Welcome to another installment of This Week On Blu-Ray, where I tell you what the big releases are and whether they’re worth getting. It’s one hell of a week for physical media if you’re a lover of comics, genre film, and great TV. Batman: The Killing Joke, one of the seminal graphic novels within the Batman canon, written by Alan Moore, has received the feature length animated treatment. Unfortunately for DC comics and all creative talent involved, this year’s Comic-Con panel for the film was dealt a controversial blow. Despite all of this, it will be interesting to see how the filmmakers adapted it at the very least.
With a lack of an interesting segue, Key and Peele’s feature length film, Keanu, attempted to force itself down the throats of millions of viewers that thankfully caught on that just having a cute kitten in your film doesn’t justify its existence. The comedians and their long time director Peter Atencio probably hoped for a little more love, but after blaming the marketing for the film, there seems to be no saving this stinker of a comedy.
In modern comedies, acclaimed Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos delivers the scariest and the most subtextual film into relationships since Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, with The Lobster. Featuring an absolutely stellar cast headed by Colin Farrell, the premise centers around an involuntary hotel where single people must stay for 30 days to find a mate. If they fail to do so, the residents are turned into an animal of their choosing. I’m sorry, but if that doesn’t sell you on a movie than I don’t know what will.
This week on blu-ray, Shout Factory’s sub-label Scream Factory has given its love over to the 1978 classic, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Philip Kaufman’s remake of the original 1956 masterpiece only added more flame to the fire on whether remaking old films from the same language was really worth it. With a cast that features Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum, Donald Sutherland, and Veronica Cartwright, it’s hard to argue that this shouldn’t exist. This is one that is worth seeking out, even if you’ve already seen it.
Ben Wheatley has become one of my favorite directors working out of the last 10 years. With his track record up to this point including films that, at their worst, could be considered very good, I always thought he could do no wrong. His latest film, High-Rise, gave me pause to that idea. With access to his biggest budget to that point and an A-list cast, Wheatley adapted a book that had been loosely translated to film so many times, that it really loses a lot of its potency and narrative strength. It’s disappointing to say the least, but even I have to tell you how visually stunning this film is. If heady, thought-provoking films that don’t entirely hit the mark are your thing, this is worth giving a look.
One more blu-ray I want to highlight this week is the release of the spectacular first season of Starz’s The Girlfriend Experience. Lodge Kerrigan and Amy Seimetz’s adaptation of Steven Soderbergh’s lackluster exploration of the escort business breathes a dark sense of life and reality to the subject with cold detail. Almost every performance is perfection, including the lead role played with stunning determination by Riley Keough. This is a series that should be seen. You can also buy Soderbergh’s own series, The Knick, as the second season has just been released. Let’s be honest though, it’s not Soderbergh’s best work or the best material he’s gotten to work with. Drug-addicted professionals don’t need to be seen again.
Let’s close off this article mentioning the absymal Mother’s Day from the late Garry Marshall. If you’ve seen Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom, you know what you’re getting yourself into. You’re braver than I will ever be. Speaking of shit, Nicolas Cage has another film out. This time, however, he’s teamed up with Elijah Wood to rob a vault full of drug money in the back of a convenience store in The Trust. Did I mention they were corrupt cops? That’s it for This Week On Blu-Ray. Come back next week for a time traveling James Franco and Tom Hanks in Saudi Arabia. Until next time…