New DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD release highlights for January 9, 2018
(KUTV) This week sees the release of "It," the highest grossing horror film of all time along with the international hit "The Foreigner," warmly-received titles "Mark Felt" and "Marshall" and "My Little Pony" for younger audiences and bronies alike.
Playing off a sense of nostalgia, this new adaptation of Stephen King's "It" proved to be one of the most successful films of the summer. We've seen quite a few horror films over the past few years have nice box office runs, but none of them quite compare to the fervor that "It" did as it became a critical darling and a mainstream hit. Sure, clowns are creepy and that obviously has a certain amount of appeal, but the real factor that set "It" apart is that it was just as much a coming-of-age drama as it was a horror film. Frankly, "It" is more creepy than it is frightening. There is darkness in the lives of the young teens at the heart of the drama, but the clown that torments them is only one of their obstacles. I was more than happy to include "It" as one of my favorite films of 2017.
Americans might not hear as much about Jackie Chan these days as they did a decade or two ago, but he remains one of the world's biggest stars and his latest film, "The Foreigner," was an international success that earned more than $140 million at the box office. $35 million of that came from the U.S. Chan stars as a man seeking revenge after his daughter is killed in a terrorist attack. The film is a little more serious than some might expect, but outside of America he is as known for his dramatic turns as he is for his more comedic roles. "The Foreigner" isn't a masterpiece, but it is a solid action film with some interesting ideas.
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
We've been blessed with numerous biopics this year. Most have flown under the radar as audiences have flocked to theaters to escape the political and social divide that has become
America. Liam Neeson's "Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House" is a prime example of that. Mark Felt is the man known in history books as Deep Throat. The government insider who helped to expose the Watergate scandal that eventually cost Richard Nixon his presidency. It isn't as on the nose as "The Post," which deals with the Pentagon Papers period that came just before Watergate, but it still feels relevant. "Mark Felt" deserves better than to simply be lost amongst the shuffle.
Another film that managed to fall through the cracks is "Marshall," a biopic about the early adulthood of Thurgood Marshall. Chadwick Boseman stars as Marshall, who would go on to become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.
My Little Pony
"My Little Poney: The Movie" managed to pull in $50 million worldwide (and it probably had parents buying another $100 million in toys). The story finds a group of brightly colored ponies who are able to talk coming together to venture outside of the world that they are familiar with in order to save their homelands from an evil presence. It sounds a bit like "The Lord of the Rings," but its ambitions are much smaller. The movie isn't likely to appeal to older audiences (unless you happen to be a broney), but the film wasn't made with them in mind anyway.
Other new releases for this week include "Bad Day for the Cut," a solid, engaging and gimmick-free Irish thriller that I saw at Sundance in 2017 about a farmer who seeks justice after his mother is murdered, "Friend Request," a gimmick-filled horror film that expands the dangers of the internet to include malevolent ghosts and "November Criminals," a crime thriller about a teenager (Ansel Elgort) who sets out to solve the murder of one of his friends.
Two catalog titles of note this week are "The Witches" and "Young Mr. Lincoln." "The Witches" is an Italian produced anthology with five films from the mid-sixties directed by the likes of Luchino Visconti, Franco Rossi, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Mauro Bolognini and Vittorio De Sica all staring actress Silvana Mangano in a variety of somewhat generic women's roles from the era. The title being a play on how these women are perceived, rather than a woman casting spells.
Released in 1939, "Young Mr. Lincoln" comes from director John Ford ("Stagecoach") and starring Henry Fonda as a young Abraham Lincoln. The film follows Lincoln for a decade of his life and includes the lawyer taking on a pivotal court case, tragedy, love and his decision to enter politics.
This week's DVD releases include "Doctor Who: Shada," a rather unusual collection of an unreleased serial that was intended to be part of the Fourth Doctor's (Tom Baker) 1979-80 season, but was never finished due to a working strike. The original footage has now been augmented with animated sequences filling in the gaps that were never filmed. The original cast returned to provide the dialogue.
This week also sees the release of the second season of “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” the popular sketch comedy program that ran on NBC from 1968 to 1973. The second season introduced Alan Sues, Dave Madden and Chelsea Brown into the mix alongside Gary Owens, Goldie Hawn, Henry Gibson and Arte Johnson.
"Scooby-Doo! Batman: The Brave and the Bold" is the latest adventure that teams the Mystery Inc. squad to help him solve a particularly difficult case. This is the second time that Batman has called on the group and the first "The Brave and the Bold" material to be released since the original series concluded in 2011.
Lastly, we have "The Teacher," a Slovak-Czech drama set in 1983 that finds a mean-spirited school teacher the subject of a community's ire, but her connections within the Communist Party makes it difficult for the parents to make a stand against her.
This week's digital releases include "Goodbye Christopher Robin;" an emotional look at the story behind the creation of Winnie-the-Pooh;" Jigsaw," the return of the Saw horror franchise, the fascinating political drama "Mark Felt;" "Scooby-Doo! Batman: The Brave and the Bold," the latest team up of the famous duo and "Thank You for Your Service," an incredibly moving look at life for soldiers when they return home from serving on the frontlines.