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US Blu-ray and DVD Releases: The Boogeyman, Loki, Yellowjackets, What’s Love Got to Do With It?, Natural Born Killers and more

NATURAL BORN KILLERS, Juliette Lewis, Woody Harrelson, 1994

This isn’t the week for huge blockbuster releases, but we do get some new horror offerings for the Halloween month as well as some familiar catalog and television titles. Read on to see what’s hitting shelves this week!

The Boogeyman

The Movie: I’ve become disenfranchised with most horror movies lately. I’m most definitively not a fan of the “elevated horror” genre (movies like Hereditary and Midsommar), I find too many slasher films have been reduced to just excessive blood and guts (a little restraint goes a long way in my book), and traditional horror flicks have become all about loud jump scares and very little substance. So I watch them more out of habit and review-duty than anything else these days. Which is what made The Boogeyman so surprising; it was a lot better than I expected it to be. Based on a Stephen King story (that absolutely terrified me when I read it as a young teenager), the film’s story is pretty simple. In places of great loss, the Boogeyman finds his way into people’s lives and begins haunting them until he literally scares them to death and feeds on their souls. What I like about the film is that it doesn’t rely on jump scares or blood and gore, instead, it creates a creepy, dark atmosphere that just builds the tension throughout. Add to that great central performances from Chris Messina (who is always terrific), Sophie Thatcher, and young Vivien Lyra Blair, and the film kept me decently creeped out for 90 minutes while also giving me characters I could care about. I was very pleased with The Boogeyman.
The Special Features: Not a ton, but you get a making-of featurette and some outtakes.
The Wrap-Up: While not a full-on classic, in a genre littered with mediocre and terrible films nowadays, The Boogeyman was an enjoyable horror flick that got a lot right for my money. It’s definitely worth a watch this Halloween season!

Loki: Season 1

The Show: I think it’s safe to say that Marvel’s television output up to now has been… pretty good. Most of their shows haven’t totally blown me away, but none of them have been complete train wrecks, either. I’ve liked most of them, even if I haven’t loved all of them. Loki was one of the standouts of the first wave of Marvel/Disney+ shows, however. The show sees Loki come before the Time Variance Authority, who is out to punish the God of Lies for his mucking about with the timestream. However, things quickly go sideways and Loki finds himself hopping around from time to time and place to place, playing the part of both hero and trickster. Over the course of six episodes, the show gives us a great mix of action, spectacle, superheroes, comedy, and drama, and it’s all anchored by Tom Hiddleston’s fantastic performance. Aside from Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, I can’t think of any other single character in the MCU that’s cast as perfectly as Tom Hiddleston as Loki. Now the first season has been collected in a terrific new Steelbook collection that gives you all six episodes and bonus features in a stylish Steelbook case.
The Special Features: Already a great-looking set, you also get some nice bonus features, including a feature-length making-of documentary, a look at designing the set of the TVA, a gag reel, deleted scenes, the full TVA orientation video, and a set of physical art cards inside the case!
The Wrap-Up: With Loki: Season Two upon us, now is a great time to revisit the first season as a refresher. Sure, you can stream the episodes, but for those collectors among us, this new Steelbook set is a great piece to have on your shelf.

He-Man & The Masters of The Universe: The Complete Series

The Show: I grew up watching the original He-Man cartoon and I always loved it, so I’m always open to anything that keeps the world of Eternia in the public eye. The first reboot series back in the early 2000s was absolutely fantastic, and so I was excited for this new iteration. Launching on Netflix in 2021, the show ran for three short seasons, totaling 26 episodes, which are all collected in this new DVD set from Mill Creek. The show took the original He-Man concept and tweaks it for a new audience and a new age, using fully CGI animation for the first time, and also aiming for a younger audience instead of a nostalgic older audience like the previous show did. And I know a lot of adult fans bristled at that, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with making a cartoon show for kids. The best way to get He-Man to live on is to get new generations of kids interested in him. Did I love the cartoony, exaggerated style of the show? Not really, but it didn’t bother me enough to find the show unenjoyable. I think He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is a fun show that both kids and open-minded adults can enjoy.
The Special Features: It’s super disappointing but sadly there are no extras on this set.
The Wrap-Up: While it’s not the greatest He-Man show ever, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe could have been a fun show for younger kids to enjoy had it lasted more than 26 episodes. Still, this nice new DVD set will allow you to revisit the show whenever you (or your kids) would like.

