Plus 21 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
What is it? A teenager discovers a secret admirer who wakes each day in the body of a different 16-year-old.
Why see it? Young Adult adaptations have become a weekly occurrence, but while so many get plentiful attention via marketing and box-office this gem seemed to disappear into the noise. That’s a damn shame as it’s one of the best YA films since Beautiful Creatures (also unjustly ignored by audiences) and delivers real warmth, heart, and humor in what amounts to a beautiful and unique love story. Quantum Leap fans should eat it up as it has fun and shows real smarts regarding the whole idea of waking up in a new body. The effect it has on the body’s owner, what it means for the future, and other ideas are explored even as the romance is building and cementing itself as truly memorable.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, deleted scenes]
Bride of Re-Animator / Beyond Re-Animator [Umbrella Entertainment]
What is it? Herbert West has more science to do!
Why see it? Let’s be clear, neither of these sequels are nearly as good as the original, so it’s fair to wonder why this release lands under the Best while the first film is below in the Rest. The second half of that is answered below, but this title is a solid buy as it’s a double feature of both sequels and includes numerous extras for both titles. The discs are loaded. I’m also in the minority in thinking that Beyond Re-Animator is the superior of the two. It’s absolutely nutty in tone and content, but it also never shies away from the brutality as some real cruelty plays out on screen. As mentioned, Umbrella’s new release is loaded with extra features for both films, but none of them are new to this edition. *Note, while listed as a Region B release it’s actually all-region playable.
[Blu-ray extras: Alternate versions, commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, interviews]
What is it? A down on his luck karate instructor takes a side job as a debt collector for mobsters.
Why see it? Scott Adkins in a lead role is all the reason you need to see this one (or any movie), and happily it’s one of his good ones. The fight scenes aren’t necessarily big standouts (like we get in Eliminators or Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning), but they’re solid and plentiful. The film also delivers some humor and heart along with the ass-kicking, and it’s a deceptively fun ride. Be sure to check out the deleted scenes too as they include one great gag that really should have been left in the movie.
[DVD extras: Deleted scenes]
What is it? A group of vicious bounty hunters find a challenge in a mute stranger.
Why see it? Sergio Corbucci (Django) is considered to be one of the great spaghetti western directors, and this is a good example of why. Beauty and violence play out against a snow-covered landscape, and while Jean-Louis Trintignant delivers a competent hero — made mute as he couldn’t speak Italian — but Klaus Kinski unsurprisingly makes a grander mark as one of the cruel bounty hunters. Toss in an Ennio Morricone score and you have the makings of a memorable western that doesn’t seem to be remembered all that well. It’s a treat for the senses, and Film Movement’s new Blu offers up a terrific way to watch whether it’s your first time or your tenth.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, documentary]
What is it? Three siblings are carried off on a grand adventure with a magical boy named Peter Pan.
Why see it? Few studios had as illustrious a run as Disney, and while their quality has wavered in recent decades the stretch from the late 30s to the late 70s is pure, hand-drawn animation perfection. JM Barrie’s literary classic comes to the screen with its (still) best adaptation telling a story of youth, wish fulfillment, wonder, and more. It’s a lively, colorful, and thrilling experience for kids and adults alike and filled with memorable moments and songs.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]
What is it? It’s essentially the prequel to Wrong Turn but done as a musical.
Why see it? MGM’s classic musical comes to Blu-ray with a wealth of extras guaranteed to enhance the experience for fans. I’m not typically one of those fans as “classic” musicals are far too square for my tastes, but you should never underestimate the power of a killer barn-raising sequence. Bouts of athletic skill and grace share the screen with toe-tapping music, and you’re smiling without even realizing it. I still say it feels like a Wrong Turn prequel as these mountain brothers abduct young women for fornicatin’ (ie marriage) purposes, but it’s innocent stuff beyond that.
[Blu-ray extras: Commentary, gallery, documentary, short film, alternate ratio version]
What is it? Teenage friends reunite after some time apart that landed one of them labeled a sociopath.
Why see it? Writer/director Cory Finley’s debut is a wickedly sharp, funny, and suspenseful look at the thin divide between our emotions and our actions, and the film finds fault and value in both halves as brought to beautifully engaging life by two incredibly talented young actors. It’s easy to see inspirations as varied as Heavenly Creatures and Heathers, but Finley makes his film unique in approach and effect. Olivia Cooke is a devastating delight, Anya Taylor-Joy captivates, and Anton Yelchin breaks your heart in one of his last performances.
What is it? Fairytale characters find themselves in the non-magical kingdom of Manhattan.
