Box Office Buz: DVD and Blu-ray releases for January 2-9, 2018
Happy New Year! 2018 is starting off strong and we start with one of the biggest hits of last year, Stephen King’s It. In the town of Derry life is idyllic. Except for the fact that the town has a history of disappearing kids. In the summer of 1989 seven kids will band together to fight the malevolent force that is terrorizing their town and try to destroy it once and for all. But it may cost them everything they hold dear.
Director Andy Muschietti managed to take the first half of King’s classic novel and adapt it into a fast paced, funny, touching and ultimately terrifying new horror favorite. In fact, Bill Skarsgård has become a new generation’s equivalent of Jason, Freddy or Michael Myers with his unique and unsettling portrayal of Pennywise the clown. And the amazing cast of kids is just phenomenal as well. The story is as good as ever, the effects stunning, the performances solid across the board, and the set up for the second half beautifully executed. It is everything it has been hyped up to be so check it out and prepare for the grown-up segment hopefully hitting theatres in another year or so.
Next up is the new Tom Cruise film American Made. Cruise plays Barry Seal, a skilled TWA pilot in 1978 who was drafted by the CIA to photograph facilities in Central America from the sky. But soon Barry finds himself meeting with CIA contacts like General Noriega as a courier and even transporting arms for the Contras and drugs for the Medellin Cartel. His business thrives but as he gets deeper in with everyone involved, it gets harder and harder to ever think of getting out.
American Made is based on a true story and what a story it is. Barry Seal was a man that took chances and did his job well. But he was also great at playing everyone against each other and profiting from it. The movie is a fascinating look into the world in the late 70’s and early 80s and America’s relationships with Central America. It puts the magnifying glass to what kinds of things governments are willing to do and who they are willing to work with to get their way. But Barry’s story in particular is fun, action packed, unbelievable, and captivating. And Cruise, as usual, is fantastic in the role. Cruise, for me anyway, is the consummate movie star. He gives his all for every role and it shows on screen. American Made was much better than I was expecting and is a thoroughly entertaining romp.
Lastly this week we have a new and very different Jackie Chan movie, The Foreigner. Chan stars as Quan Ngoc Minh, a humble London businessman whose daughter is killed in a senseless politically motivated bombing. Quan becomes obsessed with finding those responsible and begins a violent game with Irish Deputy Minister Liam Hennessy (Pierce Brosnan), whom Quan believes holds information about the IRA members who killed his daughter.
The Foreigner is a real change of pace for Chan, best known for his action and comedic roles. But here Chan is dead serious as a father who has lost everything and will literally stop at nothing to find justice. And he plays it extraordinarily well. Chan is a skilled actor but only periodically gets to stretch his abilities. Director Martin Campbell knows his stuff (Casino Royale, Goldeneye) and has created a tense, adult, political revenge thriller that really showcases Chan’s performance and tells an interesting, crackling action packed story with a solid emotional heart. Let’s hope we get more like this from Jackie Chan in the future.
Also of note this week is the 4K debut of James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day, which is significant not just as a 4K release but because this new version has tweaks made by Cameron fixing small production gaffes from previous versions like when Arnold’s motorcycle jumps off that highway bridge and everyone could plainly see it was a stuntman. Now Arnold’s face has been digitally added for greater authenticity along with a few other bits making T2 even better than ever before.
Until next week movie lovers.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday January 2, 2018
Battle of the Sexes
Ong Bak Trilogy
Seven Blood-Stained Orchids*
Terminator 2: Judgment Day 4K
The Breakfast Club – Criterion Collection
The Executioners Song*
*Catalog Blu-ray debut
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday January 9, 2018
Across the Universe 4K
Bad Day for the Cut
Emanuelle and the Deadly Black Cobra*
Intermezzo: A Love Story*
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
My Little Pony: The Movie
The Garden of Allah*
The Tiger Hunter
The Wild Heart*
The Young in Heart*
Young Mr. Lincoln* - Criterion Collection
*Catalog Blu-ray debut