Yellowjackets: Season Two

The Show: Even two seasons in, there’s no easy way to describe Yellowjackets. I will say if you like things like Twin PeaksPretty Little LiarsRiverdaleLord of the Flies, and Lost, it might just be up your alley. The show is set in two time periods: in the earlier time period, it follows a high school girls’ soccer team whose plane crashes in the mountains. As the girls struggle for survival, things start to get more and more intense, and the inner lives of the girls start to become more outer. Things also get kind of… weird. In the second, current time period, the show then flashes forward to the events that are happening 25 years later, where the remaining survivors started receiving mysterious messages in the first season. All of it ties together, but how? That’s what the show explores with every episode. Now, I suspect that the odd nature of the show is part of the appeal for a lot of viewers, but it occasionally gets more weird and melodramatic than might be necessary. Then again, that also leads to some of the show’s biggest surprises and juiciest moments. The script is sharp and the performances are strong across the board, in both the young cast and the older adult cast, and the show will get you hooked pretty quickly. As a Showtime series, the show isn’t available on many streaming services outside of Showtime, so this new 4-disc DVD set is a great way to catch up on the second season if you’ve been waiting for it to hit home video.
The Special Features: There’s a making-of documentary, short featurettes for each episode, and an Alan’s Morissette music video.
The Wrap-UpYellowjackets is that perfect kind of television show that combines a central mystery, strong characters, and great performances to keep viewers hooked. Will it probably run up against a wall at some point where it should naturally come to an end? Probably. We’ll see if the show runs its course or overstays its welcome, but in the meantime, it’s still going strong.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

The Movie: Period-drama Elizabeth director Shekhar Kapur branches out into rom-com territory with the new film What’s Love Got to Do With It, a fun and endearing film that looks at love in the modern age. Lily James plays Zoe, a young woman who has been unlucky in love up until now. Her best friend, Kaz, tired of struggling with dating, decides to give in to his parents’ wishes and go with an arranged marriage, much to Zoe’s surprise. Zoe decides to document Kaz’s journey on film and finds herself thinking differently about love as a result. Now, this isn’t exactly brand new ground for a romantic comedy, but as I always say about rom-coms, I don’t care if we’ve seen it a thousand times before, as long as it’s done in an entertaining way. And in that, WLGTDWI delivers in spades. James is joined by a terrific ensemble cats, including Shazad Latif (who was excellent in the first season of Star Trek: Discovery) and the always-magnificent Emma Thompson. There are plenty of big laughs, all while also giving us characters we can get invested in and warming our hearts at the same time.
The Special Features: You get a making-of featurette and the film’s trailer. Better than nothing, I guess.
The Wrap-Up: I don’t ask a lot out of my romantic comedies, and yet often I’m still disappointed. What’s Love Got to do With It manages to feel fresh and energetic, even while being relatively formulaic, and that’s a real treat. Definitely worth a watch.

Natural Born Killers (4K Ultra HD)

The Movie: Oliver Stone has always been a controversial filmmaker, which for the most part, I couldn’t care less about. I don’t really get into film controversies; I either a movie or I don’t. And Stone has been incredibly hit or miss for me over his career. On the one hand, he made Wall Street, one of my favorite movies of all time. On the other hand, he made Natural Born Killers, which makes its 4K Ultra HD debut this week and is a film that I just do not like. The movie sees Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis as a couple who go on a robbing and killing spree, kind of like a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde. Then crooked cops, politicians, and the media get involved, and the whole thing is Stone’s treatise on American society’s gleeful consumption of bad news and the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality. Personally, I find the film incredibly unpleasant to watch. There are no good, likable characters in the entire film; the filmmaking technique, which utilizes all sorts of different kinds of camera, film, and aesthetics, is jarring and disjointed; and the film is just a noisy, violent mess, in my opinion. Still, the movie has its fans, and for those people, this new 4K Ultra HD edition from Shout Factory is a pretty terrific package, loaded with multiple cuts of the film and copious extra features.
The 4K Audio/Video: This is a hard film to judge on an A/V standpoint. I’ll actually start with the audio, as the surround soundtrack is impeccable. It fills your speakers with action, bringing the events of the film to life in a way that will fill the room with directional effects. Add in a nice, booming bass channel and clean and clear dialogue, and the soundtrack is the star. The transfer is just hard to make out. With the varying film stocks that Stone uses, some scenes are intentionally grainy and fuzzy, some are razor sharp, and some fall somewhere in between. It’s hard to tell what’s the source material and what’s the 4K transfer, but overall I’ll say that I think it captures well how the film is supposed to look.
The Special Features: This is where this release really shines. It’s a three-disc set, giving us the Director’s Cut of the film on 4K, the Director’s Cut on Blu-ray, and the theatrical cut on Blu-ray. Then there are two new interview featurettes with the producer and co-editor. On top of that, there’s an audio commentary with Oliver Stone, an Introduction by Oliver Stone, three making-of features that run for about an hour total, deleted scenes with intros by Oliver Stone, and an Alternate Ending (also with an intro by Stone). Not much to complain about here!
The Wrap-UpNatural Born Killers is, I suspect, largely a love-it-or-hate-it film. Sadly, I’m not in the “love it” camp, but your mileage may vary. And if you are a fan of the movie, it’s hard to deny what a terrific home video release Shout Factory has put together for you.

