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US Blu-ray and DVD Releases: Lisa Frankenstein, Good Burger 2, Monster, Agonie, and Sesame Street: Mecha Builders

Lisa Frankenstein

April continues its slow start with just a few releases out this week, very similar to last week. But it will pick up! Meanwhile, here’s what you can track down if you’re in need of some good viewing material.

Lisa Frankenstein

The Movie: I was very excited to watch Lisa Frankenstein for a variety of reasons. One, I love the concept of a modern day loose (very loose!) adaptation of the classic Frankenstein story. Two, I love the cast; Kathryn Newton is absolutely fantastic in everything, Cole Sprouse is always a welcome addition to a cast, and Carla Gugino has been one of my favorite screen presences for some 30 years. Three, it’s the latest screenplay from Diablo Cody, who brought us Juno and Jessica’s Body, and who knows her way around a fun, pop-culture-infused script. Four, it’s set in the 1980s, and I love movies set in the ‘80s. And yet, all of that together couldn’t equal the sum of its parts, and ultimately I found Lisa Frankenstein to be a disappointment. The story follows Lisa Swallows, a teenage girl in 1989 still trying to get over the death of her mother. She sort of pines away for a man represented by a bust in a local graveyard where she broods; a Victorian gentleman who she romanticizes in her imagination. When he is brought to life by an errant lightning strike, the formerly dead (and largely monosyllabic) creature enlists Lisa’s help to recover some missing body parts, and maybe form a relationship along the way. Despite all the things the film has going for it (including a great soundtrack and a scene-stealing turn by Liza Soberano, who is the best part of the film) it just never clicked for me. The characters make bad decision after bad decision, I found it hard to root for anyone, and the jokes didn’t really land for me. I didn’t hate the film, but at the end of the day it was just a way to kill time and not a movie I got excited about.

The Special Features: There are three featurettes that run about ten minutes total, a two-minute gag reel, a couple of minutes worth of deleted scenes, and an audio commentary with director Zelda Williams.

The Wrap-UpLisa Frankenstein has enough going for it that it’s still somewhat of an enjoyable watch, and my guess is that a lot of people out there will like it a lot more than I did. So your mileage may vary, but I was just underwhelmed by it.

Good Burger 2

The Movie: It’s always tough to make a sequel to a beloved movie some 20 years after the original came out. Now, I’ll admit, my knowledge of Good Burger is pretty much relegated to a single viewing of the movie as an adult — so, NOT the target audience — and I can’t say I had any particularly strong feelings one way or another about Paramount giving us a sequel. I’ll say this: if you love the original film, then you’ll probably really enjoy Good Burger 2. If you don’t, then I doubt this silly sequel is going to do much for you. The film sees Ed and Dex once again in the burger making business, only this time they find themselves bamboozled by a Super Mega Burger Corporation who wants to replace fast food workers with robots. Obviously, the duo set out to restore balance to the fast food universe. There are cameos by stars such as Leslie Jones, Mark Cuban, Pete Davidson, and Rob Gronkowski, all of which should lead to kids having a fun time with it. Nostalgic adults will probably dig it, too, although I feel like you need to cut it a lot of slack to watch and enjoy it as an adult, as it’s pretty ridiculous for the most part. This is not a film that takes itself seriously (which is totally fine for the kind of movie it is), and some viewers may find that a little off-putting. Annnnnd I might be one of them.

The Special Features: You get four featurettes, an extended blooper reel, a new employee video (like the one you’d watch in the film), and a recap of the first movie.

The Wrap-UpGood Burger 2 is a sequel aimed squarely at satisfying its core audience of younger kids as well as their parents who watched and loved the first movie 20 years ago. As someone who doesn’t fit into either of those categories, it didn’t do a whole lot for me, but the target audience will have fun with it.

Sesame Street: Mecha Builders – The Complete Series

The Show: I guess if you live long enough, you really will eventually see it all, and this DVD set tells me that I’m reaching that point in my life. Sesame Street: Mecha Builders is a show that reimagines three mainstay characters as, well, mech robots. Yep, you get to see Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Abby Cadabby as giant mech robots in a fully CGI-animated series. I’ll be honest, I had no idea this show even existed when I got this DVD to review, so it took me completely by surprise. But sitting down to check it out, I was pretty impressed by it. The show focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) topics rather than more traditional letters-and numbers fare, and the animation is actually quite good. Basically, you get Sesame Street-style learning in a new visual style that is nothing like Sesame Street but features beloved Street characters that your kids will still want to watch. This new DVD collection includes the entire series on three discs; that’s two seasons and 28 episodes total.

The Special Features: While there are no extra features, you do get over nine hours of episodes, so it feels petty to complain.

The Wrap-UpSesame Street: Mecha Builders – The Complete Series is a fun release that will offer up some new learning and entertainment offerings for your youngsters. Check it out, I think they’ll enjoy it quite a bit.


The Movie: Not to be confused with several other movies that have come in the past with the same name, this Monster is a chilling drama from Japan. I’m going to keep my summary brief, as I don’t want to give away any of the twists and turns, but suffice it to say that the film focuses on a young boy who is being bullied in school. When his mother escalates her complaints against the teacher who is bullying the child, we start to learn the truth behind the matter, and its not as simple as it appears on the surface. That’s about all I can say without ruining anything, but I will say that this powerful movie by director Kore-Eda Hirokazu took me by surprise. Exceptionally well-shot and well-acted, the film will take you in one direction before revealing that something else is happening entirely, and I found it captivating. It’s dramatic fare but there’s an underlying psychological thriller feel to it, and it holds your interest even at a little over two hours long. That’s not bad for a dramatic movie in another language.

The Special Features: Aside from the film’s trailer, there are no extra features on this release.

The Wrap-UpMonster isn’t a movie about literal monsters, but the way it uses perspective to show how different people can be perceived as monsters is moving and impactful. Worth a look if you want to watch something that’s got some real substance to it.


The Movie: This 2016 film from Germany marks the debut of its director, David Clay Diaz, who based the film on true events of the murder of a girl he went to college with. The film starts in Vienna with the murder of a female college student. It then follows two disparate young men: a quiet and unassuming law student, and Alex, an ex-military boxer/rapper. As we follow these two men’s stories, we have to try and figure out which of them was the one that became so deranged that they would not only murder an innocent victim, but dismember her corpse and scatter her limbs throughout Vienna. On the surface, that’s an intriguing premise for a film. In execution however, Agonie feels exceedingly long, even at a relatively brief 93 minutes. Diaz relies heavily on atmosphere and mood rather than plot and character, and the result is… well, a moody and atmospheric film, but one that feels like it lacks substance. I wanted to like this one much more than I did, unfortunately.

The Special Features: As is common with IndiePix DVD titles, there are no extra features on this release.

The Wrap-UpAgonie will appeal to viewers who like more challenging fare, arthouse movies, and less narrative-driven visual affairs. For me, I prefer a stronger hand in terms of plot, script, and characters and this one wasn’t for me.

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