Pages Navigation Menu

"No matter where you go, there you are."


US Blu-ray & DVD releases this week: A Quiet Place, Bull Durham, Chappaquiddick, Mosaic and more


A Quiet Place – One of the most incredible experiences I’ve had in a movie theater – ever – was watching A Quiet Place with a full crowd on opening night. I generally prefer to avoid crowds in theaters, but this time, it was a truly transcendent experience. Because so much of the movie is completely silent (or at least with very little sound), the theater was dead silent; people weren’t even eating their popcorn. The only noise that came was when people gasped or screamed or laughed – and it was a magical night. That said, the home video experience isn’t quite as transcendent, but the good news is that A Quiet Place is such a great suspense thriller that it doesn’t take away from the film. I do recommend turning off all the lights and eliminating any extemporaneous noise you can to try and replicate the theater experience, but the bottom line is, you will love this terrific film. A Quiet Place has been released in 4K Ultra HD as well as Blu-ray and DVD, and it looks amazing. The phenomenal sound design works so well in surround sound, and the image clarity is fantastic. A great presentation of a great film.

Bull Durham – It’s not often that the Criterion Collection delves into mainstream fare, but when they do, they do it right. 1989’s hit romantic comedy Bull Durham comes to Blu-ray (and DVD) in fully restored and remastered form and come with a plethora of extra features. Ironically, I had never seen this movie in its entirety until sometime last year; it was one of those movies I had always seen bits and pieces of but never got around to watching the whole thing. But I did finally watch it and now there’s a brand-new version of it to enjoy. I like Bull Durham, but it’s not one of my favorite sports movies (I prefer Field of Dreams and For Love of the Game for Costner-driven baseball films). Still, it’s hard to deny its enduring popularity and I can see why Criterion chose to release it. A terrific release for a well-loved movie.

Chappaquiddick – I guess on the surface a movie about the circumstances at Chappaquiddick in which Senator Ted Kennedy left a young woman to die after his car ran off a bridge might strike some people as fertile ground for a movie. Personally, I don’t know if I agree with that, but with a cast that includes Jason Clarke, Kate Mara, Ed Helms, and Bruce Dern, I was intrigued. And while the cast are all outstanding and the film has good production values, I just don’t think the film is all that interesting. It moves slowly, and while there are aspects that try and play out like a thriller, it’s just not that thrilling. A little disappointed with this one.

Mosaic – From director Steven Soderbergh, HBO presents a six-episode mystery series about a missing children’s book author, which ultimately turns out to be about a lot more than just a missing persons case. Sharon Stone and Garret Hedlund star (alongside a terrific supporting cast), and while the story is somewhat interesting, the biggest stumbling block here is Soderbergh. I’ve never been a fan of his movies or his directing, and Mosaic is a perfect example of why not. Despite a compelling story and a great cast, Soderbergh directs everything like its underwater: poorly lit, softly focused, drably colored, too drawn out, and never as exciting as it could or should be. I think there are people who will really like this show, and I certainly didn’t dislike it, but it didn’t captivate me like I wanted it to.

Lean on Pete – Chloe Sevigny and Steve Buscemi star in this moving drama, but it’s young Charlie Plummer who really steals the show. And rightfully so, as he’s really the main star of the film, and the character around which the entire film revolves. As a young man whose father dies suddenly, Plummer ends up traveling cross-country with a horse to find a distant relative and… well, that’s really most of the plot, actually. This isn’t a movie about plot or action, but rather about character, family, and emotions. It’s an impressive film; not fast moving, not exciting, but engaging nonetheless. And a large part of that is due to Plummer’s terrific performance.

Doctor Who: Tom Baker, Complete Season One – I’ve always been more of a casual Doctor Who fan than a passionate one. I haven’t seen every episode, I don’t know all the aliens by heart, and I can’t say that I really have one favorite Doctor. I enjoy the series, of course, but I’m just not obsessed with it like many fans are. However, I was pretty excited to get this set, because Tom Baker was my first Doctor, the one that I watched when my parents and I used to watch the show on PBS back when I was a kid. So there’s a lot of nostalgia for me wrapped up in Doctor Who: Tom Baker, Complete Season One, which gives us Mr. Baker’s first 20 episodes on Blu-ray (and DVD) over six discs. As a bonus, there’s an absolute treasure trove of extra features, including a brand new hour-long interview with Tom Baker. Yay! This is a terrific set and a must-have for Tom Baker or Doctor Who fans.

