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US Blu-ray and DVD Releases: The Grinch, Crimson Peak, Double Dragon, Cloverfield, Kidding and more

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Crimson Peak

The Grinch – I’ve never been a fan of Jim Carrey’s live-action The Grinch movie, so I wasn’t terribly non-plussed when I found out they were making a new one, animated this time. With Benedict Cumberbatch voicing the Grinch this time around, I figured the film would at least be enjoyable enough, even if it’s clearly geared more for younger kids. And that’s what it is: enjoyable, especially for the kids. This take on the Grinch is maybe just a little less mean (or at least a little less harsh), so the film earns its PG rating, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The Grinch is available on 4K Ultra HD (as well as Blu-ray and DVD) and the premium high def format offers up superb picture quality, with brilliant colors and exceptional clarity, plus a nicely active soundtrack. A quality presentation.

Crimson Peak: Limited Collector’s Edition – Arrow Video continues their march toward home video domination with some of the finest collector’s edition home video releases around. Their latest is a gorgeous Collector’s Edition of Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro’s criminally underseen gothic ghost story from 2015. The film itself is a near-masterpiece, with Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska in a supernatural love triangle. It’s creepy, tense, gorgeous, and dramatic, and I love it. Then you take Arrow Video’s new release of the film, which packages it all into a beautifully decorated box, adds in a double-sided poster, a handful of postcards, and an incredible 80-page hardcover book, and it’s a package that’s hard to resist. Especially when you consider the hours and hours of extra features (including a feature-length documentary), and this really is the ultimate version of Crimson Peak. I can’t recommend this one highly enough!

Double Dragon – MVD’s Rewind Collection brings us the Blu-ray debut of Double Dragon, one of the earlier based-on-a-video-game movies from 1994. Now, there’s a certain sense of fun to the film, especially seeing Scott Wolf and Marc Dacascos as cocky young martial arts fighters and Robert Patrick with bleach-blond hair as the bad guy. That said, the film is really kind of bad, but it’s bad in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way. Luckily, MVD Rewind recognizes that cult classic films like this have their fans, and they’ve put together a terrific special edition release, packed with extra features including a making-of documentary, a cartoon episode, multiple featurettes, a mini-poster, and much more. So if you’re an old school Double Dragon fan, this is the disc for you.

Cloverfield: 3-Movie Collection – I’m a little surprised this is being released in February instead of during the more lucrative holiday season, but it’s hard to argue with the value of this collection, which puts Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane, and The Cloverfield Paradox into one Blu-ray set for the first time. For my money, this is a fun franchise that’s not without its flaws. I enjoy the first movie but I get tired of the shaky cam, and the third film starts off weak but gets better as it goes. However, the second film, 10 Cloverfield Lane, is nothing short of a suspense masterpiece, with an absolutely amazing performance by John Goodman. All told, you get three pretty good-to-great sci-fi/monster flicks for one low price, which is pretty hard to argue with.

Kidding: Season One – Maybe knowing that Kidding is produced by Michel Gondry answers a lot of questions. After all, Gondry is well known for his slight, surreal, and sometimes silly films, but if there’s one thing they all have in common, it’s a sense of oddity or weirdness to them. Well, Kidding fits that mold quite well, so it’s no surprise that Gondry’s fingerprints are on this new series from Showtime. Jim Carrey stars as a children’s TV star who’s family begins to fall apart, and with it, so does his sanity. Carrey is good in the lead role, and a terrific supporting cast that includes Judy Greer, Catherine Keener and Frank Langella all add to the overall quality of the show. But do I enjoy it? Ehhh… not really.

Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas – I’ve always found aircraft carriers to be some of the most incredible vehicles ever created. I mean, a ship you can launch a fleet of airplanes off of…? How do you even begin to make that a reality? Well, Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas gives us the most in-depth look I’ve ever seen at what it’s like to be on one of these behemoths. Originally an IMAX release, the film runs almost an hour and takes us deep into the aircraft carrier, while still giving us plenty of action from the deck where the planes launch from. The film has been released on 4K Ultra HD (but it comes with a Blu-ray as well) and it looks and sounds absolutely stunning, at times making you feel like you’re really on one of the giant ships. Very cool.

Scooby Doo and the Curse of the 13th Ghost – Back in the 80s, the 13 episodes of The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo was the last first-run Scooby Doo TV series of the run. Apparently, in the show, they only caught 12 of the 13 ghosts. Well, here we are, almost 35 years later, and we finally get to see the Scooby gang solve the mystery of the 13th ghost! This latest Scooby direct-to-DVD movie is a fun romp with all your favorite characters, and it’s nice to see a Scooby movie without wrestlers or KISS or famous cooks, just good old fashioned Scoobyriffic fun.

