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You are here: Community Film DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for Jan. 25, 2019

DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for Jan. 25, 2019

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It’s time for another look at new releases arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. There’s plenty of variety, from goofy comedies to awards contenders and even some foreign-language entries. So if you can’t make it out to the movies this week, be sure and give one of these titles a try!

Big New Releases!

American Renegades - A group of Navy Seals serving in a warring district of Bosnia discover gold worth hundreds of millions of dollars at the bottom of a local lake. They decide to go rogue and return the goods to the locals by staging a heist. Of course, in the process they become targets of an invading enemy force. This action picture got panned by critics. One or two called it a breezy and fun action flick, but everyone else commented that the pacing was poor, the acting stiff and the end result unexciting. It features J.K. Simmons, Sullivan Stapleton, Charlie Bewley and Sylvia Hoeks.

El Angel aka The Angel - This foreign-language film from Argentina is set in 1971 and follows a poor 17-year-old with a knack for stealing things. After arriving at a new school, he befriends another student and decides to take his skills as a thief to the next level. This title earned decent notices. There were write-ups that critiqued the film for not having likable leads as well as for its story, which some found run-of-the-mill. However, the majority thought the movie did a great job of establishing mood and described it as colorful and interestingly dark. The cast includes Lorenzo Ferro, Chino Darin and Daniel Fanego.

The Apparition - A journalist is called upon by the Vatican to help them investigate a remarkable claim made in a small French village. Some of the residents, including a young girl, believe the Virgin Mary is appearing before them. As the protagonist tries to get to the bottom of things, he and those around begin to reevaluate their own belief systems. Reaction was good, but not fantastic for this foreign-language drama. A contingent found the movie overlong and thought it ran out of steam toward the close. Still, the overall consensus was that this was a well-acted and interesting picture that raised many thought-provoking questions. Vincent Lindon and Galatéa Bellugi headline the feature.

Araby - This Brazilian feature tells the story of a young boy who discovers the old journal of an injured worker at a nearby aluminum factory. As he reads the various entries, viewers witness 10 years of hardship in the life of the employee. The teenager’s perspective on the country and world is radically changed as he examines the numerous entries. This film received excellent write-ups. Only a few thought that it was too gloomy for its own good. Almost all others thought it was artfully made, relatable and offered great insight into the plight of the working class. Murilo Caliari and Aristides de Sousa are featured.

Best F(r)iends: Vol. 1 & 2 - One of the biggest cult films of all time is the 2003 independent drama, The Room. Fans of the creator behind that production, actor/writer/director/producer Tommy Wiseau, will likely be curious about this release. It includes two recent full-length feature films that reunite Wiseau with Greg Sestero, who played the lead in the previously mentioned opus. The new efforts are written by Sestero and involve a pair of strangers who meet on the road and become friends, but whose relationship is tested by a series of bizarre occurrences. There haven’t been any press reviews for either film, but fans will likely be excited about the collaboration.

First Man - Neil Armstrong and the first manned NASA trip to the moon are chronicled in this biopic from director Damien Chazelle (La La Land). Told mostly from the point of view of the astronaut, the film details the tragedies and difficulties endured by Armstrong in the years leading up to the mission, as well as the landing itself. The drama did earn plenty of praise. There were criticisms directed at the pacing and statements that the movie didn’t do much to give us a deeper understanding of Armstrong. However, more were so taken with the spaceflight and trip to the moon that they could overlook the film’s character issues. It stars Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clark, Kyle Chandler and Corey Stoll.

The Hate U Give - Based on the New York Times Bestseller, this drama involves a teen trapped between the inner-city neighborhood she grew up in and the upper-class, mostly white prep school she attends. After witnessing a childhood friend get pulled over for no reason and fatally shot by a pair of police officers, the youth must figure out what to do next and faces pressure from all sides. Critics praised the movie. Only a tiny handful had issues, suggesting that it had difficulty juggling too many elements. Almost all other reviews stated that it was a powerful, emotional and well-performed feature with plenty on its mind. The cast includes Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Anthony Mackie, Issa Rae and Common.

Here and Now - A singer/songwriter enjoying a flourishing career goes to the doctor and gets a horrifying diagnosis. With a huge performance the following night, the woman is forced to make big decisions regarding her life and career as she wanders the streets of New York, dealing with family, friends and industry types. Sadly, this drama got just as bad a report as the lead character. A few wrote it was sweet and enjoyed the lead performance. Still, the overwhelming majority remarked that it was a slow and dull effort that never takes off. It stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Renée Zellweger, Simon Baker and Common.

I Am Not a Witch - This UK/France/Germany/Zambia production involves a young girl in a small African village. After someone in the community suggests the child is a witch, the girl is uprooted from her home and taken to a camp. Now being trained in witchcraft, the lead must deal with all sorts of unusual tasks and the ideas of those around her. This art house title earned raves from the press. One or two found it too episodic, but the consensus of everyone else was that it was unique, darkly funny and provided memorable moments that wouldn’t be forgotten. The cast includes Maggie Mulubwa and Henry Phiri.

