By Harley Lond - 09/12/17 at 12:38 AM CT
FROM THE BIG SCREEN:
Despite his contentious personal life, Tom Cruise, at 55, is still the golden boy of the silver screen. His movies -- even the flops -- end up making money when you factor in foreign revenue. His latest offering, "The Mummy," part of Universal's "Dark Universe" series re-imaginings of their classic horror films from the 30s and 40s, was a bomb for critics and U.S. audiences alike (16 percent and 38 percent, respectively, at Rotten Tomatoes; a 34 at Metacritic). The "Dark Universe" links all its creatures (to compete with Marvel's universe) via an organization called Prodigium, a research facility set up to destroy evil, run by Doctor Henry Jeykll (Russell Crowe). The first entry was supposed to be "Dracula Untold" but that was so poorly received that Universal made "The Mummy" its first official release in this new universe. The next up: Bill Condon's "The Bride of Frankenstein" in 2019. This "Mummy" doesn't hold a candle to the original, nor the first reboot, the Stephen Sommers/Brandan Fraser outing in 1999, which was scary, funny and very, very clever. This time around, the "Mummy" is a woman (Sofia Boutella). Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is a soldier of fortune who plunders ancient sites for timeless artifacts and sells them to the highest bidder. When Nick and his partner come under attack in the Middle East, the ensuing battle accidentally unearths Ahmanet, a betrayed Egyptian princess who was entombed under the desert for thousands of years. With her powers constantly evolving, Morton must now stop the resurrected monster as she embarks on a furious rampage through the streets of London. There's some nice special effects, but for the most part the monster thrills are lacking. Universal should have left this one in the tomb. Co-stars Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis and Courtney B. Vance. Extras include deleted scenes, commentary and a half-dozen behind-the-scenes featurettes. From Universal.
Also due this week: "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie," the story of two overly imaginative best friends, George (Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch), who hypnotize their principal (Ed Helms) into thinking he’s the hero from their comic books: Captain Underpants. Based on the bestselling book series by Dav Pilkey. From DreamWorks/Fox ... In "It Comes at Night," after a highly contagious outbreak ravages the world, a man establishes a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son within a desolate home in the woods when a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge ... and possibly brining terror. Stars Joel Edgerton, Chris Abbot, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, Kelvin Harrison Jr. From Lionsgate ... In "Beatriz at Dinner," starring Salma Hayek, Chloe Sevigny, John Lithgow, Connie Britton, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass, Beatriz (Hayek), an immigrant from a poor Mexican town, draws upon her innate kindness as a spiritual health practitioner in L.A. Doug Strutt (Lithgow) is a rich and ruthless real-estate developer. When fate brings them together at a dinner party, it leads to a culture clash of wildly comic proportions -- and a night that will change both their worlds forever. From Lionsgate.
THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS:
Before "Woodstock" and "Monterey Pop," there was "Festival" (1967). From 1963 to 1966, Murray Lerner visited the annual Newport Folk Festival to document a thriving, idealistic musical movement as it reached its peak as a popular phenomenon. Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Cash, the Staples Singers, Pete Seeger, Son House, and Peter, Paul and Mary were just a few of the legends who shared the stage at Newport, treating audiences to a range of folk music that encompassed the genre’s roots in blues, country, and gospel as well as its newer flirtations with rock ’n’ roll. Shooting in gorgeous black and white, Lerner juxtaposes performances with snapshot interviews with artists and their fans, weaving footage from four years of the festival into an intimate record of a pivotal time in music -- and in American culture at large. On DVD and Blu-ray, with a new, restored 2K digital transfer, approved by director Murray Lerner, and a new reconstruction and remastering of the monaural soundtrack using the original concert and field recordings, approved by Lerner and presented uncompressed on the Blu-ray. From The Criterion Collection ... "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 35th Anniversary" (1982): To celebrate the 35th anniversary of this modern classic, Universal is re-releasing the film on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. The highlight is a 35th Anniversary Limited Edition, on 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital. This special gift set features premium packaging, includes a re-mastered CD soundtrack of the original Grammy Award-winning album, is packed with over three hours of bonus features and includes a collector’s booklet with behind-the-scenes stories and rare images from the archives. The film will also be available as a DVD, in a Blu-ray/DVD Combo, in a 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Blu-ray and DVD Extras: "The E.T. Journals" retraces the day-to-day experience of creating E.T from behind-the-scenes footage shot by Academy Award-winning cinematographer John Toll; "Steven Spielberg & E.T." interview with Steven Spielberg as he reflects back on the film and discusses his experience working with the actors, as well as his overall and current perspective on "E.T."; "The Music of E.T." discussion with John Williams, and interviews and footage focused on the long-standing relationship between Williams and Spielberg; "Designs, photographs and marketing of E.T."; "E.T." designs by production illustrator Ed Verreaux; "E.T." designs by Carlo Rambaldi; spaceship designs by Ralph McQuarrie; designs by production illustrator Ed Verreaux; production photographs; "Marketing E.T. A Look Back" special insider’s look into the making of "E.T." featuring interviews with Steven Spielberg, the cast, and others intimately involved with the film; "The E.T. Reunion" in which the cast and filmmaker reunite to discuss their thoughts on the impact of the film; "The 20th Anniversary Premiere" in which composer Williams played the score of "E.T." live at the Shrine Auditorium for the re-release premiere; deleted scenes; theatrical trailer.
