New DVD, Blu-ray and digital release highlights for the week of April 17, 2018
(KUTV) At first glance, this week might feel like it is missing a blockbuster release, but between the DVD/Blu-ray release of Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” and the Digital release of “Peter Rabbit,” you’ve got at least two titles that had impressive box office success. This week also includes the overlooked “Hostiles,” the excellent foreign film “In the Fade” and a a South Korean drama, "A Taxi Driver," that takes a look at the Gwangju Uprising.
“The Accident” is a captivating French thriller (with English subtitles) about Gabriel, a man grieving the loss of his wife in an automobile crash. When police try and pin the blame for the accident on his wife, Gabriel sets out to find out the truth behind her death. Typically, Acorn TV sticks to Canadian and British series, but for those who aren’t put off by subtitles, “The Accident” is a rewarding 6-part series.
Claws: The Complete First Season
TNT’s “Claws” is a wild tale of manicurists who find themselves running a money laundering scheme for a drug pusher. Violence, a bit of sex and a whole lot of over-the-top characterizations keep “Claws” from every being boring, even if its storylines are derivative.
You pretty much know what you are going to get from Liam Neeson action film, so it shouldn’t be surprising that “The Commuter” feels a lot like “Non-Stop” with a train replacing the airplane and a few tweaks to the central plot. The fact that Jaume Collet-Serra directed both films only emphasizes the two films’ similarities. So, we have Neeson on a train starring as Michael MacCauley. MacCauley is a former cop who recently lost his job as an insurance salesman. Unable to tell his family, MacCauley rides the train into the city as if nothing has changed. A seemingly chance meeting with a female passenger finds MacCauley drawn into a life-or-death situation. If you like Neeson, you’ll probably enjoy this.
“The Post” offers a view behind the scenes as Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a prominent American newspaper, and her staff at “The Washington Post” must decide to publish damaging information regarding the U.S. government’s involvement in Vietnam. Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, “The Post” is an important film that explore the importance of the media. It is also an example of the dilemmas that a publisher is forced to face when handling sensitive material. The truth isn’t always what we’d like it to be.
Also, this week sees the release of "Honor Up,” a by-the-numbers gangster drama from Damon Dash that finds a man finds himself questioning his own loyalty to the game; “Humor Me” finds a popular playwright (Jemaine Clement) moving in with his father in a retirement community after a divorce leaves him penniless and unable to write and “A Taxi Driver,” the second highest grossing film in South Korea from 2017 finds a taxi driver forced into driving a German journalist Seoul to Gwangju (166 miles) to cover the Gwangju Uprising of 1980. As someone who knows very little about the political history of South Korea, I found “A Taxi Driver” be entertaining and enlightening. If there is a sleeper title for the week, “A Taxi Driver” is it.
This week’s DVD releases include National Geographic’s “Genius” and the true crime documentary “Killing for Love.”
“Genius” is a 10-episode series tells the story of Albert Einstein, played here by Geoffrey Rush, from his youth on through to his more famous later years. The series’ second season will focus on Pablo Picasso.
“Killing for Love” is a documentary that explores the 1985 murder of Derek and Nancy Haysom. The film focuses on the couple’s daughter, Elizabeth, and her boyfriend Jens, the son of a German diplomat. Because the trial was one of the first to be broadcast on American television, there is plenty of real footage, crime scene photos, archival and contemporary interviews and a handful of reenacted scenes. It’s a powerful, maddening film along the lines of the “Making a Murder” series.
This week’s catalog releases include the Criterion Collection’s release of “The Awful Truth,” a romantic comedy from 1937 featuring a career-defining performance from Cary Grant. Co-starring Irene Dunne, who also starred opposite Grant in “My Favorite Wife” and “Penny Serenade.” The film is considered a classic of the screwball comedy subgenre. Leo McCarey won the Oscar for Best Director for his efforts. The story follows a feuding couple intent on divorce.
Also from the Criterion Collection, “The Color of Pomegranates” is a Soviet film from Sergei Parajanov about Sayat-Nova, a famed poet, that relies almost entirely on its visuals to tell its story. Soviet censors took issue with Parajanov’s experimental film and its use of religious imagery and various cuts were made before the film could be shown. This release features the most-complete version of the film and was newly restored. My introduction to the film came via the music video for “God is God” by electronic group Juno Reactor. Not that I was aware of the footage’s origins until much later. “The Color of Pomegranates” is a lush, visual experience that is wonderfully equally surreal and inviting.
And then there is “Aloha, Bobby and Rose,” a 1975 drama about a couple who accidently kill a store clerk while on their first date. Made for $60,000, “Aloha, Bobby and Rose” was completely dismissed by critics, but became something of a pop culture phenomenon on its way to $35 million in box office receipts. It’s a cinema oddity to be sure, but serves as a strange window into the 1975 where “Jaws,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Aloha, Bobby and Rose” were massive successes
This week's Digital releases include "Hostiles," a different kind of western that finds an Army captain (Christian Bale) tasked with escorting his former enemy, a Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi), back to his native homeland. Directed by Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart,” “Out of the Furnace”), “Hostiles” deserved far more attention than it received.
Also, this week is "In the Fade," a German drama starring Diane Kruger as a women who loses herTurkish-born husband and their son in a bomb attack and is met with indifference by local officials unwilling to recognize the event as a hate crime; “Peter Rabbit,” the extremely popular family film based on Beatrix Potter’s stories about a mischievous rabbit who likes to steal from the neighbor’s garden and “Winchester” a horror film that wastes its excellent cast (Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke) and fails to tap into the potential of the Winchester House legends that claim that the massive house is home to the spirits of those who were killed by Winchester rifles.