Johnny English Strikes Again - The third chapter in this James Bond parody series sees its title character retired and teaching. When a technological threat exposes all of the UK’s secret agents, the old-fashioned hero must return to the fold and save the world. Of course, he won’t do it without unintentionally causing chaos along the way. The movie didn’t generate a lot of favor with critics. About one-third thought it had enough little chuckles to earn it a pass. The rest said that bits and pieces were amusing, but that there wasn’t enough in the script to make it a worthwhile addition to the series. It features Rowan Atkinson, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Miller, Jake Lacy and Emma Thompson.

Blasts from the Past!

Wow, some pretty remarkable stuff is arriving on Blu-ray this week. Waterworld (1995) was the most expensive film ever made at the time of its release and Arrow Video is putting out an extras-filled, two-disc “Limited Edition” Blu-ray. It contains not only the 135 minute theatrical cut, the 176 minute TV version and a third edition that combines elements into a sort of super-version (or as close to it as one can get) of the movie. There’s also a feature-length documentary about the film, chronicling every step from the creation of the script, to the interest generated to the numerous problems encountered by the production.

The MVD Rewind Collection is releasing the notorious video game adaptation of Double Dragon (1994) as a “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray/DVD set. This is not one of the more impressive arcade-game to movie translations. It flopped during its original release, but has developed something of a following among “bad movie” fans and those who enjoy flicks based on video and arcade games. The release includes a new full-length making-of documentary, a new featurette on producer Don Murphy, all sorts of archival clips from the original release, an episode of the 1993 animated series based on the game, storyboards and tons of promotional materials.

The MVD Marquee Collection is also delivering a Blu-ray of the Macaulay Kulkin/Ted Danson comedy, Getting Even With Dad (1994). This release comes with a making-of featurette and multiple trailers for the movie. Additionally, the distributor has the sequel,

Roadhouse 2 (2006) in high definition. This sequel came 17 years after the original and doesn’t feature Patrick Swayze, but at least one can now pick it up and own the entire series.

Shout! Factory has some interesting selections as well. They include a “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray of the Charles Bronson action/thriller, 10 to Midnight (1983). It features the hero hunting down a psychopathic young man attacking women. The movie comes from a 4K scan of the original camera negative, several new interviews with the cast and crew, a new film historian commentary track and a previously released commentary with the film’s producer and casting director. Additionally, it includes trailers and radio spots.

They also have a “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray of Cobra (1986). This action flick with Sylvester Stallone is over-the-top in every possible way. In it, the actor plays a cop protecting a witness from a strange, axe-wielding cult. In the process, he ends up mowing down just about every member of the gang and... well... every criminal he encounters along the way. The elements have been given a fresh 2K scan and there are new interviews with several members of the cast (just about everyone except Stallone and co-star, Brigitte Nielsen). It also comes with a previously released commentary with the film’s late director, George P. Cosmatos, and loads of publicity materials.

Perhaps the highlight of the week is a Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of the hilarious Michael Caine/Steve Martin comedy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988). The pair plays con men out to scam women on the French Riviera, and the end results are pretty hysterical. This Blu-ray includes a new 2K scan of the movie, a new interview with the film’s writer, an audio commentary with the filmmaker, Frank Oz (known for his work with The Muppets as well as directing Little Shop of Horrors, In & Out, Bowfinger and Death at a Funeral). Additionally, trailers and other bonuses are also included.

Criterion’s releasing the well-regarded Romanian abortion drama, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (2007) on Blu-ray. The movie has been given a 4K digital restoration, a new interview the director, a discussion with a film critic on the title and Romanian cinema, a short documentary about reaction to the picture during its original release in its home country, a press conference, deleted and alternate scenes and new English subtitles.

You can also pick up Mikey and Nicky (1976), a unique gangster film from Elaine May (A New Leaf, The Heartbreak Kid) that focuses on two small-time mobsters (Peter Falk and John Cassavetes) whose long relationship suddenly turns bad. Many consider it an unheralded masterpiece. Criterion are giving it a restored, 4K digital transfer and the disc comes with a new program on the making-of the film, along with critic interviews, a 1976 talk with Falk, as well as trailers and TV spots.

Warner Archive has a new made-to-order Blu-ray worth consideration. It’s for the monster movie, The Giant Behemoth (1959), which features an enormous lizard tearing up the streets of London. Watch out!

Finally, Twilight Time’s selling limited runs of Blu-ray for the features Beat the Devil (1953), The Return of Frank James (1940), Untamed (1955) and Yanks (1979). They may already be sold out, but fans of the movie can always look them up and see if there are any copies still available.

You Know, For Kids!

Here are this week’s titles for young kids.

Brainy Bubbly Bug Buddies 2

On the Tube!

And here are the TV-themed releases coming your way.

Dick Cavett Show: Inside The Minds Of: Vol. 2

Fuller House: Season 3

Killjoys: Season 4

By Glenn Kay

For the Sun