BUZZIN' THE 'B'S:
"The Ghoul" (2016) is a mind-bending British psychological thriller. Chris is a homicide detective called to London to investigate a strange double murder. Both victims appear to have continued moving towards their assailant despite multiple gunshots to the face and chest. On a hunch, and with the help of an old colleague -- and former girlfriend -- Chris decides to go undercover as a patient to investigate the suspect's psychotherapist, the mysterious Alexander Morland, who has a taste for the occult. The debut feature of writer-director Gareth Tunley, starring Tom Meeten, Alice Lowe and Dan Renton Skinner, "The Ghoul" is the latest standout addition to a thriving new wave of British cinema. From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment ... "The Resurrected" (1991), making its Blu-ray debut this week, stars John Terry, Jane Sibbett, Chris Sarandon, Laurie Briscoe and Robert Romanus. Since the beginning of time, man has struggled with death. Now Charles Dexter Ward (Sarandon), a wealthy scientist, may have found a way to beat it. Using an ancient diary and human remains, Ward begins a terrifying and bloody pursuit for immortality. By the time his wife Claire (Sibbett) hires private investigator John March (Terry) to halt the horrible experiments, it's too late ... the dead have been resurrected. Based on "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" by H.P. Lovecraft. In a new 2K transfer from the film’s vaulted interpositive film element. From Scream Factory ... In "Drone Wars" (2016), starring Corin Nemec, Whitney Moore, Nathin Butler and Sean Gunnell, a small team of scientists hiding in Los Angeles are tasked with the impossible mission of stopping an invasion of drones from slaughtering all of humanity and stripping the Earth of its resources. From Lionsgate ... In "Dead Again in Tombstone" (2016), Danny Trejo is back as the infamous gang leader Guerrero de la Cruz. The devil's outlaw and reluctant servant, Guerrero, returns from the dead again and is forced to protect a stolen relic from getting into the hands of Jackson Boomer (Jake Busey and his gang of soldiers, but Jackson will stop at nothing to raise his comrades from the dead and bring the wrath of hell upon earth. Guerrero must use all his dark powers in order to defeat Jackson and find redemption ... or die again trying. Co-stars Jake Busey, Elysia Rotaru, Dean McDermott, Elizabeth Lavender, Peter Skagen, Michelle Rios and Joe-Norman Shaw. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Universal ... In "The Hatred" (2016), starring Sarah Davenport, Andrew Divoff and David Naughton, when recent college grad Regan goes to a family’s house to babysit their daughter for the weekend, she invites her three best gal pals along. What starts as a girls’ getaway becomes a journey into hell, as the young women discover the house is haunted by a dark and violent history involving a Nazi, his daughter, and an ancient artifact that feeds on fear. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay/Lionsgate ... In "Mamaboy" (2017), starring Sean O'Donnell, Alexandria DeBerry, Gary Busey, Stephen Tobolowsky, Dylan Riley Snyder and Michael Eric Reid, when Kelly Hankins, the heartthrob of Butterhill High, discovers that his girlfriend is pregnant, he turns to his eccentric scientist uncle, whose latest experiment is Adam, a male monkey who has received an embryo transfer and is carrying a baby. Kelly decides to become the first human experiment, but high school life becomes increasingly tough as he has to hide his pregnancy from his family, friends and faculty. From MVD Visual.
ON THE INDIE FRONT:
In "I Love You Both" (2016), starring Doug Archibald, Kristin Archibald, Lucas Neff, Artemis Pebdani and Charlene Archibald, twins, Krystal and Donny, played by real life siblings Doug and Kristin Archibald, have been co-dependent for 28 years, still living together in a converted one-bedroom house. As Krystal struggles to get over her ex- boyfriend and Donny struggles to come to grips with the fact that his new music manager might not be all that he claims, they both meet and starting falling for the same guy, Andy. Fearing the idea of having to go their separate ways, they remain in denial about the fact that they’re both dating him, until he eventually picks only one of them. His decision forces them to confront the fact that they can no longer live the same life. From Magnolia Home Entertainment.