Future World – James Franco stars and co-directs this post-apocalyptic riff on Mad Max, and if you think that makes it sound like it’s probably a bit over the top, well you wouldn’t be wrong. With Milla Jovovich, Suki Waterhouse, and even Snoop Dogg along for the ride, the film is… I mean, it’s an odd viewing experience. It’s frenetic and over-the-top and also occasionally uninteresting, and there are some moments of bad writing, but some moments of fun action. Frankly, it’s all over the place, much like Franco himself. Now, I like these kinds of movies, so I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it at all, but I wish it was just a little bit better.

Also available on home video this week:

  • Krystal – William H. Macy has assembled an all-star cast for his newest directorial effort, Krystal. The film stars Rosario Dawson, Nick Robinson, Tip T.I. Harris, Grant Gustin, Felicity Huffman, Rick Fox, William Fichtner, Kathy Bates, and Macy himself. The story focuses on a teenager with a heart condition who meets a much older woman and attempts to transform himself to win her over. There are a lot of likable actors here, and the film certainly isn’t bad, but it’s a bit scattershot and a little over-stuffed with characters. It’s an easy enough watch, but it isn’t as successful as you’d want it to be with a cast like that.
  • Keeping Faith: Series 1 – Eve Myles of Torchwood fame stars in this dramatic mystery series that evokes memories of similar fare like Broadchurch. Myles stars as Faith Howells, a woman on maternity leave while her lawyer husband runs the law firm where she also used to practice. Then one day, he doesn’t show up to work. And then he doesn’t show up at all. And that’s where the show kicks off; where it goes from there is part of the fun of the remaining six episodes. I think Eve Myles is terrific, and this is certainly an intriguing show, even if it never reaches the highs of something like Broadchurch.
  • Endeavour: The Complete Fifth Season – The Inspector Morse prequel series continues with Endeavour: Series 5, a period mystery piece that sees the show set in 1968 this season. With six feature-length episode, this Masterpiece Mystery series delivers the sleuthing goods. I can’t say this is a show I follow religiously, but I do like to pop it in when it comes around on home video. Available on Blu-ray or DVD, it’s a lot of fun. This season sees a dual role for Inspector Morse, a jewel thief, several murders, and the impending closing of Cowley Police Station. As always, a charming show that spans a year in the life of our characters and works quite well.
  • Modern Life Is Rubbish – This fun little dramedy follows a couple who split up after a ten-year-relationship… but who gets the music? While Millennials may not understand owning physical media, people in their 30s and 40s will be able to relate to this story; how do you split up a music collection when it’s been a part of your coupled lives for a decade? Of course, the film isn’t just about music; rather, it’s about these two characters, but there’s no denying that music (both on the soundtrack and in the story) plays a central role. The cast is largely unknown but likable, and I found the movie endearing overall.
  • Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Fifth Season – Watching old comedy is always interesting. While I’m not old enough to have watched Laugh-In when it originally aired, I grew up watching it on Nick at Night repeats as a child. Laugh-In was basically one of the first sketch comedy shows, and it was filled with an amazing roster of talent, although some of the big names were thinning out by the fifth season. Still, this set does include Ruth Buzzi, Lily Tomlin, Richard Dawson, Gary Owens, and many other comedy greats. This season also sees some HUGE guest stars, including Johnny Carson, Johnny Cash, Carol Channing, Bing Crosby, Tony Curtis, Gene Hackman, Rita Hayworth, Hugh Hefner, Bob Hope, Liza Minnelli, Joe Namath, Carroll O’Connor, Vincent Price, Debbie Reynolds, John Wayne, Raquel Welch, and many more. Laugh In may be dated but the humor is largely timeless, and I had a lot of fun revisiting what was a huge part of my childhood.
  • A Ciambra – Executive produced by Martin Scorsese, this Italian drama follows a 14-year-old boy who finds his crime-family father and brother arrested and attempts to step up and prove that he’s as much a man as they are. It’s a film steeped in reality and emotion, and while there are some strong performances and it sticks true to real life, it’s also a bit long. At two full hours, and with the focus almost exclusively on one character, the film’s pacing suffers. I can’t say I didn’t like it, but I can’t say I loved it either.
