DVD/Blu-ray Roundup June 19, 2015


Welcome back to another roundup of highlights on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s a busy edition with a lot of films arriving in a variety of genres. So, if you can’t make it out to the movies this week, be sure and give some of these titles a try!

Big New Releases!

Chappie - A robot with AI is kidnapped by a gang and learns important life lessons in this science-fiction effort from director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium). The title character also must hide from a company employee out to destroy him because of the societal implications of a free-thinking robot. The press were not taken with this effort - they claimed that it looked great but suffered from a heavy-handed approach, numerous plot holes and bad dialogue. Cast members include Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, Ninja, Yolandi Visser and Sigourney Weaver.

The Lazarus Effect - Frankenstein and Carrie get mashed together in this story about a group of scientists who figure out how to resurrect the dead. When they raise one of their own, they suddenly find that the person isn’t the same, possessing psychokinetic abilities and a very nasty steak. It received terrible notices. Most write-ups suggested that it was far sillier than it was scary, going through the horror movie motions and lacking any credible scare sequences. Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Donald Glover, Evan Peters, Sarah Bolger and Ray Wise headline the film.

Run All Night - Liam Neeson plays yet another tough guy in this hard-boiled action picture about an ex-enforcer who becomes the target of his mobster boss after rescuing his son from a gangland hit. Reaction was mixed for this effort, although there were a few more positive write-ups than negative. While some felt the story was too familiar and the tone overly dark and gritty, others claimed that it added more weight and depth to the characters. The supporting roles are played by Joel Kinnaman, Ed Harris, Common, Bruce McGill and Vincent D’Onofrio.

Unfinished Business - A trio of misfits are forced out of their jobs and form their own company. They travel to Germany to try and land a client that will save their business, but are forced to deal with an assortment of bizarre personal and professional issues. Most reviews were awful, claiming that the movie was unfunny and didn’t deliver on its premise. Still, there were a scant few reviewers who through that his comedy was aiming for something a bit different than the typical gross-out comedy. However, it does boast an impressive cast, including Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, James Marsden, Sienna Miller and Nick Frost.

Blasts From the Past!

B-movie enthusiasts can pick up a Shout! Factory Double Feature Blu-ray of the not-so-great monster movies Tentacles (1977) and Reptilicus (1961). Tentacles is a Jaws knock-off that deals with a seaside town (actually, La Jolla, CA) facing off against a large rampaging octopus craving human blood. Acting veterans John Huston, Shelley Winters and Henry Fonda pay the rent by appearing in this very cheesy effort from the director of the so-bad-it’s-good cult flick, The Visitor (1979). Reptilicus features a lizard fossil that grows into a giant monster and rampages through the streets of Copenhagen, Demark. The Blu-ray features trailers for both films.

Kino Lorber has a big group of older flicks being introduced into high definition. These include The Boys in the Band (1970), a Golden Globe nominated, gay-themed drama from director William Friedkin (who would later helm The French Connection and Sorcerer).

If you’re intrigued by Tentacles and Reptilicus or goofy Saturday matinee science-fiction flicks in general, you may find the Blu-ray of The Land That Time Forgot (1975) to your liking. It involves a submarine that gets lost and finds itself docked at an island filled with dinosaurs and Neanderthals.

The Onion Field (1979) is a true crime drama that received a Golden Globe nomination upon its theatrical release. It’s based on a true story about a violent crime and features performances from James Woods, Ted Danson, Ronny Cox and Christopher Lloyd.

Any Chuck Norris fans out there? Then you’ll be happy to see Kino Blu-rays for the films An Eye For an Eye (1981) and Hero and the Terror (1988). The first involves a cop who goes over the edge and vows to take down a drug kingpin any way he can. It co-stars Mako, Richard Roundtree and the late, great Christopher Lee. The latter features Norris as a detective and father-to-be hunting down a dangerous and monstrously huge serial killer.

Finally, there’s the thriller Malice (1993), which stars Nicole Kidman, Alec Baldwin and Bill Pullman. Its about a couple trying desperately to have children, only to learn that an acquaintance (a doctor renting a space in their house) might be a psychopath manipulating them to his own gains.

Disney are releasing Blu-rays of two Japanese animated films. These include the Oscar-winning Hayao Miyazaki effort Spirited Away (2001) and The Cat Returns (2002).

Perhaps to tie in with their release of A Master Builder, Criterion are also debuting the Wallace Shawn arthouse classic from Louis Malle, My Dinner With Andre (1981). It is exactly as it sounds, with Shawn and theater director Andre Gregory discussing their lives as well as love, death and money. The Blu-ray features a new restoration, an interview with the participants and TV show episode dissecting the film.

Finally, MGM are making some old, lesser known titles available as part of their DVD-R burning on demand series. These include Fearless Frank (1967) and the Frank Zappa flick 200 Motels (1971) (which is inspired by the musician’s many escapades while on tour). Finally, they’re also making the Joseph Bologna comedy Mixed Company (1974) available for order.

You Know, For Kids!

It’s a lean week for kids, but here’s what is being made available.

Caillou: Caillou Helps Out (PBS Kids)

Littlest Pet Shop: Paws For Applause