New Blu-Ray/DVD Releases (08/15/17) – Ridley Scott’s Latest ‘Alien’ Prequel

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This week, another “Alien” outing by Ridley Scott highlights the new releases coming to Blu-Ray and DVD. It’s a slate low in quality, though not lacking in quantity. The show must go on though. It always does here. Here goes nothing!

PICK OF THE WEEK

Alien: Covenant

Ridley Scott is the only filmmaker to tackle multiple “Alien” franchise installments, so at this point, it’s his vision we’re watching. That has led to two lesser efforts, in “Prometheus” and now “Alien: Covenant“. Removed from expectations, this new one has some interesting moments, mostly centered around Michael Fassbender. He’s best in show. The xenomorph, however, is a real let down. So is the tone that’s on display. Here’s a bit from our disappointed review a few months ago on the site:

Alien: Covenant” unfortunately takes all of the things wrong with “Prometheus” and doubles down on them. It only pays lip service to “Alien” or “Aliens,” which may disappoint core fans.

Scott made the movie he wanted to make in “Alien: Covenant”. There’s no doubt about that. It’s just a shame that this “Alien” effort is so flawed. Furthermore, it forgets the terror that the franchise is so known for. If “Prometheus” worked for you, this one likely will too. Regardless, it happens to be the best bet this week, so make of that what you will. Alas. Consider this a recommendation by process of elimination.

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $74,216,898 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet

Vintage Viewing

In honor of this week’s release of “Logan Lucky,” the pick today is a previous late career outing by Steven Soderbergh. It’s “Magic Mike,” which defied the odds inherent in the premise to become a really thoughtful and supremely good film. Soderbergh ended up with one of his very best flicks being about male strippers. Go figure. Here’s just a taste of our rave review:

If Robert Altman had chosen to make a film about the lives of male strippers, the end result might have resembled “Magic Mike,” a shockingly great flick that’s far better than it probably has any right to be

Logan Lucky” is a lot of fun, much like “Magic Mike”. Additionally, they both feature some of Channing Tatum‘s best work! The combination of Soderbergh and Tatum has been a fruitful one. That much is undeniable. Clayton enjoyed the filmmaker’s return to cinemas. You can see for yourself starting this Friday.

Other Films Being Released

Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the (barely) recommended “Alien: Covenant”:

The Case for Christ

The very latest in a never ending output of mediocre faith based flicks. Based on supposedly a true story, it did seem to manage avoiding outright pans. In addition, it even received some solid reviews. Still, it seemed to do little for folks like The AV Club, which wrote the following:

The Case For Christ is pretty slow going, tedious rather than offensive.

Pass. A hard pass, in fact.

Box Office: $14,682,684

Chuck

Formerly called “The Bleeder” on the festival circuit, this boxing biopic never quite caught on. Liev Schreiber received some solid notices though for playing boxer Chuck Wepner, the real life inspiration for “Rocky“. Entertainment Weekly was fond of his work, writing:

Schreiber’s casting is fitting. He’s one of the most underappreciated actors (rewatch Spotlight for an example of how damn great he can be with the tiniest gestures) playing a guy who never got enough respect.

Sounds like a bit of a missed opportunity for an awards worthy flick. Still, probably worth giving a shot to. Schreiber fans will appreciate it, at least.

Box Office: $320,725

Everything, Everything

This teen romance seems to have managed to avoided being overly saccharine. The solid box office speaks to it finding its audience as well. It is exclusively for the teen/pre-teen girl crowd. That comes along with the territory of being a YA adaptation. In fact, that’s pretty much what indieWIRE references in their take here:

Everything, Everything is not for everyone, but it will satisfy a certain subset of teenage girls who are compelled by watching fragile girls come-of-age with the help of a pretty boy.

You already know if it’s for you or not. Act accordingly.

