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You are here: Community Film DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for Feb. 23, 2018

DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for Feb. 23, 2018

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It’s time for yet another examination of Blu-rays and DVDs hitting shelves this week. There is plenty of variety, including some big Hollywood flicks as well as Oscar-nominated independent fare. 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!

Daddy’s Home 2 - This sequel to the hit 2015 comedy finds its stepfather and biological father protagonists finally accustomed to each other and their new, expanded family unit. However, tensions arise when the holidays approach as each of the men welcome their visiting fathers. These dads seem to be even more extreme versions of their sons. Reaction to the film was very poor. A few thought it was more effective than the original and provided some amusing chaos, but most called the movie formulaic, loud and unfunny. The cast includes Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson, John Lithgow and Linda Cardellini.

The Florida Project - The latest drama from director Sean Baker (Tangerine) is a slice-of-life piece about a mother and daughter living in a motel room near Walt Disney World. These protagonists hustle and struggle to make ends meet and pay rent, resulting in both frustration and empathy from the location manager. Reviews were strong. Many felt that using non-actors and letting scenes play out added realism to the proceedings and thought it effectively told the tale of a troubled family. It also ended up earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. It features Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite and Willem Dafoe.

Mom and Dad - A pair of children are forced to hide and take refuge in their own home after their parents turn into psychopaths. As the film progresses, it appears that the entire neighborhood is effected by the mass hysteria, making escape for the kids even more dangerous. Apparently, things take an even more bizarre turn when the family grandparents come to visit. Reviews for this low-budget dark comedy/horror/thriller were actually pretty good. Some found too dopey and mean to recommend, but the majority suggested that it was twisted fun that shocks and amuses in equal measure. They also appreciated the exaggerated performances. It stars Nicholas Cage, Selma Blair, Anne Winters, Zackary Arthur and Lance Henriksen.

Same Kind of Different as Me - An international art dealer from Texas struggles with his marriage in this faith-based drama. His wife, who volunteers at an outreach program, pushes him to befriend and help a homeless man. Over the course of the story, the lives of all three are changed for the better. This effort earned mixed reviews from the press, with more negative notices than positive ones. Most thought it was well produced and some found the message admirable. However, several complained that the movie simplified the problem of homelessness and didn’t appreciate its heavy-handed approach. The cast includes Renée Zellweger, Djimon Hounsou, Greg Kinnear and Jon Voight.

The Star - And here’s another Bible story, this time animated. It’s about a donkey hoping to make a better life for himself than working at a mill in a small village. He escapes to the desert, befriending a lost sheep and dove. Together, they end up playing a big role in the Nativity. Critics were split on this title as well. There was contingent that appreciated using humor and amusingly goofy animals to tell its story. Still, more commented that it wasn’t up to quality of other titles like 1998’s The Prince of Egypt, saying the slapstick isn’t well handled and the message comes across in a less-than-subtle manner. It features the voices of Steven Yuen, Keegan-Michael Key, Aidy Bryant, Zachary Levi, Christopher Plummer and Ving Rhames.

Blasts from the Past!

Shout! has a trio of interesting titles arriving in high definition. The first is a double feature Blu-ray of two Robert Mitchum flicks, Farewell, My Lovely (1975) and a remake of the classic film noir, The Big Sleep (1978). These are both thrillers that feature the actor playing famed detective Philip Marlowe. The first is better remembered and even earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for Sylvia Miles. This release includes a new interview with Miles, an archived talk with Big Sleep director Michael Winner, featurettes, trailers for both films and other extras.

The distributor is also releasing a more recent film in the foreign-language animated effort, The Girl Without Hands (2016). It uses elements of Brothers Grimm fables and tells the tale of a young girl who is sold to the Devil by her father and the youngster’s attempts to escape. The disc includes a making-of, interview with the director, other shorts by the filmmaker and a theatrical trailer. Finally, they have a Blu-ray of The Night Walker (1964). It stars Barbara Stanwyk as a well-off widow haunted by her deceased husband as she is taken advantage of by a mysterious stranger. Reportedly, her nightmares soon begin to fuse with reality. The movie has been given a new HD transfer from the interpositive and comes with a film historian commentary and press materials.

Criterion is premiering An Actor’s Revenge (1963) on Blu-ray. This is a Japanese drama about a Kabuki performer out to avenge the death of his parents. It has been given a 4K restoration, an archived interview with the film’s reclusive director Kon Ichikawa and an interview with a critic about the movie’s importance.

Criterion also has a Blu-ray of the well-regarded Indian drama, The Hero (1966) aka Nayak: The Hero. It’s about a film star on the brink of his first big flop. While traveling to do press, he allows himself to be interviewed and begins to examine and question the fickleness of fame and life as a matinee idol. This disc includes a new 2K digital restoration of the film, a 2008 interview with actor Sharmila Tagore, a film scholar analysis and other extras.

Warner Archive is upgrading its made-to-order title The Drowning Pool (1975) by putting out a made-to-order Blu-ray. Apparently it’s a nice step up in quality from the previous DVD version; the movie features Paul Newman as a private eye who gets in over his head investigating a blackmail case.

And rounding out Blu-ray releases, Scorpion is putting out the English romance/drama A Summer Story (1988), while Kino Classic has a Blu-ray of the silent western, The Covered Wagon (1923).

You Know, For Kids!

Here are this edition’s kid-friendly titles.

The Biskitts: The Complete Series (Warner Archive)

Peppa Pig: Peppa Easter Bunny

On the Tube!

And below are highlights of the week’s TV-themed releases.

The Master: The Complete Series (Kino)

Midnight, Texas: Season 1

Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (PBS)

Visit: CinemaStance.com

By Glenn Kay

For the Sun