Also Available This Week on Home Video:

  • The Guilty – How do you save an abducted woman from within a police station? Well, this Danish thriller answers that question, and it answers it in style. In fact, it’s a masterclass in tension, which is no small feet. I love thrillers more than any other genre, and this is one that remembers that the main goal of a thriller is to, well, thrill. There are no actors that are known here in America but it doesn’t matter. The Guilty will have you glued to the edge of your seat!
  • Mermaid: Lake of the Dead – Another foreign thriller, this horror movie from Russia deals with a murderous mermaid, a forbidden romance, and lots of atmosphere and broody settings. There are some good parts to this film, such as the strong cinematography and the feeling that the film’s atmosphere is exactly what the filmmakers were going for, but I can’t say I really liked it all that much. It’s not a bad film per se, it just didn’t get me excited. I do think there’s an audience out there for it, though.
  • A Private War – Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, and Stanley Tucci star in this biopic about Marie Colvin, an American journalist working for a British newspaper who had a penchant for finding the stories in the most horrible and war-torn places on earth. Pike is — naturally — excellent in the lead role, but the real surprise may be Jamie Dornan, star of the 50 Shades movies. I always found him to be perfectly fine in this movies, but here I think he’ll surprise people with how good he is. It’s a hard movie to watch at times with some unpleasant violence, but Colvin was a fascinating person, making this an interesting film overall.
  • All The Devil’s Men – Milo Gibson stars in this dour action film that unfortunately, doesn’t give him a chance to shine in the lead role. Who’s Milo Gibson, you ask? Well, if you google him, you’ll see that he looks extremely familiar, and that’s because he’s a spitting image for his dad, Mel Gibson. Unfortunately, this film has him playing a character who’s taciturn to the point of being lifeless. I’m not sure if that’s a script/direction issue or if Gibson just isn’t a very good actor, but I thought this movie was pretty much a dud from the get-go.
  • Lu Over the Wall – Okay, so I’m not an overly huge anime fan, but if you are one, you’ll probably find Lu Over the Wall quite unique and charming. The story revolves around a small fishing town that has a wall built to keep mermaids out. However, a young musical band starts playing music that attracts a mermaid named, you guessed it, Lu, who comes over the wall. The film employs several different animation styles, mostly during the different musical sequences, which fits the film but can also be a little disconcerting. It’s an interesting film that I feel like many anime fans will embrace, even if I’m not one of them.
  • Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms – Another anime release is Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms. I liked this fantasy adventure much more than the previously mentioned anime film. This one deals with a young woman from an immortal race who ventures out into the mortal world and finds and adopts a mortal baby, taking him in as her own. It’s a powerful and emotional film, with action and character development in equal measure.
  • Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel: The Complete Season – Okay, if you’re a Power Rangers fan, then this description will probably mean a lot to you: “Madame Odius is still alive and more determined than ever to steal the Ninja Nexus Prism for her nefarious purposes! Now it’s up to the Rangers, with some unexpected help from new friends, to use the power of teamwork to defeat Odius and save the world!” For me, it doesn’t mean much, as I only watch the show occasionally, and then only for review purposes. What I can say was that this collection features the 25th Anniversary Episode which sees the return of the Green Ranger, and even I know what a big deal that is in the world of Power Rangers. Fun stuff if you’re a fan. Or even a Super Ninja fan!
  • Gunsmoke: The Fourteenth Season Volumes 1 & 2 – After just a nine-month wait (compared to two years before the previous release) have a new season of Gunsmoke on DVD. Gunsmoke is one of the most successful TV shows of all time, and it’s not hard to see why. It had a little of everything: drama, action, romance. This truly is a hard-hitting show, a drama that wasn’t afraid to get dirty – and this was in the 60’s during prime-time TV. Before shows like Gunsmoke, these shows were mostly considered stuff for kids of the stereotypical “Cowboys & Indians” variety. While I’ve never been a huge fan of westerns in general, you can’t deny the quality of this historic series. Gunsmoke: The Fourteenth Season is presented in two volumes (as the previous few sets have been) so it’s not a cheap set, but if you’ve been collecting up until now, there’s no reason to stop. Especially considering how long it’s been since the last one.
