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US Blu-ray & DVD releases this week: Peter Pan, Gringo, South Park and more


Peter Pan: 65th Anniversary Signature Edition – Making a return to Blu-ray (with a digital copy this time around), Peter Pan is out in an all-new 65th Anniversary Edition. I’ll be honest; I’ve never really been a big fan of Peter Pan. It’s not even the Disney movie in particular (although I’m not a giant fan of that, either), but the character as a whole has just never captured my imagination. Clearly, though, this is classic Disney animation, and the new Peter Pan: Anniversary Edition celebrates that in style. It’s one my kids enjoy, and at least if I have to watch it again, I’m glad it’s available in such an impressive edition. You get the film on Blu-ray and DVD, a ton of archival extra features, and a couple of new ones. Disney knows how to do a great release for a classic film, and this is one of those. I just wish I liked the movie more.

Gringo – Boy, I really wanted to like this movie. David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron, and Joel Edgerton are all actors I really enjoy, and the film looked like it could be a funny black comedy with some action mixed in. Unfortunately, it’s none of the above. Here’s a clue to filmmakers: black comedy doesn’t mean that you have to fill your movie with characters who are all completely abhorrent people. There isn’t a single character to like in this film, with the exception of maybe David Oyelowo, but even he’s a little too clueless to get behind. The laughs are non-existent the film has a real nasty streak, and a game cast can’t save a dreary film. This one’s a big disappointment.

Satellite Girl and Milk Cow – Okay, I’ve been pretty vocal about the fact that I can be hit or miss with most anime films, even the acclaimed Studio Ghibli movies. This South Korean film was clearly inspired by the Ghibli works, but it’s strange even by those standards. From the cover art: “An out-of-commission satellite transforms into Satellite Girl. Meanwhile, a loser twenty-something at a café open mic is turned into a farm animal. Aided by the wise and powerful Merlin – a wizard who has been turned into a roll of toilet paper – our duo must evade the all-consuming incinerator monster, the wily pig witch, and other nefarious adversaries in an attempt to be together.” Soooo… yeah. It’s an oddball film, but there is a cute love story at the center of it, so while I can’t say I loved it, there are moments that charmed me. Anime fans will find a lot to like.

Also available on Blu-ray & DVD this week:

  • South Park: The Complete Twenty-First Season – I’ve never been a big South Park fan (Season 21 is out on Blu-ray and DVD this week. 21 Seasons… Holy cow!!), but I always give it a try when it comes out on DVD (or in this case, Blu-ray) to see what I’ve been missing. Everyone goes on about how great their parodies are, but I’ve never found the show that funny. And, well, I still don’t. They get their parodies on the air quick, but the show is still mostly just construction paper-looking cutouts of kids swearing. Yay. I may not get this show, but fans will be happy to have another season’s worth of episodes to revisit. And hey, I guess that’s a good thing. Relatively.
  • The Last Ship: Season 4 – One of my favorite shows of the last few years returns to home video. Now, I’ll admit, I’m already a huge fan of anything that takes place in a dystopia or post-apocalyptic situation. And while this show doesn’t quite get that far, it does take place as a virus is killing off 95% of the world’s population. We follow the crew of a Navy ship that is based on one of the last unaffected places on earth: a Naval ship. While the show has ventured out beyond the walls of just the Navy vessel, this show is still fantastic. It plays out like a big-budget blockbuster every week, yet still takes the time to give you characters you’ll really enjoy watching. A smart, tense, thriller in serialized format, I can’t recommend this show highly enough.
  • Oh Lucy! – Josh Hartnett’s face is on the cover, but it’s lead actress Shinobu Terajima whom Oh Lucy revolves around. The story involves an Asian woman taking an English class who takes on an ater ego (the titular Lucy) and falls for her instructor (Hartnett), who then abruptly returns to America, prompting her to follow him. That’s the nutshell version of what is a moving dramedy by writer-director Atsuko Hirayanagi, who is clearly a talent to watch. The film evokes loneliness, ennui, charm, and romance and manages to feel fresh and unique. It’s not for everyone, and it has its quieter moments, but it’s an engaging film with its own voice, which is commendable.
  • RWBY: Volume 5 – From the creators of the hit web series Red Vs. Blue comes RWBY: Volume 5, a new entry in the anime franchise that some fans love, some don’t, and I remain somewhere in the middle on. With a mix of CGI (that looks like CGI) and CGI (that looks like traditional hand-drawn animation), it isn’t the most polished film in the world, but it’s still an entertaining enough film the fourth time around. There’s definitely been a lot of improvement in both the animation and the voice acting since the first entry in the series. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the franchise, but I also sit down and watch each time a new installment comes out, so clearly I’m a little bit interested.
  • Altered Perception – TV’s Jon Huertas (This is Us, Castle) stars in this sci-fi thriller about three couples undergoing drug trials to try a new drug which is supposed to improve empathy and emotional understanding, but as you can imagine, things don’t go 100% smoothly. This is a relatively low-budget indie film, but it works more often than not. Key to that is Huertas, who’s always a welcome presence and really digs into his character. Some of the other performances aren’t quite as good, but the script does a good job of keeping multiple stories weaving together seamlessly. It’s a flawed but enjoyable film.
  • PBS Frontline: Weinstein – If there’s a poster child for the #metoo movement, it’s Harvey Weinstein, the man who almost single handedly kicked off the social awareness campaign through his actions over the past few decades in Hollywood. This hour-long special delves into the many allegations against Weinstein and lays out how he behaved in Hollywood and how it was covered up for so many years. It’s a sobering special, but it’s well worth watching.

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