In director Zhang Yang's acclaimed film "Soul on a String" (2016 -- China), a young Tibetan wanderer confronts a series of mystical events and earthly adversity. After discovering a sacred stone in the mouth of a slain deer, Taibei, a young Tibetan wanderer, embarks on a mission of redemption in order to bring the divine artifact back to its rightful home, the holy mountain of Buddha. Danger and treachery await at every step, as black market traders and two brothers in search of vengeance stand in his path. Along the way, however, Taibei encounters a motley band of followers that help him on his strange and mystical journey. From Film Movement.
FOR THE FAMILY:
"LEGO Nexo KNIGHTS -- Season 3" (2017) is a single disc with all 10 episodes. With the evil Book of Monsters destroyed and Jestro, the dark court jester, on an apology tour throughout the Kingdom, the NEXO KNIGHTS have returned home. Due to the Knights’ valiant efforts peace has come again to Knighton. But all is not what it seems. Evil forces are lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to attack the unassuming kingdom. From Warner.
Sixteen years after Buena Vista Social Club sparked a global wave of appreciation for Cuban jazz, captivating audiences and receiving an Academy Award nomination (Best Documentary, Features, 1999), "Buena Vista Social Club: Adios" (2017) revisits the remaining original members of the Grammy-nominated group as they embark on one last farewell tour. The film follows five of the original band members from the first film, as the legendary musicians recall their ups and downs over the years, including award-winning performances and losing many of their fellow band members. From Green Pictures ... "Citizen Jane: Battle for the City" (2016):New Yorkers and others who love the city hold its beautiful and historic Greenwich Village close to their hearts -- but this iconic neighborhood was nearly destroyed by one all-powerful public official in the 1960s. The David-and-Goliath story of the woman who stood in his way and fought to save the heart of Lower Manhattan is told in the acclaimed new documentary, a timely tale of what can happen when engaged citizens fight the power for the sake of a better world. Arguably no one did more to shape our understanding of the modern American city than Jane Jacobs, the visionary activist and writer who argued that urban communities need to be protected from destructive development projects. Her 1961 book, "The Death and Life of Great American Cities," became a clarion call for the preservation of livable metropolises. Director Matt Tyrnauer ("Valentino: The Last Emperor") vividly brings to life Jacobs' 1960s dramatic showdown with the ruthless, egomaniacal construction kingpin Robert Moses over his plan to raze a wide swath of Lower Manhattan to make way for a highway that in theory would rush commuters out of the city to their homes in the outer boroughs and suburbs. For decades, power broker and construction czar Moses had succeeded in transforming the New York City metropolitan area with bridges and tunnels. He also uprooted residents of poorer sections to make way for dehumanizing housing projects and multi-lane highways. But this seemingly all-powerful figure came up against a formidable opponent in Jacobs, who fought Moses' monstrous plans to destroy Washington Square Park and the historic brownstones of Greenwich Village in order to lay his expressway. The film powerfully and movingly shows how Jacobs bravely and nearly singlehandedly took on the establishment and won, not only preserving a precious part of New York, but signaling the triumph of a new, more thoughtful approach to urban renewal nationwide. Marisa Tomei reads the words of Jane Jacobs while Vincent D'Onofrio provides the voice of Robert Moses. From IFC Films ... "Newman" (2015): In 1979, at the age of 43, American asocial self-educated inventor Joseph Newman, living in the backwoods of Mississippi, claimed to develop a motor that defied the laws of physics. Mainstream news stations, and even an appearance on "The Tonight Show", spread the revolutionary potential of his magnetic perpetual motion machine, potentially ending the world's need for oil, gas and nuclear dependency. Instead, as detailed in Jon Fox’s stranger-than-fiction documentary debut, the maverick faced a decades long, and increasingly paranoid, battle against the U.S. Patent Office and the scientific establishment. This film documents a creator’s infinite passion to have his unique invention realized, tragically resulting in his self-destruction. From FilmRise.