RWBY: Volume 9

The Show: When I review RWBY home video releases, I usually point out that the show is from the creators of the hit web series Red Vs. Blue. However, I think at this point, RWBY has become so much moe popular than Red Vs. Blue ever was that I don’t think people need that reference point anymore. Heck, RWBY even had a crossover animated movie with the Justice League earlier this year! It’s pretty mainstream. Continuing the show’s popular home video releases, this week we get a Blu-ray release of RWBY: Volume 9. This latest entry in the hit anime franchise collects all 10 episodes of Season 9, and while I can’t say I’m a die-hard fan of the franchise, I do sit down and watch each time a new home video release comes out. The show definitely builds on its own continuity, so I don’t know that you can just jump right into things with Volume 9. That said, though, this season might be a more accessible jumping-on point as we start things off with Ruby, Yang, Weiss, and Belladonna trapped in a different land called Ever After. So this season definitely has a different feel than the ones I’ve watched before (which is far from all of them.) I suspect hardcore fans will be split on this season, but it does look like they are setting things up for a big paradigm reset if/when Season 10 happens.
The Special Features: There’s a decent number of extra here, including an audio commentary with the filmmakers, a script-to-screen breakdown feature, two featurettes, and art gallery, and a roundtable discussion with the crew.
The Wrap-Up: I’m not the biggest anime fan in the world and so I’m really just a casual watcher of RWBY when it comes time to review it. I found this season’s new direction intriguing, but I wonder how longtime fans will feel about it.

Creepy Crawly

The Movie: This new Thai horror/creature flick uses events of the past few years as a base, set during the pandemic and using people quarantining as a launching point. In the height of the pandemic, a group of people in Thailand are forced to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days. Unfortunately, they start disappearing one by one, not at the hands of a human but rather at the hands of a giant centipede-like monster. Now, that’s a hard concept to argue with, as I do like a good creature flick. Creepy Crawly is… well, just an okay creature flick. On the one had, the monster is quite inherently terrifying, although the use of CGI occasionally leaves it feeling a little too fake. But the film’s big problem is the characters, who are mostly unlikable. While there are some decent kills, it’s hard to get invested in anyone surviving and even more annoying when the story focuses on a backstory we just don’t care about. I’ve seen better, and I’ve seen worse, and ultimately Creepy Crawly is just so-so.
The Special Features: A making-of would have been nice, but this disc is devoid of extras.
The Wrap-Up: If you’re bored and looking for a giant-bug-kills-people kind of movie, you could do worse than Creepy Crawly. However, it’s probably not going to overly impress anyone, either. Perfect for a night when there’s nothing better on.

Between Two Worlds

The Movie: There’s a lot of backstory needed to understand what’s behind this French drama starring international star Juliette Binoche. The film is based on a book by a woman named Florence Aubenas, who effectively went undercover for several months to learn how people were getting by during the country’s economic crisis. She portrayed herself as a day worker, taking menial jobs, and then wrote a book about her experiences. Binoche plays a renamed character (but still a version of Aubenas) in the film, which explores how the writer changed her life, adapted to working labor jobs, and how she wanted to make people’s plights known to the public. Binoche plays against her usual, more glamorous type by getting in the trenches here, and not surprisingly, she turns in a very strong performance. The film itself is solid; I found it a bit slow at some points, but very compelling in others. I don’t mind social commentary in my films and this one doesn’t try to hide it, and the end result is a decent movie that falls short of being memorable.
The Special Features: There are no extra features on this disc.
The Wrap-UpBetween Two Worlds tells an important story about people whose lives probably don’t get much attention in the world, and that’s a good thing. I can’t say I was blown away by it, but it was a decent enough watch.

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