  • The Comeback Kid & Pray TV – A two-for of John Ritter cult classics hit DVD from Kino Lorber. It’s funny, I’ve heard of both of these movies but I had never seen either of them on TV. Movies aren’t particularly easy to track down, so I’m glad Kino Lorber saw fit to release these. The Comeback Kid sees Ritter as a fallen baseball star who ends up training a team of kids, which is a pretty time-honored trope. Ritter is terrific here and it’s fun to watch him take on such an archetypal role. Meanwhile, in Pray TV, Ritter stars alongside Ned Beatty as a minister and a televangelist who find conflict ion their respective methods. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as The Comeback Kid, but it’s still great to see Ritter back in his prime in something other than Three’s Company reruns.
  • Grand Daddy Day Care – Boy, there’s nothing like beating a franchise to death, is there? The original Daddy Day Care starring Eddie Murphy was a solid hit, and that’s all it really ever needed to be. Of course, a few years later, Universal followed up with a direct-to-video sequel of sorts called Daddy Day Camp. Now we have Grand Daddy Day Care starring… Danny Trejo. Yep, Danny Trejo. This time around it’s a senior group that’s being cared for, so, you know, hilarity ensues. Or at least it’s supposed to. Yeesh.
  • Bernie the Dolphin – This month’s girl-with-a-horse movie takes a turn and is instead a girl-with-a-dolphin movie. Co-starring Kevin Sorbo and Patrick Muldoon, the film is a riff on your basic Free Willy movie, with a pair of young siblings trying to protect the ocean and help their new dolphin friend. It’s pretty lightweight stuff and it’s filled with kids-and-animals cliches, but younger audiences member should find it enjoyable enough.
  • 800 Words: Season 3, Part 2 – This charming Australian television drama doesn’t do anything groundbreaking, but that doesn’t stop it from being highly enjoyable. We’re now three seasons into the story of a newspaper columnist whose wife died unexpectedly in the first season, resulting in him packing up his teenage kids, leaving Sydney, and relocating to a picturesque small town in New Zealand. Honestly, we’ve seen this show a hundred times before, but that doesn’t stop it from being a winner. The cast is terrific, the quirky characters are endearing, and the show gets the tone right. Sometimes familiarity isn’t a bad thing, and this show is a perfect example of that.
  • Paw Patrol: Pawsome Collection, Peter Rabbit: Springtime Collection, Blaze and the Monster Machines: Robot Riders – Nickelodeon has three new kids releases this week. First up is Paw Patrol: Pawsome Collection, a 3-DVD set that collects three Paw Patrol releases: Sports Day, Meet Everest, and Marshall and Chase on the Case. If your kids are obsessed with Paw Patrol (as so many are) this collection is nice because you get three times the pups. Peter Rabbit: Springtime Collection is a two-disc collection that includes Peter Rabbit and Peter Rabbit: Spring Into Adventure, giving you 15 episodes total, just in time for Easter! Finally, Blaze and the Monster Machines: Robot Riders is the latest release from the popular show. This is one of Nick Jr.’s most popular shows, which follows a young Monster Truck and his friends in the world of Monster Truck racing. Of course, there are learning components as well. This show is perfectly fine for the youngsters, if a bit redundant.
  • The Revelation Of ”Lee Scratch Perry’’ – I don’t know much about reggae music as I’m not a fan, but even I’ve heard of Lee “Scratch” Perry. Turns out he’s quite the pioneer in the world of reggae, not only as a performer but also as an engineer, producer, and songwriter. This documentary takes us into the world and history of Perry, featuring interviews with many of his contemporaries and people he’s influenced. It’s an interesting enough documentary, but will be more so for reggae fans.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Space Rocks – This latest collection of the popular PBS Kids series sees the young alien on earth learning about asteroids, meteors, comets, and the like (with a little help from his friends, of course.) There are a few science lessons mixed in as always, and I find this show to be a charming educational experience for young kids.
  • Thai Cave Rescue, Last B-24, Operation Bridge Rescue – PBS has three new documentary releases this week, and it’s a particularly strong slate. Thai Cave Rescue is a 60-minute program taking us into the tense cave rescue in Thailand last year when a boys soccer team was trapped and lost in flooded caves. We get to see how they were rescued, and it’s intensely gripping stuff. Last B-24 sees team of researchers searching for the Tulsamerican, a B-24 airplane that crashed off the coast of Croatia in World War II. I love these kinds of archaeological mysteries, and this one is extremely interesting. Operation Bridge Rescue is less exciting than it sounds — although still an interesting program — about the restoration and a repair of covered bridges in rural New York. As a native of upstate New York, I’ve seen my fair share of covered bridges, so this was a fun one to watch.

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