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You are here: Community Film DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for Nov. 9, 2018

DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for Nov. 9, 2018

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Time for another look at highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s yet another busy week with loads of options for viewers. 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!

American Dresser - A man suddenly and unexpectedly becomes a widower in this drama. Guilt-ridden with regret and struggling to rebuild a relationship with his estranged daughters, the protagonist and his best friend decide to ride their motorcycles from New York to the California. Along the way they take in the scenery, meet new people and come to some personal revelations. Reviews were poor for this independent feature. It has been described as a routine effort that doesn’t take advantage of its concept or impressive cast. Tom Berenger, Keith David, Gina Gershon, Penelope Ann Miller, Bruce Dern and Jeff Fahey appear.

Armed - This suspense thriller follows a U.S. Marshall dealing with trauma after one of his missions goes tragically wrong. As the lead attempts to recover and start a new life, he’s plagued by strange symptoms. When another survivor arrives and explains that he is suffering from a similar condition, it becomes clear that a deeper conspiracy may have been to blame for all their troubles. Reaction toward this effort has been underwhelming. A small group claimed to be amused by the increasingly outlandish plot, but the majority called it a clunky mess that can’t rise above the limitations of its low-budget. It features Mario Van Peebles, Ryan Guzman and William Fichtner.

Bel Canto - An opera singer is asked to perform for a South American dictator in this suspense picture. Guerillas soon raid the opera house and take everyone hostage. Naturally, there are some language barriers and the singer tries to mediate and help things come to as peaceful a resolution as possible. The press gave this film decent notices. There were some who felt it could have delved deeper into character motivations and didn’t think the movie provided enough tension. However, more complimented the performances and found it to depict an interesting take on the relationship between captor and captive. It stars Julianne Moore, Christopher Lambert, Thorbjorn Harr and Ken Watanabe.

BlacKkKlansman - The latest from Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X) is set in the ’70s and is based on the true story of an African American police officer who, with his Jewish partner, attempt to infiltrate the Colorado wing of the Ku Klux Klan. As events progress, the pair finds themselves progressing deeper within the horrid organization. Critics were extremely positive about this biopic and crime comedy/drama. One or two had some trouble with its unexpected sense of humor, but almost everyone called it a compelling feature that makes great points and properly eviscerates its targets. The cast includes John David Washington, Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, Michael Buscemi and Topher Grace.

The Cakemaker - This arthouse foreign title from Israel follows a man who falls in love with a baker in Germany. After dying in a car crash, the surviving German chef decides to head to Jerusalem and find out more about his lover’s old life. Once there, he ends up working in a cafe for the man’s deceased wife and becomes involved in her life in a way he never anticipated. Reviewers gave this drama very high marks. Almost every one stated it’s a well-acted, sweet and gentle film about loss, grief and religion that never resorts to overt sentimentality or cliché. Tim Kalkhof, Sarah Adler and Zohar Shtrauss headline the feature.

Christopher Robin - Winnie the Pooh and his pals get a redo in this Disney feature about a grown up Christopher Robin. Now an insurance adjuster who lives in the city, the stern man has forgotten all about the animal friends from his childhood. When Winnie shows up in person to ask for help in finding his lost compatriots, the adult first questions his own sanity. Then, the protagonist decides to help, rekindling his childhood joy in the process. Reaction towards this family film was generally good. A percentage did find it too gloomy and downcast for their liking, but most thought it was a simple, modest and comforting remaining with excellent visual effects. It features Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell and plenty of familiar voices.

Destination Wedding - Two depressed, antisocial guests head out to a destination wedding and keep running into each other. While they first spar and butt heads, their repeated encounters result in something of a growing respect and affection for one another. Despite their outwardly unpleasant demeanors, they ultimately find themselves falling for each other. Writer-ups for this romantic comedy were mixed. About half suggested that while they liked the performers, they found their characters an endurance test. The others said that after some adjustment they appreciated the onscreen bickering and found the leads very amusing to watch. It stars Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves.

Incredibles 2 - The original Incredibles film from Pixar was a huge success some time ago. Fourteen years later, a new movie has arrived that continues the adventures of a superhero family. This time out, most of the gang have retired to pursue other interests. When matriarch Helen discovers a new threat, she heads out to face it while her husband struggles to take care of the kids. Reaction was positive overall. A few did complain that the ideas felt half-formed and that the movie didn’t really need to exist, but far more thought the animation was great and that it was an improvement on its predecessor.

