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You are here: Community Film DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for Dec. 15, 2017

DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for Dec. 15, 2017

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Welcome back to another look at highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. There are plenty of interesting features both new and old vying to grab your attention. So if you can’t make it out to the movies this week, be sure to give one of these titles a try!

Big New Releases!

All Saints - This faith-based drama tells the true story of a salesman-turned-pastor and his attempts to lead a church congregation. He has a difficult time, but soon encounters some Burmese refugees. Together, they take on projects like planting crops and the lead begins to earn the support of the community. Reaction was better-than-average for this type of feature. While a few suggested it was a bit obvious in its emotional manipulations, the majority complimented it for its likable characters, subtle approach and positive message. It stars John Corbett, Cara Buono, Barry Corbin, David Keith and Gregory Alan Williams.

Detroit - The 1967 Detroit Riots are the backdrop for this biopic, which involves a group of citizens taking refuge at the Algiers Motel during the fracas. They are threatened by a group of officers that torment the group and commit horrific crimes of brutality against them. The press were positive about this disturbing drama. There were a few who commented that they didn’t care for the home-invasion movie tropes or the brutality on display. However, most thought the events were powerfully portrayed and stated that the film did an excellent job of depicting the horrors that the individuals were subjected to. The cast includes John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, Will Poulter and John Krasinski.

England is Mine - The early days of Steven Patrick Morrissey (front-man for The Smiths) is the subject of this biography. It follows his struggles as a young artist in the 70s and his discovery of music, leading to the beginning of one of the most iconic acts in Britain. Critics were split on the end result. About half didn’t believe that the movie offered enough insight into the figure and disliked the fact that there weren’t any Smiths tunes featured. The others found it to be an interesting, low-key and understated coming-of-age tale. It features Jack Lowden, Jessica Brown Findlay and Jodie Comer.

Home Again - A divorcee decides to take her two daughters and move to LA to restart her life in this romantic comedy. Once there, she agrees to allow a trio of aspiring filmmakers in her guest house. Before long, relationships develop and things get even more complicated when the lead’s ex shows up hoping for reconciliation. Unfortunately, reviews were very weak for this effort. A small percentage called it enjoyable fluff, but far more complained that the lead came across as privileged; they found the movie formulaic and unmemorable. The movie stars Reese Witherspoon, Michael Sheen, Candice Bergen and Pico Alexander.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle - This sequel to the surprise 2015 hit continues the story of this quirky secret intelligence agency as they battle a new foe. As the story begins, their headquarters are destroyed, leading them across the pond and team up with a similar group of agents based in the US. This one also divided the press. Fifty percent thought it didn’t come close to measuring up to the original, taking a much sillier and over-the-top approach to the material, while the remainder enjoyed enough of the nonsense to give it a pass. The cast includes Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry and Elton John.

Viceroy’s House - Set in India, 1947, this arthouse drama involves an English family who arrive in the country to oversee its transition to independence from British rule. Of course, it is anything but a smooth transition as various people with different views as well as religious and cultural difference make their feelings known. Overall, critics liked this feature. There were some criticisms that the film was a surface-level examination of a deeper issue and featured far too much exposition, but most liked the performances and thought it provided interesting background into a historical event. Gillian Anderson, Michael Gambon and Hugh Bonneville headline the feature.

Wolf Warrior II - This Chinese action sequel involves the heroic martial artist from the first film. In this chapter, he attempts to move to the sea, settle down and live a quiet life. However, he is brought back into the fray when some nasty mercenaries begin targeting his neighbors. The lead decides to beat up a whole lot of bad guys in order to rectify the situation. While some complained that the movie was exaggerated in its jingoism and featured a predictable storyline, more were impressed by the elaborately choreographed fight scenes set in a variety of environments. The picture stars Wu Jing and Frank Grillo.

Blasts from the Past!