FROM TV TO DVD:
"The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Tenth Season" (2016-17) is a three-disc DVD, two-disc Blu-ray sets with all 24 episodes of the saga of Leonard and Sheldon, two genius roommates who are brilliant in the lab, but socially challenged outside of it. Last season, Leonard and Penny went from next-door neighbors to next-door newlyweds with a nuptial excursion to Vegas. This season, they find themselves in a repeating paradigm as they re-create their wedding -- this time with family including Penny’s mother (Katey Sagal) and brother (Jack McBrayer) and Leonard’s parents (Christine Baranski & Judd Hirsch). Meanwhile, Sheldon and Amy move in together as part of an ongoing “cohabitation experiment.” Also, gravitating in their universe, Howard and Bernadette prepare for the arrival of a little Wolowitz, while Raj finds himself juggling not one, but two girlfriends. From Warner ... "Empire Season 3" (2016-17) is a five-disc set with all 18 episodes of the series set in the hip-hop music world. While Lucious (Terrence Howard) launches Empire’s music streaming division, his half-brother Tariq launches a murder investigation of Lucious. And as Cookie’s (Taraji P. Henson) romance with Angelo Dubois heats up, so does Angelo’s campaign for mayor. The Lyon brothers face troubles from the past: Andre still sees Rhonda’s ghost, Jamal wrestles with a pill addiction, and Hakeem’s attempts to find love are interrupted by a surprising family rival. From Fox ... "The Goldbergs: Season 3" (2015-16) is a three-disc set with all 25 episodes and "The Goldbergs: Season 4" (2016-17) is a three-disc set with all 24 episodes of the series about the VCR-loving, mixtape-making, spandex-wearing Goldberg family. For geeky and movie-obsessed youngest child Adam, his wonder years were spent documenting the hilarious and awkward antics of his colorful family. Each season finds the siblings fighting off huggies, snuggies and nubbies and they navigate what it means to grow up as a Goldberg. From Sony ... "Lifetime Scary Movie Set" features four Lifetime frightful films in one set: A woman left for dead by a serial killer seeks revenge. A real-life Manson girl reveals how her communal sisterhood moved from free love to mass murder. A mother's newborn baby is possessed by a vengeful spirit. Two high school girls unearth a centuries-old diary and unleash havoc and destruction. "Stephen King’s Big Driver" (2014, with Maria Bello, Olympia Dukakis and Joan Jett), "Manson's Lost Girls" (2015, with Jeff Ward, Mackenzie Mauzy and Eden Brolin), "Hush Little Bay" (2007, with Victoria Pratt and Johanna Black, and "Devil's Diary" (2007, with Alexz Johnson, Miriam McDonald and Magda Apanowicz). From Lionsgate ... In the final season (10 episodes) of the critically acclaimed drama "Orphan Black: Season Five" (2017), starring Emmy-award winning actress Tatiana Maslany, fans follow the last showdown between Sarah (Maslany) and Rachel (Maslany) -- the clone who’s sought to destroy her and her sisters from day one. Three-disc DVD, two-disc Blu-ray from BBC Home Entertainment ... "Scorpion Season Three" (2016-17) is a six-disc set with all 25 episodes. Inspired by a true story, the series is a high-octane drama about eccentric genius Walter O'Brien and his team of brilliant misfits who comprise the last line of defense against complex, high-tech threats of the modern age. As Homeland Security's new think tank, O'Brien's "Scorpion" team includes Toby Curtis an expert behaviorist who can read anyone; Happy Quinn, a mechanical prodigy; and Sylvester Dodd, a statistics guru. Pooling their extensive technological knowledge to solve mind-boggling predicaments amazes federal agent Cabe Gallo, who shares a harrowing history with O'Brien. However, while this socially awkward group is comfortable with each other's humor and quirks, life outside their circle confounds them, so they rely on Paige Dineen, who has a young, gifted son, to translate the world for them. At last, these nerdy masterminds have found the perfect job: a place where they can apply their exceptional brainpower to solve the nation's crises, while also helping each other learn how to fit in. From CBS/Paramount ... "Silicon Valley: The Complete Fourth Season" (2017) is a two-disc set with all 10 episodes. Season Four continues to lambaste the self-important world of tech. The Pied Piper guys pursue their video-chat app, PiperChat, but Richard (Thomas Middleditch) has a hard time letting go of his dream to put his algorithm to better use. As Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani) flirts with notoriety while Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) looks on in amusement, Erlich (T.J. Miller) searches for his next big break, Jared (Zach Woods) attempts to pivot with the company, and Big Head (Josh Brener) enters the world of academia. Over at Hooli, Gavin (Matt Ross) finds himself threatened by Jack Barker (Stephen Tobolowsky), while Monica (Amanda Crew) struggles to bounce back at Raviga after her fallout with Laurie (Suzanne Cryer). On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from HBO ... "This Is Us: The Complete First Season" (2016-17) is a five-disc set with all 18 episodes of the series that chronicles the Pearson family across the decades: from Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore) as young parents in the 1980s and 1990s to their now adult kids Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Randall (Sterling K. Brown) searching for love, fulfillment and healing in the present day. This dramedy reveals how the events in our lives -- both big and small -- impact who we become, and how the connections we share with each other can transcend time, distance and even death. From Fox ... "VEEP: The Complete Sixth Season" (2017) is a two-disc set with all 10 episodes. In the sixth season, President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is now out of office for the first time in years after her loss in a Senate vote to resolve an Electoral College tie last season. Forging ahead to secure her legacy and find her place in the world, while much of her staff pursues endeavors of their own, Selina and her band of fellow misfits hilariously attempt to make their mark while navigating the political landscape in Washington and beyond. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from HBO.
Check out other September 12-September 18 DVD/Blu-ray releases and reviews at OnVideo.