This weekly post will be devoted to going over a selection of new releases hitting the store shelves on Blu-ray, 4K UHD Blu-ray, DVD. Depending on the week, I may even include a few new streaming titles. The purpose is to shed light on old and new physical releases, as there are always plenty of films to catch up with. It could be a new studio film release, a classic or cult classic film title, or even a television release worth paying attention to. Ideally, they will include some extra features as well, whether it’s an informative commentary track or some retrospective documentaries. So continue to see what’s in store for those looking to take home one or more new titles this week.
Releasing on April 17, 2018:
The Post (4K UHD/Blu-ray/DVD)
In the middle of post-production on Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg decided one movie wasn’t enough and he fast-tracked production on The Post. Here’s a film playing as another one of The Beard’s historical dramas, and it just so happens to have themes and storylines that line up pretty well with the current state of America. The movie focuses what to do with the Pentagon Papers and the importance of accurate journalism, in addition to showing how Kat Graham rose up when needed most, despite being a woman in a time when men were running so much industry. With a terrific cast that includes Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, among many others, the sheer esteem of talent involved made The Post an exciting drama to hit theaters, but the relevance certainly helped. The Blu-ray release is solid enough, as it boasts a solid technical presentation, though there are only so many extras to further shed light on the production and the history involved.
The Commuter (4K UHD/Blu-ray/DVD)
Move over Taken, Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra have made their fourth thriller together, and while it’s not a series of sequels, the films have been thematically similar as far as a seemingly normal guy getting caught up in Hitchcockian plots to varying degrees. The Commuter is not quite the best of these films (that would be Non-Stop), but there’s a good amount of fun to be had in this absurd story about a recently fired family man forced to look for a stranger on a train. It ends in a way that literally and figuratively takes the train and the film off the rails, but its serviceable entertainment. Sadly, there’s not enough going on in this Blu-ray, as there are only a couple standard EPKs and nothing else to dig into.
Deep Blue Sea 2 (Blu-ray/DVD)
I can’t tell you anything about Deep Blue Sea 2, as I have not seen it yet. However, when Michael Beach signs up for something, I tend to pay attention. This sequel somehow took nearly twenty years to happen. The cult favorite from director Renny Harlin went through the motions of a B-monster movie that happened to involve sharks and feature an impressive cast. We don’t have anyone at the same level of Tom Jane, Samuel L. Jackson or LL Cool J this time around, but I can only imagine the tone will be comparable. There seems to be a similar premise to go along with the first film, and the Blu-ray apparently delivers a few featurettes and a gag reel. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be excited, but it could be direct-to-video fun.
The Awful Truth – Criterion Collection (Blu-ray/DVD)
Last year saw the release of the screwball comedy classic His Girl Friday. This year, the Criterion Collection returns with another Cary Grant/Ralph Bellamy comedy, The Awful Truth. Irene Dunne is the female lead in this Leo McCarey film, and this was the first time Grant would play into the light comedic persona that essentially changed the direction of his career as a leading man. The story focuses on a married couple who challenge each other on a level of their fidelity. It’s enough to build a series of comedic events around and quite the entertaining film at that. Being a new Criterion release, the film delivers on stellar video and audio presentations. The extras are interesting, as you get a radio play adaptation of the film, along with a few interviews and essays focused on the actors and McCarey’s direction.
Auto Focus – Twilight Time: Limited Edition to 3000 (Blu-ray)
Not quite a classic, but Twilight Time has seen it fit to release the 2002 biopic Auto Focus, which tells the story of Bob Crane. Greg Kinnear, in a truly fantastic performance, stars as the Hogan’s Heroes star who turns to a dark celebrity lifestyle. He teams up with a video tech (Willem Dafoe) and the two essentially get into the pornography business. Things get out of control, only leading to an unsolved Hollywood mystery. Directed by Taxi Driver writer Paul Schrader, there’s plenty to admire about this underseen feature, and now the Blu-ray is out there to provide a chance for more to see it hopefully. Don’t expect too many extra features, however, this is a release best suited for those wanting to watch the film.
A Taxi Driver (Blu-ray)
Speaking of Taxi Driver, Well Go USA is releasing the Korean historical drama A Taxi Driver on Blu-ray this week. The film stars Song Kang-ho, one of Korea’s best working actors (The Host, Snowpiercer), and Thomas Kretschmann as a taxi driver and a foreign journalist who arrive in a city under siege and work to help. Acclaimed South Korean director Jang Hoon put the film together, and it earned plenty of international success. I look forward to eventually catching up with this one, though the Blu-ray only promises the movie and nothing more in the way of extra features.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Season 11 (Blu-ray)
Thanks to various campaigns and the efforts of Netflix, Mystery Science Theater 3000 returned. Jonah Ray took on the mantle as the latest hapless spaceman doomed to watch cheesy movies, along with a couple of wisecracking robots. There’s also Patton Oswalt and Felicia Day as the evil scientists. Shout Factory has seen fit to release this 11th season, which includes eight discs full of the wacky movies chosen for this latest round of ridicule. One can admire the fun sets created for this new season, along with tolerable presentations of the old films. Plus, there’s a documentary going over how this show was able to return.