Box Office: $34,121,140

Hickok

A western about Wild Bill Hickok probably should have gotten more attention than this one received. At least, a quality one would have. What word it did get was largely negative, save for the supporting turn from Bruce Dern. He got noticed here and there, particularly in this take from the Chicago Sun-Times:

My favorite performance in the film comes from Bruce Dern, enthusiastically loopy as the booze-soaked town doctor. You can rarely accuse Bruce Dern of phoning it in.

Dern is a treasure, so if you see it, see it for him. He won’t let you down. In fact, he never does!

Box Office: N/A

How to be a Latin Lover

Over the last few years, crossover Mexican cinema has begun to find a real niche at the American box office. This satire is just the latest to try and become a hit. Reviews were on the poor side, but some were kind. One example was this one from The Hollywood Reporter:

OK, so it will never be mistaken for vintage Pedro Almodovar or Bigas Luna, but the feel-good satire How to Be a Latin Lover nevertheless gives you less cause to be a hater than you might have expected.

Doesn’t seem like essential viewing, but you can be the judge. It might just tickle your fancy?

Box Office: $32,149,404

Once Upon a Time in Venice

Bruce Willis has been in a ton of throwaway action movies of the past decade. His days of dominating the box office are over. This action comedy, reuniting him with the writers of the underrated “Cop Out,” is better than a lot of those misfires. Still, it’s a middling affair that never quite figures itself out. For Willis, it’s a step in the right direction. When engaged, he’s a top tier movie star. When he’s not, no one seems more bored or disinterested in his job. Luckily, this is more the former. The Chicago Sun-Times kind of dug it, pitching Willis as the selling point:

Of course Willis employs his trademark smirk and his familiar sarcastic line readings. Of course we’ve seen him play variations on this downtrodden, wisecracking cynic in better movies. But B-movie Willis is still kind of a hoot.

Willis fans will enjoy it. Furthermore, if you liked “Cop Out,” that same kind of humor is employed. Perhaps take a leap of faith on it? You could do a lot worse.

Box Office: N/A

The Wall

This thriller from Doug Liman is a smaller effort than usual from the filmmaker. In fact, it’s his smallest since “Swingers“. It flew under the radar, though reviews were mostly solid. Over at indieWIRE, this take was presented:

Smaller than the sum of its stones, this taut psychological thriller is still sturdy enough, and every bit as compelling as some studio fare 10 times its size.

Sounds a bit intriguing, no? Give it a shot and see for yourself. Liman is on an upswing following “Edge of Tomorrow,” so this should fuel the potential sequel.

Box Office: $1,803,064

Special Criterion Collection Section

Hopscotch

The first release getting the Criterion treatment today is a thriller starring Walter Matthau. If he’s more well known for comedies, well, the fact that the Collection has embraced it should say something. Here is a quick taste. Take a gander:

The inimitable comic team of Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson star in this nimble tale of international intrigue from master British filmmaker Ronald Neame.

Take a look at something different from Matthau. It sounds like a very interesting film.

Meantime

Our other offering from the Collection this week is this particular outing from auteur Mike Leigh. Within this one is actually the first major role for Gary Oldman, so that’s worth taking note of. Here now is a bit from Criterion about it. They had this to say:

A slow-burning depiction of economic degradation in Thatcher’s England, Mike Leigh’s Meantime is the culmination of the writer-director’s pioneering work in television.

Leigh fans should definitely check it out. Consider this one a potential discovery!

TV Releases

“Billions: Season Two”
“The Blacklist: The Complete Fourth Season”
“Bull: Season One”
“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complere Second Season”
“Dr. Ken: Season Two”
“Good Girls Revolt: The Complete Series”
“Jumanji: The Complete Animated Series”
“Marry Me: The Complete Series”
“The Middle: The Complete Eighth Season”
“NCIS: New Orleans – The Third Season”
“Once Upon a Time: The Complete Sixth Season”
“The Player: The Complete Series”
“Rhoda: Season 4”
“Riverdale: The Complete First Season”

Thoughts on what to watch this week on Blu-ray or DVD? Share them in the comments below!

  • Joey Magidson

    There are better weeks ahead.