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You are here: Community Film Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for January 6, 2022

Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for January 6, 2022

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Welcome back to another look at highlights arriving on Blu-ray and DVD. With the holiday season just ending, it’s a shorter list than usual, but there are still plenty of interesting titles coming your way. So, if you can’t make it out to the movies this week or need to stay indoors, be sure to check out one of these titles.



ARMAGEDDON TIME: This period drama is loosely based on the personal experiences of writer/director James Gray (Ad Astra,The Lost City of Z). A young boy struggles at school and has a difficult time getting on with his parents, but shows interest in other areas. When he meets a young black student being treated unfairly by teachers, the two become fast friends. As the school year passes, both of the kids face challenges and plot to run away from home.

Reaction towards the picture was generally positive. About one-quarter of reviewers had trouble connecting with the characters and found it overly sentimental. Regardless, the majority liked the young actors, found that the movie handled its themes in a thoughtful manner. They also said it perfectly captured the era it was set in. It stars Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, Banks Repeta, Jaylin Webb and Anthony Hopkins.

THE BARN PART II: The 2016 independent horror film The Barn was set in 1989 and followed a group of friends driving to a concert. They awaken an evil force after their car breaks next to a barn.

This sequel picks up after the end of a lengthy ban on holiday festivities in the area. A sorority decides to turn the very same barn into a haunted house and open it to the public. They soon discover the evil forces residing within the building.

This effort is debuting on disc and thus far there are only a few notices from genre fans available. They enjoyed the picture, commenting that it effectively recreates the feeling of old, direct-to-video horror movies from the early 1990s. These writers also appreciated the numerous cameos from genre veterans. The cast includes Diana Prince, Linnea Quigley, Doug Bradley, Julie Anne Prescott, Lloyd Kaufman and John Blood (aka Joe Bob Briggs).

BLACK ADAM: The latest comic book superhero movie adaptation to arrive on disc features this character from the DC universe. It all starts 5,000 years ago with an Egyptian boy being bestowed with incredible powers by ancient gods. After being imprisoned for centuries, Black Adam returns when a new villain arises with plans to rule the world. The mighty figure must adapt to the modern world and learn who he can trust before trying to mete out justice.

Reviews were surprisingly poor for this expensive epic. Slightly more than one-third of write-ups thought it delivered enough action and star power to overcome its story flaws and earn the movie a modest recommendation. But the majority thought the lead’s charisma was wasted and that the film was over-the-top, repetitive and ultimately a slog to watch. It features Dwayne Johnson, Aldis Hodge, Pierce Brosnan, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Quintessa Swindell, Marwan Kenzari and Henry Winkler.

MEMORIES OF MY FATHER: Those looking for an international drama can check out this effort from Spain. It’s a biopic detailing the life of Héctor Abad Gómez, a doctor and human rights activist in Columbia during the 1970s.

The film was made by the man’s son and it begins with Gómez teaching his family tolerance and love. Unfortunately, they are faced with terrible challenges after cancer takes the life of one of his children. He begins fighting for social and political causes, putting his life at risk in the process.

The press rated this feature quite highly. A small contingent thought it was slow and lacked tension, also suggesting that the final act was overly melodramatic. Still, everyone else thought the father-son connection in the film was authentic and on-point, calling the end result well-acted and moving. It stars Javier Cámara and Nicolás Reyes Cano.

ON THE LINE: This independent thriller follows a radio talk show host who goes through an ordeal one night on the job. While broadcasting, he gets a call from a maniac who has stalked the lead and is threatening to kill his family live on the air while they talk. To save his loved ones, the host plays a survival game with his tormentor and tries to keep the figure on the line until police can help.

This effort didn’t impress critics and is debuting on disc as a DVD-only title. A few found the movie tense, thought the lead was good in the role and complimented the feature as one that left a longer impression than expected. The rest criticized the screenplay for having outrageous and unbelievable plot twists that took them out of the story. The cast includes Mel Gibson, William Moseley, Alia Seror-O’Neill, Paul Spera and Kevin Dillon.

