Not a big list this week but a pretty stellar one. Some great TV for every taste, a couple of theatre movies and some solid catalog. These are your new releases for August 30, 2016.
First up this week is the newest film in Disney’s live action adaptations of their classic animated films, The Jungle Book. Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is a man-cub raised in the jungle by a family of wolves. When he is forced to abandon the only home he has ever known, he embarks on an adventure filled journey that will take him to strange places, make him encounter great dangers, and discover his true self.
Disney has been doing these live action adaptations for a while now and have been doing a very impressive job of it. The Jungle Book is no exception. Director Jon Faverau (Iron Man) brings the story of Mowgli to life in a stunningly beautiful film. Full of the best CGI animals I have seen on screen to date, The Jungle Book has all the adventure, laughs, fun and music that you would expect from this classic story combined with a modern edge, a great performance by Sethi, and very memorable voice work for Mowgli’s animal encounters, especially an unforgettable and instantly classic scene featuring the voice of Christopher Walken. The Jungle Book is a real winner and will not only entertain the whole family on movie night but will be one of the best looking Blu-ray’s in your player this year.
Next up is Star Wars: Rebels: Season 2. The hit Disney XD show is back and the stakes are higher than ever. Ezra and the rest of the crew find themselves facing the ever growing threat from the Empire and join forces with a group of former Clone Troopers to help the Rebels fight on against the Empire but their lives may be in more danger than ever when they come face to face with Darth Vader himself.
Star Wars: Rebels, much like The Clone Wars before it, is spectacular TV. Although a very different animation style than the shows before it, Rebels blends kid friendly yet sophisticated animation with great storytelling and detail that will keep the most hardcore Star Wars fan interested. And with the addition of even more characters we are already familiar with including Darth Vader and Lando Calrissian (actually voiced by James Earl Jones and Billy Dee Williams!), Rebels just seems to be getting better and better. And the finale is almost as good as the feature films. Fun, dark, and definitely Star Wars through and through, Star Wars: Rebels: Season 2 is fantastic.
Lastly this week is a personal favorite arriving on Blu-ray for the very first time. Director Alan Parker (Angel Heart, Mississippi Burning) helms The Commitments, the story of a ragtag group of Irish musicians led by the enthusiastic Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) who band together to form a Dublin Soul band calling themselves The Commitments. Determined to make a name for themselves, their different personalities clash as they attempt to work together to bring soul to Ireland.
Alan Parker may not be mentioned right away when discussing the great directors of our day but he damn well should. And The Commitments is proof of that. On the surface it is just the story of a bunch of young people forming a band but in Parker’s hands (and based on Roddy Doyle’s novel), the film becomes a celebration of music, of youth, of Ireland and of friendship. Not to mention it is packed to the hilt with fantastic music and gut busting laughs. The cast are all incredible making such a well oiled ensemble you almost think you are watching a documentary. A few of them even went on to careers in music. But it is Parkers talent for putting together films that perfectly tell stories of a time and a place and of people that makes every level of The Commitments work so well. This is a brilliant flick that should be treasured and it is about time it showed up on Blu-ray. I couldn’t be happier. Highly recommended.
Also of note this week is the acclaimed drama Me Before You starring Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones, and the equally praised AMC series The Night Manager with Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie.
Until next week movie lovers.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday August 30, 2016
Arrow: The Complete Fourth Season
Chicago Fire: Season Four
Chicago Med: Season One
Chimes at Midnight* - Criterion Collection
Code of Honor
Criminal Minds: The Eleventh Season
Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Twelfth Season
Me Before You
Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Series 1-3 Collection
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Everypony’s Favorite Frights
NCIS: Los Angeles: The Seventh Season
Pound Puppies: Halloween at Shelter 17
Shameless: The Complete Sixth Season
Star Wars: Rebels: Season 2
The Beatles: Scream and Shout
The Bloodstained Butterfly*
The Halloween Tree
The Immortal Story* - Criterion Collection
The Jungle Book
The Night Manager
Top Gear USA: Season Five
Walking Dead in the West
*Catalog Blu-ray debut
A film fan since he was a wee child and received a full sized Terminator movie poster as a gift, Bill lives for movies. An avid collector of Blu-ray and DVD (and VHS, Beta, and Laserdisc before that), Bill also has his own review site, Fountain Pop.com and has recently completed his first horror novel, 10 Minutes from Home. Bill is often a crusader for the films that no one likes or no one has heard of(he loves Ishtar, Superman Returns, the Star Wars prequels and almost all of the horror remakes...) and just wants everyone to share their love for movies instead of spreading their hate for them.