New DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD release highlights for January 16, 2018
(KUTV) It's a fantastic week for new releases as Denis Villeneuve's "Blade Runner 2049," the surprisingly popular horror yarn "Happy Death Day" and the utterly unique animated film "Loving Vincent" are now available in both physical and digital formats.
The third season of "Better Call Saul," the spin-off prequel to "Breaking Bad," has enjoyed fantastic reviews as Bob Odenkirk continues to entertain as Jimmy MCGill, a lawyer with a questionable past. If you enjoyed "Breaking Bad" and haven't kept current with "Better Call Saul," you might be surprised by how strong the show has become.
As teased above, the highlight of the week for me is "Blade Runner 2049," a film that radically strays from the format of the original film, but still manages to keep the noir elements intact while introducing a new pallet of colors. Those who came looking for an action film were surprised by the pacing of the film, but "Blade Runner" wasn't an action film. seeing Harrison Ford reprise his role, along with a few other surprises, made this journey into the future that much more enjoyable.
It would seem that horror films are back in fashion as "Happy Death Day," a low-budget film from producer Jason Blum, who has become something of a cinematic juggernaut. The plot is fairly simple as a young woman has to relive the day of her death until she can discover the identity of her killer. I prefer the drama of "Before I Fall," but if you're looking for cotton candy laced with dark humor, then this teen-friendly horror fits the bill.
Elsewhere we have "Crooked House," a solid adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel with a cast that includes Christina Hendricks, Gillian Anderson, Glenn Close, Terence Stamp and Julian Sands. It's not nearly as effective as Kenneth Branagh's "Murder on the Orient Express," but Christie fan's will still be entertained.
"Gagster Land" is an overly ambitious drama that maps Al Capone's rise to power. The fact that one of Mel Gibson's sons, Milo Gibson, plays Capone pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the film. I mean, who knew Gibson had a son who was an actor? It's not terrible, but it isn't very good or original either.
"Loving Vincent," however, is good and incredibly original as this animated film was hand painted in the style of Vincent van Gogh. The narrative follows a postman's son as he attempts to deliver a letter that the artist had written for his brother, Theo. Of all the animated films released in 2018, this was one of my favorites.
"The Snowman" tempted audiences with its great cast (Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg) then utterly disappointed everyone with a film so disjointed that its director (Tomas Alfredson who directed one of my favorite films in "Let the Right One In") had to admit that they weren't given the opportunity to shoot the entire script. If you do happen to take the time to watch this, I'm sure there is a drinking game in there somewhere, please try and explain anything and everything about Val Kilmer's performance. He's clearly having an out-of-body experience and phoning in his dialogue from a different astral plain.
Catalog: Studio Ghilbi
Shout! Factory continues to re-release the Studio Ghibli including "The Cat Returns" and "My Neighbors the Yamadas" and "Whisper of the Heart," a pair of titles that Disney never released on Blu-ray.
Other catalog releases this week include "Eye of the Cat," a 1969 horror film about a man with a fear of cats who plots the murder of his aunt who so happens to have a house filled with cats; "Macon County Line," a 1974 thriller about a sheriff who looks to avenge the brutal murder of his wife and "I, Daniel Blake," Ken Loach's celebrated 2016 film about a carpenter who has to take on the system after a heart attack leaves him unable to work.
For the digital crowd we have "Geostorm," a film that wasn't shown to critics (the most favorable review I've heard came from my sister who said it "Wasn't as bad as you might think"), the sadly overlooked "Last Flag Flying," a drama that finds a man (Steve Carell) reconnecting with his Vietnam War buddies (Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne) in order to enlist their support as he goes to receive the body of his soldiier son who was killed in Iraq and "Loving Vincent," a lovely animated film that I spoke about above.