Why see it? They don’t really make epic mini-series anymore, but this one ran across five nights back in 2000 to positive acclaim. Its length is what qualifies it as epic, though, as the content feels somewhat dated today. Familiar faces and perfectly adequate visual effects fill the screen, and it’s most likely to be enjoyed by hardcore fantasy fans
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of]
What is it? A random collection of nine movies, some of which are action.
Why see it? This is a really odd mix under any circumstance, but the “action” banner is even stranger. Paul Walker’s Vehicle 19 counts, and a second disc featuring five Jean-Claude Van Damme movies (Maximum Risk, Double Team, Universal Soldier: The Return, The Hard Corps, Second In Command) fits the bill too, but what to make of the third case offering a triple feature of You Got Served, Gridiron Gang, and Stomp the Yard? Still, at this price point it’s hard to complain, and if even two of the movies make you happy it’s well worth the cost.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]
What is it? A doctor becomes a vigilante after his wife and daughter are shot by home invaders.
Why see it? Charles Bronson had several terrific films throughout his career, but he’s eternally associated with the Death Wish brand from its serious beginning to its goofy end four films later. A remake has long been on the table despite dozens of knockoffs over the years, and now it’s finally here. The once great Bruce Willis isn’t very exciting in the role, and his dull demeanor carries over for audiences. The film brings nothing new to the formula — white guy takes the law into his own hands — and the result is a generic movie despite the big name star and directorial stylings of Eli Roth. Fans of the talent involve might salvage some fun from it, but viewers hoping for an exciting, thrilling, or interesting action film should look elsewhere.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, deleted scenes, featurette]
What is it? An FBI agent investigates the disappearance of a man’s wife and son.
Why see it? If nothing else, this IFC Midnight entry deserves a watch for a solid opening, some cool creature design, and an engaging blend of genres. The pieces work better than the whole, but enough of them capture your attention to make a watch worthwhile. It plays every bit like a feature-length episode of The X-Files — one of the perfectly okay ones — and while Shawn Ashmore and Amanda Schull aren’t exactly Duchovny & Anderson, they do good work facing off against the unknown.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]
What is it? It’s DuckTales, woo-oo!.
Why see it? 1987’s original DuckTales was a big hit for the Disney channel and ran for a hundred episodes before wrapping up in 1990, and this reboot came to life twenty seven years later. It doesn’t feel quite as sharp as the original, but the episodes are still plenty of fun with plenty of humor and action accompanying the tales of adventure, fantasy, and the occasional horror-themed romp. There’s a lot of death — or at least threat of death — which feels surprising, but hey, kids gotta learn somehow so why not with talking ducks? Eight episodes are included here, with all but two of them being from the new series.
[DVD extras: Two classic episodes]
What is it? An expert at breaking out of prisons is tricked into becoming the latest inmate in a high-tech, ocean-bound prison.
Why see it? Anyone who grew up enjoying action movies in the 80s can’t help but appreciate the pairing of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger here as it’s a more entertaining romp than the Expendables films. The latter takes a supporting role, but both are good fun as the elaborate escape plan comes together. Fisticuffs and gunplay add to the action beats, and it looks nice and sharp in 4K.
[4K UltraHD/Blu-ray extras: Commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes]
Frank & Eva
What is it? A couple in 1970s Netherlands see their relationship challenged by infidelity and insincerity.
Why see it? Sylvia Kristel is the big name here and prominently displayed on the cover art, but she’s something of a supporting player in her film debut. Instead, the focus is on the couple — he’s constantly sleeping around, and she’s frustrated but continually forgiving — and if there’s a breaking point it’s got to be coming soon. There are some laughs here, but it’s mostly a flesh-filled drama offering a glimpse into the cultural differences of a European world far removed from our own decade. Cult Epics’ new Blu-ray offers an HD transfer and extras that shine a light on the Dutch film world at the time.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, featurette]
What is it? A juvenile probation officer shifts the focus from crime to football and teaches life lessons along the way.
Why see it? The two big draws here are the film’s success as an underdog sports tale and the lead presence of Dwayne Johnson. It’s an early entry in his film career — before he became a massive action star — so it’s focused more on drama than stunts, but if the subgenre is your thing than this is a solid entry. The film is based on a true story, and one of the disc’s extra features is the original documentary that first brought the man and his players to nationwide attention.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Documentary the film is based on, deleted scenes, commentary, featurettes]
What is it? A businessman is caught between his unscrupulous bosses and Mexican drug lords.
Why see it? The main story here is mildly entertaining and carried mostly by the always fantastic David Oyelowo, but the film’s best bits come courtesy of Charlize Theron and Joel Edgerton. The pair play the shitty bosses and are an absolute blast as they turn their respective prickishness up to eleven delivering the films biggest laughs and a sense of real disgust for everyone around them. They’re supporting players here, unfortunately, but there’s enough of them to carry the film through moments both madcap and mundane.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]
What is it? A heist is planned to coincide with a hurricane.
