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Killer Fish from the King of the World Fly Into Our Pick of the Week

Plus 6 More New Releases to Watch This Week on Blu-ray/DVD!
Discs Piranha
By  · Published on July 31st, 2018

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

Piranha II: The Spawning [Scream Factory]

PiranhaWhat is it? Flying fish with murder in their eyes attack a tropical resort.

Why see it? James Cameron doesn’t talk about this one much, but while his first feature effort as a director lacks the polish of later films it’s still more fun than Avatar. The practical fish effects are cutting edge (for 1982), the gore and blood are plentiful enough once the action actually kicks in, and you also get the great Lance Henriksen as a normal, everyday hero kind of guy. Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray cleans up the picture and offers the 94-minute cut in all its glory. It’s ultimately hard to defend the movie as “good” necessarily, but it’s definitely fun.

[Blu-ray extras: New 2K scan, interviews]


The Best

Buddies [Vinegar Syndrome]

BuddiesWhat is it? A young man volunteers to assist a dying HIV patient, and together they make each other stronger.

Why see it? Last year’s BPM is both a fantastic film and a reminder of the devastating toll the AIDS epidemic took on people in the 80s, 90s, and in some places through to today. The flipside of the most recent example, though, is the very first narrative feature on the topic. It may not have garnered the same reputation as Longtime Companion (1989), but it’s arguably even more important for arriving in the midst of the Reagan-era crisis. While AIDS is the backdrop and narrative push, the film works equally well as a character piece exploring the friendship that develops between two very different people brought together in their humanity. Vinegar Syndrome’s new Blu-ray is the film’s first home video release ever, and it’s as important now as it was in 1985. Hopefully it won’t be forgotten again.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: New 2K scan, interviews]

The House of the Dead [Vinegar Syndrome]

The House Of The DeadWhat is it? Four tales of terror rise from a very special funeral parlor.

Why see it? One of my many cinematic addictions is the horror anthology film. There aren’t nearly enough of them these days, and I’m ecstatic when I discover one I’ve never seen, and that’s the gift Vinegar Syndrome has given me here. Even better, it’s actually pretty damn good. The four stories vary — as always happens with the format — but even the weakest is still good fun. Similarly, the wraparound feels obvious in what’s coming, but it still works as the script and atmosphere build a terrific little slice of terror. Also known under the far more confusing title of Alien Zone, this is a pleasantly nasty surprise for most genre fans as it hits Blu-ray for the first time (and DVD for the first time in a long time).

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: New 2K scan, interviews]


The Rest

Cannibal Ferox [Shameless, UK]

Cannibal FeroxWhat is it? A woman heads into the jungles hoping to prove her theory that cannibalism is just an urban legend. Idiot.

Why see it? Umberto Lenzi’s descent into cannibalism checks off all of the sub-genre’s boxes — mean but dumb white people, animal cruelty, hungry natives — but there’s little here to lift it above the bloody fray. Castration, hanging via pierced breasts — the cruel violence is here, but as with much of the gore it lacks a freshness in its effect. There’s not a lot of range in the sub-genre anyway, so if you’re a fan then odds are this will do it for you. And if you are a fan, the new Shameless Blu-ray (region B) offers up a sharp picture and a handful of informative extras.

[Blu-ray extras: New 2K restoration, interviews, featurettes]

Dark Crimes

Dark CrimesWhat is it? A detective investigates a murder with dire consequences.

Why see it? Jim Carrey’s lead performance is as dark as he’s ever gone, and it’s pretty damn effective too. It’s a grim film from beginning to end, and while that in and of itself isn’t a bad thing it’s dour without any release or satisfaction. There’s no life here, just misery, and the mystery itself lacks much in the way of compelling details or resolution. Women come off the worst here as they exist in the shadows or in the sexual fantasies of the men, and there’s little here to enjoy or be affected by.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurette]

Final Portrait

Final PortraitWhat is it? A writer sits down for a portrait by a famous artist, but what should have taken hours instead takes weeks.

Why see it? Armie Hammer and Geoffrey Rush are the two big reasons to give this comedic drama a chance as they bring the writer and the artist, respectively, to full life. The two men become friends, and their conversations and banter are warm, witty exchanges that over time offers an exploration of the artistic process. Tony Shalhoub gives an equally fine supporting turn resulting in a film that leaves thoughts in your head and small smile on your lips.

[DVD extras: Interviews, featurette]

Kings

KingsWhat is it? A family struggles to survive life and the LA riots.

Why see it? Films about Los Angeles in the wake of the Rodney King verdict typically focus on the bigger picture or the cops behind it all, but this drama explores it from the perspective of one foster family and their odd neighbor. Halle Berry and Daniel Craig do good work, but the kids shine brightest as they face more age appropriate troubles as the world burns around them.

[DVD extras: None]

LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Aquaman – Rage of Atlantis

Lego AquamanWhat is it? Aquaman gets his chance to shine, finally.

Why see it? It’s odd watching this after The Death of Superman as the tone here is purely comical. That’s to be expected, of course, as the LEGO films are all about the lolz, and this entry does find some laughs in its jokes about the characters and their interactions. Aquaman’s rule is challenged, and he’s belittled for having such specialized powers, but of course he comes back paddling to save the day. There’s a fun motive to one of the enemies, and it’s a fun watch.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Tully

TullyWhat is it? A tired mother of three finds comfort in her night nanny.

Why see it?┬áDirector Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody have struck gold twice before with Juno and Young Adult, but their third collaboration lacks the wit, humor, and warmth of those other two. There are great performances here from Charlize Theron and Mackenzie Davis, but the film is more than a little draining in its obvious “mom comedy” leading to an ending that’s meant to be inspiring but ends up more than a little insulting. All of that said, I’m clearly a minority of one on this one.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurette]


Also out this week:

Liquid Assets [Vinegar Syndrome], The Miracle Season, Overboard, Star Wars: Rebels – Complete Season Four

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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.