  • Godmonster Of Indian Flats – American Genre Film Archive specializes in bringing us Blu-ray special edition releases of movies that would need six promotions to make it to cult classic status. I don’t even know where they find these movies, but most of their output (that I’ve reviewed at least) is comprised of movies that look like they cost about 35 cents to produce and will really only appeal to fans of Z-grade shlock. This time around, it’s a creature flick featuring a giant sheep-monster, which is about as terrifying as it sounds. But hey, as a bonus, you get a full second film, The Legend of Bigfoot from 1975, so that gives you some extra bang for your buck.
  • Blue Desert – I never judge a movie until I’ve seen it, but when the official synopsis for a film includes the phrases, “With plot points based on Yoko One’s first art book,” and “this modernist sci-fi offers a dreamy take on new age spirituality and the physical realm,” I have a pretty good idea that this is not a film that’s going to be up my alley. And, sadly, I was right. More a collection of images with a loose theme and a series of dream images than a plot-driven narrative, the film out-arthouses most arthouse films. I like my movies a little more coherent, but there is some neat imagery to look at.
  • PBS Kids: 20 Music Tales – This latest PBS Kids compilation offers up a few hours of musical and musically-themed episodes of popular shows from the network. There are 20 in total (as the title implies) and you get entries from popular series such as Daniel Tiger, Dinosaur Train, Caillou, WordWorld, Wild Kratts, and Peg + Cat, among others. There’s not too much to say about this set, except that it’s bargain priced and can be found for less than $10 pretty easily, making it a pretty great deal for parents with young kids, especially as long summer road trips are dawning upon us.
  • Wild Kratts: Adventures on the African Savannah – As far as kids shows go, The Wild Kratts is one of the better ones. It manages to combine animals and superhero-style adventures into one fun animated series that is both entertaining and educational. The show focuses on the Brothers Kratt, animal experts and adventurers, who use creature power suits to take on the traits of various animals and interact with them in their habitats. The show mixes in humor, action, and cool suit designs, plus it has a good supporting cast of characters that kids will like. This time around, we see the Brothers and their crew visit the African continent and learn about animals like elephants and rhinoceroses. I wish they’d give you more than just two episodes per disc, but they’re pretty cheap, so it’s still a good buy if your kids are into this show.
  • Hotel Salvation – The quote in the press materials I received for this film says, “If The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel had been remade by Ingmar Bergman,” and I have to say, that’s actually pretty accurate. This Hindi-language drama is about a young man who’s elderly father demands to visit a holy city before he dies. While it’s not a good time for the son, he also doesn’t have much choice. There’s a lot of family drama between father and son (and mother and daughter in the same family), and the film manages to keep things light with some well-placed humor. Honestly, it’s not the kind of thing I usually seek out, but I’m glad I watched it as it was fairly enjoyable.
  • FilmRise Documentary Releases – Indie distributor FilmRise has three new documentary releases out this week, led off by the most excellent 24×36: A Movie About Movie Posters. Now, obviously I’m a huge movie buff, and I also have a real love for great movie posters. This film isn’t just a catch-all documentary about them, but more specifically it dives into the death of the art-based painted movie poster in the ‘90s and their replacement with photoshopped poster images, as well as the recent years effort to bring back the artwork-based poster by companies like Mondo. Truly a fantastic film about a fascinating subject. Also a documentary, we also have The Man Who Saw Too Much, about real-life crime photographer Enrique Metinides, who has been capturing scenes of violent crimes and graphic accidents for over three decades. While it is in Spanish and you have to watch with subtitles, this is still a very interesting film. Not to be confused with Uncle Drew (currently in theaters), The Drew: No Excuse, Just Produce is, however, still a film about basketball. This documentary looks at The Drew, a famous pro-am league that started in South Central Los Angeles in the 1970s, and how its grown and changed since its humble beginnings. I’m not a basketball guy, but I found this story worthy of being told.

Next PostPrevious Post

Amazon Prime Free Trial