 more new releases to watch at home 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
What is it? A bus driver writes poetry in his spare time about the world and stuff.
Why see it? The brief summation above is pretty much accurate in describing the whole of Jim Jarmusch’s latest, but it doesn’t begin to capture the warmth, humor, and humanity the film delivers. Adam Driver plays the title role and creates a character far removed from the easily antagonized and disgruntled ones he’s best known for. His Paterson is a simple man of simple pleasures, but while most films would mock or sideline him here he’s embraced. Even better, his demeanor and perception of the world are remarkably calming and infectious too. The movie feels like it should be boring you to tears, but the performances, the beauty, and the pure affection for life leave you feeling anything but.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]
Paterson (Blu-ray + Digital HD)
Don’t Kill It
What is it? A small Southern town has the misfortune of welcoming a malevolent demon into its midst, and only Dolph Lundgren can stop it.
Why see it? It’s always great when a movie surpasses your expectations, and Mike Mendez’s (Big Ass Spider!) latest does just that with a ridiculously fun mix of laughs, brutal violence, and gore. Lundgren is having a good time, and the feeling’s contagious watching him try to outsmart a demon that leaps from body to body, like Fallen, but in a very specific way – when the host body is killed the demon moves into the person who killed it. It’s clever and works to create some intriguing situations, and that element of smarts plays well alongside the humor and bloodletting.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None?]
Don't Kill It [Blu-ray]
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
What is it? A ragtag band of rebels join together to steal the plans for the evil Empire’s newest weapon.
Why see it? The first standalone Star Wars movie tackles the actual theft of the Death Star plans that leads directly into the opening of the first film (A New Hope), and while the ending is inevitable the journey is filled with intriguing characters and thrilling action sequences that excite and invigorate. Felicity Jones headlines a strong cast including Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, and others, and they work together to bring something of a Dirty Dozen vibe into outer space. I would have loved a commentary for the film, but for now at least we’ll have to settle with an extensive set of featurettes exploring the characters, locales, and story.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story [Blu-ray]
Don’t Hang Up
What is it? Obnoxious young men make prank calls, but the tables turn when a sadistic killer targets them with games of his own.
Why see it? It’s undeniably impressive just how well the film recovers from its irritatingly obnoxious and terribly-charactered first act to become a thrilling and suspenseful little morality tale that owes a minor debt to the likes of Saw and Scream. But good lord is it a rough beginning. Directors Damien Macé and Alexis Wajsbrot do serviceable work early on, but just as the script picks up during the second act so does the direction. Suspenseful beats are played well through close-ups, smart reveals, and an appreciation of genre expectations that still allows for a surprise or two. We have a vague suspicion of the killer’s motivations before they’re actually shared, but it doesn’t hurt the film’s execution and momentum as it heads toward a solidly satisfying conclusion.
[DVD extras: None?]
What is it? A young orphan finds joy amid the beauties of nature and the love of her grandfather.
Why see it? Johanna Spyri’s beloved novel has been adapted for the screen (big and small) dozens of times, and while this German production isn’t as personable or memorable as some of the better known ones (shout out to Shirley Temple) it’s still a solidly entertaining one. The landscapes and joyfulness are precious to behold even if the lead performance is maybe a bit too precious, and fans of the story will be well-served by this latest incarnation.
[DVD extras: None]
Office Christmas Party
What is it? An office Christmas party gets out of control.
Why see it? Jason Bateman, TJ Miller, Olivia Munn, Kate McKinnon, Jennifer Aniston, and a bunch of familiar comedy faces appear in this new ensemble romp, but it’s never as funny as that cast promises. Far too many of the gags are obvious or amplified to extreme degrees for comedic effect, and none of the character moments or relations amount to anything either. These are reliable talents, but their collaboration is lacking a guiding hand ensuring that the story and dialogue are funny and in support of these performers.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Unrated/theatrical, deleted scenes, outtakes, featurette, commentary]
Tank 432 [Scream Factory]
What is it? A group of soldiers on the run take refuge inside an abandoned tank, but as the hours tick by the truth behind their enemy comes clearer.
Why see it? The horror at work here is every bit as psychological as it is physical as the situation and confined space leads to madness and murder. Something awaits them outside, but terrible things are at play inside as well. Performances are solid, but viewers never feel the claustrophobic terror of the characters despite their constant yelling at each other. Similarly, the jump scares that terrify them fail to frighten us, and worse, the end reveal feels a bit underwhelming.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]
What is it? A criminal in the hospital for surgery has his violent, trigger-happy friends attempt a rescue.
Why see it? In the grand tradition of John Carpenter’s Ghost of Mars and Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones comes a complete letdown from an otherwise master filmmaker. Johnnie To’s latest sets up a conflict in a hospital ward, but while the villain is suitably evil the hero cop and smart female doctor are absolutely worthless. Not even the action can save it, and that’s typically To’s go-to move.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of]
Also Out This Week:
The Evil Within, Invasion of the Bee Girls [Scream Factory], Psycho Circus, We Don’t Belong Here, We Go On, Youth in Oregon
Related Topics: Home Video