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US Blu-ray and DVD Releases: Ralph Breaks the Internet, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Mary Queen of Scots, Willard and more

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Ralph Breaks the Internet – I mean, what do I really need to say about Ralph Breaks the Internet? The first Wreck-It Ralph was a fast-paced, fun, original animated adventure with charm to spare, and while it didn’t necessarily need a sequel, it’s not a film I was upset to see one for, either. And sure, the second film expands its scope and is probably more self-aware and pop-culture-reference-y, but that doesn’t make it less enjoyable, it just might not be quite as timeless as the first film. Ralph Breaks the Internet comes to home video on 4K Ultra HD as well as Blu-ray and DVD, but the premium formate 4K is the way to go if you have the capability. CGI animated movies like this — especially from Disney — look and sound amazing, with vibrant colors that seem to leap off the screen and an active, immersive soundtrack. An all-around terrific experience.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant both received nominations for their roles in this drama about a down-and-out-author who finds herself resorting to some unorthodox means of trying to become successful again. So how does Fox reward the film (which was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay)? With a DVD release. And ONLY a DVD release. Okay, I can understand that maybe this type of film wouldn’t garner a 4K Ultra HD disc, but not even a Blu-ray for a film with three Oscar nominations and some truly terrific performances? What gives, Fox. This is a good movie, but I hated watching it in standard definition. So that lessened the overall experience for sure. Not sure why Fox bailed on this flick, but they did and it sucks.

Mary Queen of Scots – Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie star in this period drama biopic about Mary Stuart, one of the youngest Queens of France ever, who took the throne at 16 and led a tumultuous life thereafter. Margot Robbie plays Queen Elizabeth I, and both actresses give excellent performances. That said, even though I’ll watch any kind of movie, the period drama is hands down my least favorite genre of film. This is a well-made movie with great acting, but it’s just not my cup of very royal tea. Mary Queen of Scots comes to home video on 4K Ultra HD as well as Blu-ray and DVD, and the premium format does give the picture a nice little boost, even if it isn’t a game changer. The colors are more saturated and image clarity is razor sharp, so everything looks and sounds nice, but it isn’t a necessity for this film.

Willard – Crispin Glover stars in this remake of the Ernest Borgnine camp cult classic about a young man who has a “special” bond with rats and learns he can make them obey his bidding. And who wouldn’t want to watch a movie with the creepiest actor of his generation and a bunch of rodents? I don’t know, but for people who dig this film, it’s now available on Blu-ray courtesy of Shout Factory’s Scream Factory imprint. And on top of getting the film in high def, this disc is absolutely loaded to the brim with extra features, including several new ones and several archival ones. If you like rats and creepy horror movies, this is definitely the release for you.

Rampant – I’ve kind of been over the entire Asian action epic genre for a while now. I used to like them a lot, but then they started getting longer in running time and more repetitive in their scope, feel, and stories. So I almost paid no attention to Rampant when it came across my desk. But then I realized it was an Asian action epic… with zombies! Well, okay, THAT I’m going to watch. And so Rampant gives us zombies in medieval Korea, which is a fun twist on two genres that have both been played out, and I can dig that. You get swords and wire work and the undead and kicks to the face and more swords… what more can you ask for?

Between Worlds – Nicolas Cage likes to make a really good movie every once in a while to remind us all that he can truly act. Between Worlds is NOT one of those movies. In fact, this is Nicolas Cage in full-on Nicolas Cage mode, wearing a trucker hat, drinking beers, and howling at the moon (figuratively, at least.) And the story, which involves his dead wife inhabiting a younger woman’s body, is nothing to write home about. The film is low-budget and crass, and frankly, I thought out was pretty awful. Avoid this one unless you’re a Cage fanatic.

Also Available This Week on Home Video –

  • To the Edge of the Sky -This is a powerful documentary that’s also hard to watch at times. The movie follows four mothers whose sons are diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disease that is extremely fatal and results in a lifespan that typically only goes into their twenties. We see these mothers transform themselves into political activists who try to change the drug laws to allow their sons access to more experimental treatments that could prolong their lives. It’s an informative and well-made film, but it’s tough to watch anything where real life kids are terminally ill. Not for the faint of heart, but worthwhile
  • Canine Soldiers: The Militarization of Love – This documentary about dogs in the military is an interesting look at how a soldier and a dog become a team, from the selection process to the training to deployment. It’s a brisk-paced program, clocking in at just under an hour, but that actually made it work better in my opinion as it didn’t waste a lot of time and instead gave us a meaty program from start to finish. These canine soldiers (and their human companions) are pretty damn impressive, and this feature spotlights that.
  • The Mole People, The Return of the Vampire, The Vengeance of She – Shout Factory brings us three cult classic genre films from back in the day, all making their Blu-ray debuts this week. First up is The Mole People, a 1956 film which sees three archaeologists stumble across a civilization of enslaved Mole People who live underground. Yes, it’s typical 1950’s cheese, but it’s a fun film and you have to wonder if it didn’t influence Stan Lee’s creation of The Mole Man, one of the Fantastic Four’s first villains. This Blu-ray not only includes some great extra features, but also the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode with this movie, which is like getting a whole second feature film! Next up is The Return of the Vampire, which sees Bela Lugosi return to playing… a vampire. Okay, so he’s not playing Dracula, but it’s still great to see him with pointy teeth and a pale complexion (not to mention a werewolf henchman.) True, the film is far from a classic, but it’s got a nice old Hollywood B-movie vibe, which is fun. Finally, we have the weirdest entry in the group, with The Vengeance of She. Sometimes you have to let the packaging text do the job, so here’s what this film is about: “A young woman named Carol is plagued by hallucinatory voices calling her ‘Ayesha, and is drawn by a mysterious force toward the east. During her voyage, she meets Dr. Smith who accompanies Carol to the lost city of Kuma where Carol is greeted as the reincarnation of Queen Ayesha, the beloved of King Killikrates. Philip is imprisoned and meets Za-Tor who tells him of the high priest’s deceitful plan to obtain the secret of immortality by bringing back Ayesha to King Killikrates. Will Philip escape in time to reveal the truth and save Carol from destruction?” So… yeah. If it sounds kind of bonkers, well… you’re not wrong. But I imagine this is one of those cult films that there’s a select group of people who will be very happy to have it on Blu-ray for the first time. So that’s something!

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