Why see it? It’s no Hard Rain, but there are some goofy and mildly entertaining thrills to be found in this endlessly dumb action romp. That combination pretty much sums up director Rob Cohen’s filmography I know, but this one accomplishes the same with a lack of real stars — sorry Maggie Grace, Ryan Kwanten, and Toby Kebbell. It’s mild fun you’ll instantly forget, but sometimes that’s all you really need.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes]
What is it? A man witnesses the landing of a UFO, but convincing the rest of the world becomes nearly impossible.
Why see it? This late 60s sci-fi series ran for two seasons and sets up a solid premise hinging on paranoia and alien action. The audience knows he’s telling the truth as we see the invaders doing their alien business, but our hero’s efforts are constantly stymied at every turn even to the point of murder! It’s a fun little genre effort, and all 43 episodes are collected here along with numerous extras.
[DVD extras: Extended pilot, interview, introductions, commentaries]
What is it? Teens stumble upon a creepy game that summons a supernatural creature and near-certain death.
Why see it? Like Devil’s Gate above, this other IFC Midnight flick also opens with its strongest scenes — some legitimately creepy scenes at that — before shifting into more familiar attempts at scares. The bulk of it remains pretty good fun, though, and the presence of Lin Shaye and Robert Englund certainly don’t hurt for genre fans familiar with their respective resumes. It’s a small story, but it looks good (when it’s not lost in darkness) and the effects are sharp despite the over-reliance on CG.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Original Irish feature film]
What is it? Prison escapees during the Civil War find themselves on a strange land mass in the middle of the ocean that’s home to a madman named Nemo.
Why see it? Jules Verne’s classic novel has come to the screen before, but never with Kyle MacLachlan and Patrick Stewart in lead roles! The rest of the cast is less notable including Vinnie Jones and Gabrielle Anwar, if you’re watching this you’re watching for the adventure not the cast. In that regard it’s perfectly okay for TV mini-series. Nothing leaves it standing apart, a product as much of budget as anything else, but fans of Verne’s classic will be well-served.
[DVD extras: None]
What is it? Siblings who watched their parents slaughtered grow up to find the terror remains.
Why see it? The DVD’s back cover offers a hint of some cool-enough practical makeup effects, but the struggle to reach those good bits is very real indeed. Some rough acting and sketchy dialogue leave viewers disinterested in our characters’ plight. There are some interesting ideas in the script, though, so your mileage may vary depending on what you value most in your indie horror.
[DVD extras: None]
Re-Animator [Umbrella Entertainment]
What is it? Death isn’t final, but it should be.
Why see it? Stuart Gordon’s mid 80s H.P. Lovecraft adaptation remains one of the best horror/comedies ever made, and its blend of gore, comedy, and magnificently over the top carnage still has yet to be beat. Jeffrey Combs gives life to Herbert West and instantly secured himself a role in genre history, and the film delivers one insanely memorable gore set-piece after another. It makes for a strong debut for Umbrella’s Beyond Genres label inside Australia, but it has the misfortune of releasing after Arrow’s stellar Blu-ray in North America (and the UK). Its extras are numerous, but again, none of them are new to this release. *Note, while listed as a Region B release it’s actually all-region playable.
[Blu-ray extras: Alternate cuts of the film, commentaries, documentary, deleted scenes, interviews]
What is it? Love finds a way.
Why see it? No one is what they seem in this absurd, goofy, and highly creative love story from South Korea. A satellite becomes a girl, a sad guitar player becomes a dairy cow, a great wizard becomes a roll of toilet paper… I can’t explain it, but it’s definitely never dull. If anything it’s a bit too fast and loose as it never really pauses the madness to let the heartfelt drama sink in. Still, viewers looking for animated fare that’s well beyond the typical output from Hollywood should give this one a spin.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Short film]
What is it? A group of lesser attendees plan to rob a convention.
Why see it? A quick look at the cast list here is enough to make you interested in watching, and the idea of a heist set during a Comic-Con (ish) convention is equally appealing, but hoo boy! Ryan Kwanten, Maggie Grace, John Malkovich, and Clancy Brown aren’t nearly enough to make up for the terribly unfunny jokes and weak script. None of the characters engage or interest, and it feels like a movie you forgot from the 90s.
[DVD extras: Commentaries]
Also out this week:
Altered Perception, Anime 3 Series Collection, The Awesomes: The Complete Series, Crime Time TV, Jericho: The Complete Series, Sherlock Gnomes, South Park: The Complete 21st Season, The Steam Engines of Oz, Susu, A Wrinkle In Time