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. Now that the generic opener is out of the way, let me give you the bad news. Captain America: Civil War isn’t the best movie to come out this week. You’re gonna have to read on to find out what that is. But the good news is that the new Captain America is out and unlike most comic book movies, I actually enjoyed this one. You can hear Logan Schultz, Christopher Cross and I talk about the film and understand my psyche a little better along the way.
Next up, we’ve got the sequel to the surprise hit, The Conjuring. Director James Wan crafted one hell of an effective genre film with the first and I’m curious to see if The Conjuring 2 can hold up to the expectations. I’ve heard good and bad, like most people, I’ll just have to find out by watching it. Then again, I’ve heard this one focuses on jump scares a little more and that’s just cheap.
If you’re a fan of James Cameron’s early work (The Terminator, The Abyss) and for some reason you don’t already own Aliens, maybe now is the time to get it with a brand new 30th Anniversary Edition. For people who already own the film on Blu-Ray, I regret to inform you that there’s only one additional featurette entitled The Inspiration and Design of Aliens. Sure, it’s got a cool new cover and art cards, but it’s probably not worth the extra money. Save your double dip for a future film.
Now here’s a film that I had modest hopes in: De Palma! I wrote a little review to let you all know that it was worth a VOD rental unless you’re a huge De Palma fan who must own everything, then you can buy it today. It’s hard to deny how rare it is to have a filmmaker sit down and talk all about their work. It’s probably easier to edit it into a bite size documentary for people who barely know the basics of the director. If there’s anything strong on this release, it’s the damn nice looking cover.
If the documentary can’t crave your Brian De Palma fix, maybe Scream Factory’s collector’s edition of Raising Cain will. Said to be among his worst films, Raising Cain is getting the full treatment with two cuts of the film, theatrical and director’s cuts, new interviews with the principal cast including John Lithgow, and a couple new featurettes. If I was a bigger fan of De Palma’s work, I would surely get this release, but sadly I’m not. And with this movie we end our streak of cool covers. This one’s a hot mess.
Continuing on with our catalogue titles is Synapse Films’ remaster of Dario Argento’s Tenebrae. I’ll admit that I’ve only seen one Argento film, Suspiria, but I absolutely loved it. I’ve heard the blu-ray’s from Synapse Films can be a little pricy, but I’ve seen some good reviews on this restoration so far. We’ve got a new restoration, a feature length documentary on the history of the Giallo sub-genre, and a few other nifty features.
Last but not least with the catalogue is the Criterion Collection. After buying Sansho the Bailiff and The Life of Oharu, I told myself I was done with Kenji Mizoguchi’s films. His artful melodrama’s are incredibly well made, but they really don’t hit anything for me. If you enjoyed either of those prior films mentioned, be happy knowing that his 1939 masterpiece, The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum is now available. Unfortunately, this film, like last week’s film, comes with very few special features (an interview with a film critic on the evolution of the director’s style and an essay), but maybe the film can sell you on its own.
Now it’s time for our movie of the week! Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is the film I needed but didn’t know it. In the middle of the generally awful summer movie season, we got a gem of a film that went underseen. Loved by those who watched it, hated by those who then lost their right to an opinion, Popstar is the funniest and one of the smartest films of the year. And having some of the most clever music I’ve heard in a movie in years only helps its case. Now get on watching it, you filthy scoundrels! That’s it for This Week on Blu-ray. Next week, we get to talk about McConaughey, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, an old Disney classic, and the sequel to one of the most overrated comedies of the last few years. Let me know if I gave any of these films too much crap and we can debate like savage animals about it, until next time…