Plus 9 More New Releases to Watch This Week on Blu-ray/DVD!
Welcome to this week in home video! Click the title to buy a Blu-ray/DVD from Amazon and help support FSR in the process!
Pick of the Week
Macon County Line [Shout Select]
What is it? Two brothers take a road trip to hell.
Why see it? This mid 70s indie became something of a hit upon release, and it’s easy to see why. The leads are charismatic, their antics are entertaining and unwise, and there’s a playful fun to it before things turn deadly. It shifts into a darkly affecting thriller offering a still-timely social commentary on small town exclusion, gun handling, and travel etiquette. It’s drive-in appeal is clear as it’s a sexy action-romp, but its serious beats land equally well giving the film a lot more weight than its character might suggest. Shout! Factory’s new Blu-ray looks great and features some informative extras.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Interview, commentary, featurette]
Better Call Saul – Season Three
What is it? A lawyer’s journey from honorable to criminal continues.
Why see it? Bob Odenkirk’s Saul Goodman was comic relief in Breaking Bad, but this prequel spin-off has fleshed him out over two previous seasons to reveal the tragedy and pathos informing his character. Season three cements his transformation from hopeful putz to cynical crook, and Odenkirk’s portrayal is as poignant as ever. The show and character are still capable of finding laughs, but the growing darkness is unavoidable at this point. Michael McKean, Jonathan Banks, and Giancarlo Esposito add to the increasingly grim fun, and fans will also have a blast with the abundance of special features on the Blu-ray.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, deleted scenes, gag reel]
Blade Runner 2049
What is it? A replicant-hunting replicant searches for a man who some suspected of being a replicant.
Why see it? Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner remains a sci-fi classic with stunning visuals and thought-provoking ideas on what it means to be human, and now thirty years later Denis Villeneuve’s follow-up seems destined for the same fate. (That unfortunately also includes a poor showing at the box-office.) Ryan Gosling takes the lead here and does great work, but it’s Ana de Armas who steals the show as the film’s heart and soul. Toss in gorgeous visuals from Roger Deakins, a haunting score from Hans Zimmer, and a cranky Harrison Ford and you have a film that may prove to be another classic.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, shorts]
Be Cool Scooby-Doo! – Season 1 Part 2
What is it? It’s new Scooby Doo fool!
Why see it? Scooby Doo and his faithful human companions have seen a few different reincarnations over the years, both on the big screen and small, but the latest nails the original aesthetic pretty well. (More tone than visual, but it’s something.) The Cartoon Network’s revival sees the gang solving mysteries and upsetting plans by would-be thieves and supernatural threats, and while the innocence is long gone the fun remains.
[DVD extras: None]
What is it? A group of strangers compete in a Midwestern cook-off competition.
Why see it? Per IMDB this movie was made back in 2007, and while I’m not sure if eleven years is a record for keeping a finished film on the shelf I’m also not sure that this faux-doc deserved it. It’s not all that good — think a Christopher Guest movie made by Christopher Guest’s local butcher — but there are still laughs to be found from a cast mostly consisting of Reno 911! actors. Some of the biggest laughs, though, come from what amounts to an extended cameo from Melissa McCarthy. It’s not the worst thing you’ll watch on Netflix later this year.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, outtakes, featurette]
What is it? A man is murdered, and his extended family are suspects.
Why see it? Agatha Christie’s among the most adapted authors in history, and for good reason as her tales of murder and intrigue are sharply-written gems. This star-packed feature may not be among her best-known, but it’s a solid tale brought to attractive life. Gillian Anderson, Glenn Close, Christina Hendricks, Julian Sands, Terence Stamp, and others have clear fun with this juicy roster of characters, and the resulting whodunit is almost as entertaining.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]
The Flight of Dragons [Warner Archive]
What is it? The time of magic may be coming to an end.
Why see it? The Rankin & Bass team bring Peter Dickinson’s book to animated life in this early 80s adventure, and it’s a fun, old-fashioned romp for fantasy fans. There are good and bad wizards, but the core theme here is about mankind’s growing disbelief in magic and how that is enough to sap away its power. Nature itself is the easy metaphor here as humanity destroys the world around them in the name of progress, but while the message is visible it never gets in the way of the adventure itself. A fun voice cast adds to the entertainment including John Ritter, Harry Morgan, James Earl Jones, and more.
[Blu-ray extras: None]
What is it? Prohibition brings out the worst in people.
Why see it? There’s an appeal to 1920’s gangster pictures, and one of the best remains Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables. This direct to DVD feature lacks everything that film’s bigger budget brought — cinematography, big-name cast, big action set-pieces — but none of those are necessary for a film to work. What is needed, though, is an interesting story complete with engaging characters. That’s where this film stumbles as well-known gangsters we’ve seen dozens of times before here appear flat by comparison. Jason Patric, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and Peter Facinelli co-star, but it’s too little and too restrained to make a mark.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]
Happy Death Day
What is it? A young woman keeps re-living the same day… the day she’s murdered.
Why see it? There have been a handful of films riffing on Groundhog Day from Edge of Tomorrow to Before I Fall, but this comedic slasher nails the ideas better than most. There’s real character growth here alongside affecting emotional beats, smart dialogue, and laughs. Where the film falters, though, is as a slasher. The identity and motivation of the killer are unfulfilling, and the action between them underwhelms. It generates some laughs early on, but as the film continues it’s clear its best scenes are the ones that don’t involve screaming bloody murder. The good far outweighs the disappointing, though, so it’s definitely one worth watching.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes]
What is it? A serial killer targets naughty women in Norway.
Why see it? Hoo boy, what in the hell happened here? Jo Nesbo’s bestselling thriller comes to the screen from director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In) and starring Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson in lead roles… and it is an absolute mess. Alfredson’s already suggested they didn’t film the whole screenplay, and the gaps are evident with a story that just never comes together as nonsensical jumps are made in the narrative, suspense is absent, and no one acts like a human being. It is filled with gorgeous scenery, though, so that’s something.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]
Also out this week:
Extraordinary, In Search of Fellini, Kills on Wheels, Matinee [Shout Select]
Related Topics: Home Video