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You are here: Community Film Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for January 24, 2020

Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for January 24, 2020

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It’s time for another look at new releases arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. Once again, it’s a busy edition with plenty of flicks that should appeal to just about any age group. 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!

The Addams Family - This CGI-animated take on the famous clan finds them moving into the suburbs. When the Addams’ daughter Wednesday befriends a local whose father happens to be a traditional and conservative reality show host, it creates conflict and discord within the entire neighborhood. Most critics were not amused with the latest take on the characters. While a small contingent thought kids would still get a kick out of the material, more complained that the gags fell flat and that it was neither kooky, nor spooky enough to recommend. The voice cast includes Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Finn Wolfhard, Nick Kroll, Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, Allison Janney, Martin Short and Catherine O’Hara.

Anthropocene: The Human Epoch - This documentary follows a group of filmmakers as they travel across six continents and twenty countries, chronicling the environmental changes in the world over the past four years. This includes photographic evidence of ice caps melting, ever-growing garbage heaps in dumps around the world, bizarre weather patterns and other wasteful human actions that are altering the planet as we know it. Notices were generally excellent. One or two wanted more than just images and felt like the picture would have benefitted from arguments and specific facts.

Still, the overwhelming majority stated that the striking images on display made the point perfectly clear. Alicia Vikander provides the narration.

Countdown - In this horror picture, a nurse downloads an app onto her phone that claims to accurately predict when a person will die. After setting it up, she discovers that she only has three days left to live. Panicked and worried, the cell owner notes a suspicious figure following her and must do all she can to avoid getting killed. This picture did not get many good reviews.

Those who enjoyed it claimed that although it wasn’t particularly scary, they liked the lead actress and did find the ridiculousness on display entertaining. Still, about two-thirds of write-ups commented that it was an endless series of ineffective jump scares that didn’t make sense and would ultimately annoy viewers. The cast includes Elizabeth Lail, Anne Winters, Jordan Calloway and Tom Segura.

In Search of the Last Action Heroes - Action films from the ‘80s are the subject of this documentary. In it, the filmmaker dissects and pays tribute to the entire genre, examining how they exploded on the scene, why they were so appealing, as well as the legacy and influence they’ve had on today’s features. The film includes interviews with writers, producers and directors like Shane Black, Boaz Davidson, Steven E. de Souza, Sam Firstenberg, Mark Goldblatt, Mario Kassar, Mark L. Lester, Paul Verhoeven and actors like Bill Duke, Eric Roberts, Cynthia Rothrock, Michaek Jai White and Alex Winter. There aren’t any notices for this flick yet, but it sounds like a lot of fun for those who remember and enjoy ‘80s action cinema.

Pain and Glory - This drama from Spain introduces viewers to an aging film director suffering from health problems and a creative block. When he’s asked to attend a screening of an older feature with an actor whom he fought with during the production, he ultimately agrees. The experience raises old feelings and memories about his life and career, and reintroduces him to people from his past. This picture has received raves from the press, who have called it one of the best foreign-language films of the year.

They thought the lead performance was exceptional and the movie was effective in its melancholy and self-examination (which they believed was in part inspired by the film director’s own experiences). The movie has been nominated for a couple of Academy Awards and stars Antonio Banderas, Asier Etxeandia and Penélope Cruz.

Zombieland: Double Tap - Picking up 10 years after the original, this sequel to the 2009 horror/comedy hit finds its lead characters continuing to survive in a post-apocalyptic landscape. After traveling to the American heartland, they discover new, evolved zombies, as well as a group of human survivors, adding more tensions within the group. Reaction to the follow-up was positive overall. A percentage of reviews did suggest that there wasn’t much story and that the film merely repeated the same gags, which made it feel inessential.

However, the majority suggested that it was funny and did provide enough entertainment to earn it a recommendation. It features Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Rosario Dawson and Luke Wilson.


Blasts from the Past!

Lucio Fulci is a name most horror fans will be familiar with, thanks to his work on the cult classics Zombie (1979), City of the Living Dead (1980) and The Beyond (1981). During this period, he also made The House by the Cemetery (1981), about a family who moves into an estate that also serves as home to a murderous and disfigured resident. Blue Underground is presenting a 3-disc Limited Edition Blu-ray of the film with a gorgeous 4K restoration. It’s a crazy little horror picture that has never looked so good as it does on this latest edition.

The release includes a new film historian commentary, a deleted scene, as well as publicity materials. It also contains multiple hours of interviews with the cast and crew and even provides brand new pieces with the participants and other horror film experts on this outrageous shocker. Furthermore, it includes the full score on a third disc. If you enjoy Italian genre pictures from the era, there’s no way you wouldn’t want to pick this up.


Shout! has some interesting new Blu-rays as well. The first is a Collector’s Edition of the Gwyneth Paltrow drama, Sliding Doors (1998). It follows a character between parallel storylines as she tries to catch a morning train. The well-regarded flick arrives on disc with plenty of new features.

They include a commentary with writer/director Peter Howitt, a feature-length documentary on the production which includes recently recorded interviews with Howitt, Paltrow and co-star John Hannah among many others. There’s also a third new bit with the director and plenty of trailers included.


Universal has the Anne Margaret juvenile-delinquent cult classic, Kitten with a Whip (1964) coming your way on Blu-ray. The star plays a psychotic sexpot on the run from the law who targets a senatorial candidate looking to help those in need. She ends up trying to spiral his life down the drain.

Finally, Warner Archive is making made-to-order Blu-rays of the epic Glenn Ford western, Cimarron (1960) available.


You Know, For Kids!

Here is a selection of releases that may appeal to younger audiences.

Berenstain Bears: Tales from the Tree House, Volume 2 (PBS)

Shimmer and Shine: Splash into Zahramay Oceanea! (Nickelodeon)

Summer Days with Coo (2007)


On the Tube!

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

All of My Heart 3-Movie Collection: All of My Heart/ Inn Love/ The Wedding (Hallmark Channel)

Berenstain Bears: Tales from the Tree House, Volume 2 (PBS)

Matlock: The Complete Series

NOVA: Rise of the Mammals (PBS)

By Glenn Kay
For the Sun