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US Blu-ray & DVD releases this week: Jurassic Park 25th Anniversary Collection, Game Night and more


Jurassic Park: 25th Anniversary Collection – Just in time for the theatrical release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in theaters, Universal has put out a fantastic collection of the previous four Jurassic Park Films. This set includes each movie in the premium 4K Ultra HD format, each film on Blu-ray, and each film via digital copy. You also get all of the extra features available for each film (which is hours and hours’ worth), and it’s all packaged in a terrific book-style box/package. Now, if you already own all of the films, the attraction here is the chance to get the first three films in 4K Ultra HD. Is it worth the upgrade? Well, sort of. To be honest, the visual portion of the films isn’t as much of an upgrade as you might want. The films look great, certainly no worse than on Blu-ray, but there isn’t a huge improvement in picture quality, although the colors are a bit more vibrant. Jurassic World shines in 4K, but it was already available in 4K. Still, if you’re just looking to get all 4 films in one spot, whether it’s for the Blu-rays or the 4K discs, this is a terrific collection. Plus, you know, the Jurassic Park films… they’re awesome.

Game Night – I didn’t have high hopes for Game Night, as the trailer didn’t do much for me and I’m pretty burned out on Jason Bateman playing the exact same character in the last 74 films he’s been in. And once again, here he plays the frustrated-yet-slightly-arrogant husband, so there’s nothing new here. However, the film is more of an ensemble, with really game turns from Kyle Chandler and New Girl’s Lamorne Norris, Rachel McAdams showing her comedy chops, and relative unknown Sharon Horgan stealing the scenes she’s in. Plus, Friday Night Lights alum Jesse Plemons has the funniest role in the film. The movie is a straight mash-up of Michael Douglas’s The Game and Steve Carell and Tina Fey’s Date Night, and it’s not a slam dunk, but it’s at least enjoyable. Worth a watch, but ultimately forgettable.

Also available this week on Blu-ray & DVD:

  • East West 101: Series 2 – Don Hany, Gerald Lepkowski, and Susie Porter deliver searing performances as Australian police partners (and their boss) who have to deal with different personal backgrounds. Much of the conflict comes from Hany’s character Zane Malik being a devout Muslim in the post-9/11 world. But of course, that all come secondary to being a police detective, and in that all of these characters excel. I didn’t know much about the Muslim community in Australia, and while I’m sure some of what is shown here has a fictional bent to it, it does give an insight into a section of the world we know little about. This second season set collects the next six episodes of the show and is an excellent binge watch.
  • Detectorists: Series 3 – Toby Jones and Mackenzie Crook return in this British comedy series about two metal-detecting aficionados. Diana Rigg joins the cast as one of the characters’ mother, and she’s a welcome addition to the cast. This show is one of those quirky comedies that isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but it is charming and will elicit a good number of chuckles. I wouldn’t have thought you could make a show about two guys with metal detectors looking for gold and have it run for three seasons, but they’ve pulled it off and it works.
  • The Two of Us – This French language film makes it’s Blu-ray debut with a 50th anniversary edition that includes some nice extra features. I was not familiar with this film at all, but it’s a moving, touching story of an 8-year-old boy living in Nazi-occupied France during World War II who is sent to live with a catholic family for his own safety. From there, the boy develops a relationship with a grandfatherly figure which forms the crux of the narrative. The movie was directed by Clade Perri, but it’s the chemistry between young Alain Cohen and the elder Michael Simon that makes the film work so well. This isn’t the kind of film I’d seek out, but I’m really glad it came across my desk.
  • Paws P.I. – This is one of those films where I have to put my “kids cap” on. Which means, if I address this story of a detective dog voiced by Jon Lovitz as he helps his human find a will with the help of a poodle and a parrot, it’s not exactly high art. But as a film for kids it works pretty well. Actually, it’s not bad a s a family movie. While parents won’t be blown away by it, it’s not the kind of film that’s so bad that only kids can like it. It’s pretty typical family fare, with some obvious humor, a weak script, cute animals, and just enough peril to be exciting to little kids. Worth a watch for the younger set.

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