PREY FOR THE DEVIL: According to the writers behind this horror movie, the number of recent demonic possessions have been going through the roof. Learning about the shortage of exorcists, Sister Ann decides to become one. She joins a school for wannabe exorcists opened by the Catholic Church. After meeting with some resistance as the institute’s first female student, the lead finds herself locked in a battle to save the soul of a young, possessed girl.

Reviewers generally panned this release. A few were amused by the concept and thought it contained a few decent jump-scares. Everyone else thought it was derivative, poorly written and, at times, ridiculous to the point of being unintentionally funny. The movie features Jacqueline Byers, Colin Salmon, Christian Navarro, Lisa Palfrey and Ben Cross.

THE SYSTEM: A young soldier returns from abroad only to find himself accidentally caught up in the middle of a drug bust. Authorities tell the lead that he shows promise as an agent and hire him. He is assigned to go undercover as an inmate and investigate illegal activities at a penitentiary.

But after arriving, the hero discovers that the sinister warden organizes and forces prisoners to participate in an underground fighting ring. The lead has to use his fists and his brains to outsmart the warden and survive.

Response towards this independent action film was mixed-negative. Nearly half suggested that it reminded them of 80s genre pictures and effectively depicted criminal behavior on the part of prison staff. Still, the consensus was that the movie was exaggerated, unmemorable and ultimately silly. It stars Tyrese Gibson, Terrence Howard, Jeremy Piven and Lil Yachty.



This edition is a little lean on classic releases getting upgrades, but there are a couple of noteworthy products arriving on store shelves.

First up is The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) from Criterion. For those unfamiliar with this title from Terry Gilliam (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Time Bandits, Brazil, The Fisher King, 12 Monkeys, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), this period tale is about a young girl who meets a well-intentioned but exaggerated storyteller in a small town that is being invaded by Turkish forces. The famous figure decides to set the record straight and tells a wildly fantastic tale about his life and how he can help the citizens avoid invasion.

The movie stars John Neville as the title character and Sarah Polley (writer/director of the upcoming film, Women Talking) as his young friend. Eric Idle, Oliver Reed, Jonathan Pryce, Bill Paterson, Uma Thurman and Robin Williams also appear in the movie.

The movie flopped upon its original release, largely due to a bad publicity campaign and stories about its very troubled production. Despite the behind-the-scenes issues, the final product is phenomenal to behold. The visuals are outstanding and the imaginative storytelling techniques are beautifully rendered. Additionally, the cast is great, making the movie a lot of fun.

This edition presents a 4K Ultra HD version and a Blu-ray (you can also purchase a stand-alone Blu-ray). Extras include a 2008 audio commentary with Gilliam, an archival documentary that runs about 70 minutes, special effects footage featuring new comments from the director, four brief deleted scenes, storyboards for unfinished bits that weren’t shot, marketing materials, a new video essay on the feature, a television show detailing the filmmaker and his works, as well as an animated short by Gillam and an essay on the movie. Sounds like an incredible disc.

Kino is presenting the Bradford Dillman/Peter Graves Korean War feature Sergeant Ryker (1968) on Blu-ray. This tale involves a soldier who is accused by his superiors of being a spy. The disc includes a 2K restoration of the film, a new film historian commentary and a trailer.

Finally, Warner Bros. is putting together a set called the Nicholas Sparks 4-Film Collection, which is only available on DVD. It contains film adaptations of the following romance flicks (in chronological order of release) – Message in a Bottle (1999), The Notebook (2004), Nights in Rodanthe (2008) and The Lucky One (2012).



Unfortunately, there is nothing for the kids this week.


And here is a listing of all the TV-themed releases coming your way.

American Masters: Groucho & Cavett (PBS) DVD

American Masters: Marian Anderson – The Whole World in Her Hands (PBS) DVD

Andy Richter Controls the Universe The Complete Series (CBS) DVD

Chesapeake Shores Season 6 (Hallmark) DVD

Christmas at Castle Hart (Hallmark) DVD

The Christmas Contest (Hallmark) DVD

Love in the Limelight (Hallmark) DVD

NATURE: Canada – Surviving the Wild North (PBS) DVD

NOVA: Ending HIV in America (PBS) DVD

Open by Christmas (Hallmark) DVD

Star Trek: Prodigy Season 1 (Paramount) Blu-ray


By Glenn Kay
For the Sun