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Walt Disney’s ‘Pinocchio’ Is Still the Remarkable Tale of Love and Responsibility You Remember

By  · Published on February 1st, 2017

This Week in Discs

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

Pinocchio ‐ The Signature Collection

What is it? An old man asks for a little boy and gets swallowed by a whale for his troubles.

Why buy it? Walt Disney’s classic story about a puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy is every bit as magical, heart-warming, and observant as today’s kids’ fare isn’t. The hero is a little bastard who’s forced to take accountability for his actions, and the lessons continue from the talking cricket on down to the old man who starts the ball rolling. It’s alternately sweet and punchy, and the hand-drawn animation remains more gorgeous than any CG creation. Disney’s Signature Collection pairs the film with numerous extras that look back on every beat of its creation. It belongs in your library.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

Pinocchio [Blu-ray]

The Best

Poltergeist 3 [Scream Factory]

What is it? Carol Anne’s parents wise up and dump her ghost-attracting ass on relatives in the big city.

Why see it? This second sequel to Tobe Hooper’s classic can’t reach the original’s heights, but it’s still a solid and crafty little horror movie. Carol Anne remains the focus, but she’s joined by Tom Skerritt and Nancy Allen to good effect. The film also deserves credit for eschewing optical effects and going strictly practical. The result is a fun mix of in-camera gags and trickery that deliver exciting and engaging thrills. Again, not a great movie, but it’s a fun one that doesn’t get the affection it deserves. Scream Factory’s loaded the disc with interesting and detailed extras too.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Interviews, making of, featurettes, commentaries]

Poltergeist III (Collector's Edition) [Blu-ray]

The Rest

Ballers ‐ The Complete Second Season

What is it? Spencer Strasmore (Dwayne Johnson) is a hard-working financial manager in the hard-hitting world of professional football, and not a damn thing is going to come easy.

Why see it? HBO’s comedy series hits its second season with all its wit and subtlety intact. And by that I mean it has neither subtlety nor wit. There are some laughs, and you can’t go wrong with a show that features Andy Garcia, but it’s far from the kind of series that will be remembered in a few years.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]

Blood Mania / Point of Terror [Vinegar Syndrome]

What is it? A woman works hard to make sure she inherits a fortune, but plans don’t always work out so smoothly in Blood Mania. That’s also pretty much the plot of Point of Terror.

Why see it? The films come from different directors and writers, but both parts of Vinegar Syndrome’s double feature have the same star ‐ Peter Carpenter ‐ and a plot that moves with a slinky approach to sex and deception. They’re low-key affairs, but they engaging watches all the same as fun time capsules filled with music, fashion, and styles of the early ’70s. The scripts are equally calm, but even there we get one or two surprises. VS gives both films pretty face-lifts with this new Blu-ray.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: 2k restorations, commentary, interviews]

Blue Money [Vinegar Syndrome]

What is it? A filmmaker of the X-rated variety faces struggles in his marriage and with authorities breathing down his neck.

Why see it? This feature walks a fine line between softcore and hardcore ‐ we see all the bits, but there’s no penetration. (And all of the guys are sporting soft giblets.) But it entertains anyway by maintaining a legitimate plot between the sex scenes. Our protagonist is pulled by both his family and the lure of money, and it’s a rare journey to watch unfold in this kind of movie. Vinegar Syndrome does their usual solid job with this release.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: 2k restoration, interview, bonus feature The Affairs of Aphrodite]

Don’t Answer the Phone [Vinegar Syndrome]

What is it? A Vietnam veteran with issues enjoys killing the ladies.

Why see it? Well this is a terrifically sleazy little slasher (he chokes his victims, but you know what I mean) with a deranged killer and a pair of cynical but dedicated cops on his trail. Nicholas Worth (Swamp Thing) makes for an imposing killer, and the film devotes time to both his character and to the cops hunting him down. It doesn’t raise the bar for the genre or anything, but it’s a solid example all the same despite the fact that answering phones really never plays into it. Vinegar Syndrome’s new Blu-ray offers a sharp picture and some fun supplements with Worth.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: 2k restoration, commentary, interviews, featurette]

The Hangman: Shepherds and Butchers

What is it? A lawyer is tasked with an open and shut murder case, but he finds that sometimes motives matter.

Why see it? This is one of those movies that is “inspired by true events,” and the result is exactly what you probably expect. The story, one about the impact of the death penalty on those who pull the switch, has drama to it, but the overall case isn’t nearly as engaging in large part because there’s no mystery or real revelation. Steve Coogan is worthwhile as the lawyer though.

[DVD extras: None]

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

What is it? Jack Reacher goes back.

Why see it? I’ma huge fan of Lee Child’s books and the first Jack Reacher film as they combine smart plots, fun action, and great characters. This follow up gets a lot of that wrong though and instead delivers a fairly mundane story alongside action sequences that are mildly entertaining at best. Part of the problem is the jump to include the Major Susan Turner character ‐ the phone relationship was milked across multiple books, but here we jump right to their meeting which diffuses the pairing of real energy and anticipation. The daughter subplot, again from the book, doesn’t work well here as she annoys on a regular basis. I’m still in the tank for this character and for Tom Cruise in the role, but if we get another (doubtful unfortunately) it needs to regain the wit and sharp action of the first.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, illustrated short story]

Masterminds

What is it? A group of fools rob an armored truck company.

Why see it? Zach Galifianakis plays saps well, and he does so again here with support from the likes of Kristen Wiig and Owen Wilson. The end result includes a handful of laughs, but while the story is based on a real robbery it’s easy to see how things were dumbed down for the movie. Jason Sudeikis also shows up in a smaller role an steals most of his running time. If you’re a fan of this cast then you should definitely give it a watch.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurette]

Poltergeist 2 [Scream Factory]

What is it? Carol Anne and her family have moved to a new house, but the spirits follow.

Why see it? Where the third film (see above) moves in a new direction for the better, this first sequel instead tries to ape the original film far too often. The end result is a movie that feels repetitive and lacking in thrills as it instead checks off boxes like most lazy sequels do. The scares are absent, the family’s charm is missing, and poor JoBeth Williams is given nothing to do but scream. Endlessly.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Interviews, making of, featurettes, commentaries]

Queen of Katwe

What is it? A young Ugandan girl discovers a talent for chess that promises an escape from drudgery for her and her family.

Why see it? This Disney-made feature is another “true story” that delivers a small pairing of inspiration and good performances, but it rarely manages more than that. It’s two biggest names ‐ David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o ‐ are both quite watchable, but the drama surrounding the chess and family don’t engage as well. It’s not bad ‐ Mira Nair doesn’t make bad movies ‐ but it’s not as engaging as you’d hope for from a tale meant to inspire and excite.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, commentary, deleted scenes]

Also Out This Week:

The Black Dragon’s Revenge, The Lair of the White Worm [Vestron], Parents [Vestron], Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween

Related Topics:

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.