The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time - This Sci-Fi cheeseball effort is technically a TV-movie, but due to the series popularity, it’s getting a brief write-up in this section as well. Claiming to be the last in the franchise, this tale follows the hero as he builds a time-machine and travels through the centuries to save his family and stop the sharknado attacks from having ever occurred. Pretty much all of the reviewers are “over it” by now. A couple believed it was the best since the original, but almost all stated that the events depicted felt very dull and even the camp value of the concept had been lost. It features Tara Reid, Iin Ziering, Vivica A. Fox, Cassandra Scerbo, Judah Friedlander and some celebrity cameos.

Papillon - The famous 1973 Steve McQuuen/Dustin Hoffman prison drama gets a redo in this gritty drama. It follows the titular thief as he is arrested while safecracking and sent to French Guiana and one of the harshest prisons in the world. Once there, the inmates do their best to survive the inhumane conditions and find a way out to freedom. The new edition earned mixed notices with a few more positive write-ups than negative ones. Some found it too grim and others couldn’t help but compare it to the original, but slightly more admired the actors and thought that even if it wasn’t quite as moving, it was still a decent feature. The cast includes Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek.

Blasts from the Past!

Some great older titles are hitting high definition as well. The MVD Marquee Collection’s bringing Art School Confidential (2006) to Blu-ray. This effort from Terry Zwigoff (Ghost World, Bad Santa) follows a group of college students trying to navigate careers in the art world. It may not be quite as effective as Ghost World, but is a very funny and above-average coming-of-age effort. The movie’s Blu-ray debut arrives with a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, blooper reel, Sundance featurette and theatrical trailer.

Shout! Factory’s delivering Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers (1992) on Blu-ray for the first time. This eccentric, R-rated effort follows a high school student who discovers that her potential new boyfriend and his mother are monsters who feed on the life-force of virginal young victims. This release includes a new audio commentary with director Mick Garris (who directed Critters 2, Psycho IV and wrote Hocus Pocus) and stars Madchen Amick and Brian Krause, as well as recent interviews with all three, co-star Alice Kridge and the make-up and effects department. The disc also includes behind-the-scenes footage and publicity materials.

Those who want more horror can also pick-up a new Steelbook of The Thing (1982) from the distributor. The contents are all the same, but the discs come in new collectable packaging.

Mill Creek Entertainment’s releasing a Blu-ray/DVD combo package of the family flick, Benji’s Very Own Christmas Story (1978). Unlike the many Benji movies from the era, this holiday-themed effort is really a TV-special about the dog getting into some hi-jinx is Switzerland. Apparently, it has been newly restored with some bonus features. At least Benji fans can now pick up one of the pooch’s more obscure titles.

Finally, Scorpion has Truman Capote’s The Glass House (1972), which stars Vic Morrow, Alan Alda and Clu Gulager. This is a tense and hard-to-find TV-movie about the first day of a guard and new prisoner. Apparently, it’s a very brutal effort that was shocking in its day and is noteworthy for being shot within the working Utah State Prison. The disc includes an interview with co-star Clu Gulager.

You Know, For Kids!

Here are a few titles that may appeal to the kids.

Benji’s Very Own Christmas Story (1978)

Blaze and the Monster Machines: Blaze Saves Christmas

Pokemon: Sun & Moon: Complete Series

Sesame Street: The Magical Wand Chase

On the Tube!

And here are the week’s TV releases.

American Experience: The Circus (PBS)

Dr. Who: Episode 109: Shada

Elementary: Season 6

Frontline: Our Man in Tehran (PBS)

The Good Fight: Season 2

The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (Syfy)

Native America (PBS)

Pat Boone & Family: Thanksgiving and Christmas Specials

Poldark: Season 4 (PBS)

Shakespeare Uncovered: Season 3 (PBS)

Sherlock: Season 1 (4K Blu-ray)

The Shield: The Complete Series

Single-Handed: Complete Collection

Succession: Season 1

Truman Capote’s The Glass House (1972)

The Woman in White (PBS)

By Glenn Kay

For the Sun