Arrow has some really interesting Blu-rays arriving this week. The first, from Arrow Academy, is a “Limited Edition” of The Apartment (1960). This comedy won an Academy Award for Best Picture back in the day. It re-teams director Billy Wilder and Jack Lemmon (who worked together on Some Like It Hot) in this tale of a man who rents his apartment out to company bosses and their mistresses. Things get complicated when the lead falls for his renter’s girlfriend. The movie arrives with a 4K transfer, film historian commentary, a select scene commentary with another film critic, numerous interviews and making-of featurettes. In fact, there’s literally too much stuff here to list.

Arrow Video also has the cult item, Pulp (1972). This one re-teams director Mike Hodges and actor Michael Caine (who collaborated on Get Carter). This effort, however, is a comedy about a ghost writer working on a biography of an actor. The scribe soon discovers that rumors about the performer and his ties to the mob might actually be true. This one arrives with a 2K restoration as well as brand-new interviews with Hodges and numerous crew members. Sounds like a fun Blu-ray.

Arrow is also releasing House (1985) and House II: The Second Story (1987) as individual Blu-ray discs.

Criterion is delivering some great new Blu-rays too. Election (1999) is an excellent satire set around an increasingly heated high school presidency election. This one includes a 4K restoration, an audio commentary ported from the 1999 DVD, a new interview with co-star Reese Witherspoon, a documentary on the feature, a student thesis film from director Alexander Payne as well as other extras.

The same distributor also has General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait (1974), a documentary about the notorious dictator. This edition features a 2K digital transfer, a new interview with director Barbet Schroeder and a talk with a journalist about Idi Amin’s regime. Criterion also have the musical documentary Monterey Pop (1968), which chronicles the famous festival and features live performances from Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Otis Redding, Simon and Garfunkel and many others. The 4K Blu-ray has more than two hours of outtake performances, audio commentaries, interviews and loads more.

And Kino has a ton of old titles coming your way on Blu-ray. They include Brannigan (1975), a cop film featuring John Wayne, as well as the neo-noir thriller China Moon (1994) with Ed Harris and Madeline Stowe. The latter title comes with a director commentary. Chuck Norris fans can pick up a “Special Edition” of Code of Silence (1985). It’s considered one of the star’s best titles; in it, the butt-kicking star takes on a member of the mob (played by Henry Silva). This one was directed by Andrew Davis (The Fugitive) and arrives with a filmmaker commentary and some interviews with supporting cast and crew.

But that’s not all. Kino is also putting out Blu-rays of another Wayne film, Legend of the Lost (1957), along with the Bob Hope romantic comedy, Paris Holiday (1958). The distributor also have a Michael Dudikoff double-feature Blu featuring the B-movie action flicks Platoon Leader (1988) and Soldier Boyz (1995).

Also arriving from Kino is a series of DVDs that contain low-budget action films. They include Cocaine Wars (1985), in which John Schneider (star of The Dukes of Hazzard) plays an undercover DEA agent taking down a South American drug cartel. They also have In the Aftermath (1988), which is an animated post-apocalyptic tale. Finally, Silk (1986) features a muscular, Honolulu-based female cop taking out a smuggling syndicate.

Scorpion is releasing a Blu-ray of Hard Country (1981), a drama about a small town girl who’s tempted to leave her boyfriend after another man comes back from the big city and offers to take her away. It stars Kim Basinger, Jan-Michael Vincent, Michael Parks and Daryl Hannah.

And ClassicFlix is putting out a Blu-ray of the film-noir, Raw Deal (1948).

You Know, For Kids!

Here are some new titles that small fry may enjoy.

Power Rangers Jungle Fury: The Complete Series

Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Final Chapters

On the Tube!

And here are the week’s TV-themed releases.

A Chef’s Life: Season 5

Death in Paradise: Season 6

Doc Martin: Series 8

Ducktales: Woo-oo!

Father Brown: Season 5

Fuller House: Season 2

Game of Thrones: Season 7

George Gently: Series 8

Life on the Line: Season 3

Simon & Simon: The Final Season

The Strain: Season 4

The Strain: The Complete Series

Tangled: The Series: Queen for a Day

Zoo: Season 3