New Blu-Ray/DVD Releases (06/20/17) – Finding Alien ‘Life’

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There’s honestly not a whole lot coming to Blu-Ray and DVD this week. When today’s best release is a mixed bag like “Life,” you know something is up. Plus, it’s just a light week overall. Still, we must press on and ignore the lack of quality.

PICK OF THE WEEK

Life

The best thing to happen to “Life” was “Alien: Covenant.” The latter’s lack of success makes the former’s less noticeable. In addition, as generic as “Life” is, it’s still an original science fiction outing. Still, it offers so little that we haven’t seen before, making you question why such big stars signed on. Our review here on the site speculates about just that:

One has to wonder what fueled the choices everyone involved in “Life” made when they tethered themselves to this film. Why did clever and often satirical scribes like Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick write such a generic movie? Why did A-list stars like Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds sign on the dotted line?

In almost any other week, “Life” would not be the top pick. However, this week is different. Plus, it’s more disappointing than outright bad. With low expectations, perhaps you’ll even find it passably entertaining? We shall see. Additionally, hardcore fans of Gyllenhaal or Reynolds might be compelled to see it anyway.

Special Features: Deleted Scenes, and more
Total Box Office: $30,234,022
Major Awards: None yet

Vintage Viewing

In honor of this week’s release of “The Big Sick,” the pick today is another Judd Apatow-produced film that mixes stand-up comedy and illness. It’s “Funny People,” which marked Apatow’s first attempt at getting serious. Some loathed it, but others (including yours truly) loved it. A review over at Film.com at the time had a similar take on it, writing:

Funny People is funny, moving, dramatic, and alternately hilarious. It’s a bit like a stand-up dramedy.

The Big Sick” is a can’t-miss dramedy, as stated in our review on the site. Until you get the chance to see it, something like “Funny People” will hold the fort. As an added bonus, it’s just a damn good film on its own.

Other Films Being Released

Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides “Life”:

AWOL

This romantic melodrama features a very strong performance by Lola Kirke, but the film itself goes off the rails early. Additionally, it’s essentially 1A and 1B with “Life” for shoulder shrugging new releases. Still, Variety was a fan of the whole package, putting forth this defense:

“AWOL” holds attention with its strong lead performances, nicely etched support turns, and nuanced portrait of a downwardly mobile “heartland” Caucasian America too seldom portrayed in movies given the large chunk of the populace it encompasses.

If you see it, see it for Kirke.

Box Office: N/A

Railroad Tigers

Jackie Chan used to be an A-lister. Now, his projects are barely paid attention to, like this one. The New York Times enjoyed his work here, but little else, writing:

Beyond Mr. Chan’s deft work here, “Railroad Tigers,” directed by Ding Sheng, is kind of a mess.

Alas.

Box Office: $218,044

Sleepless

A throwaway action flick that was instantaneously forgotten, this used to be a direct-to-video sort of thing. The Hollywood Reporter probably wished that it was, stating the following:

Never rising above the level of generic B-movie, Sleepless represents the sort of disposable fare typically dropped into theaters in January.

Pass.

Box Office: $20,783,704

Wilson

Once upon a time, this Woody Harrelson comedy had lofty ambitions. Then, people saw it and the buzz quickly died down. Rolling Stone was let down, as they said in their review:

Woody Harrelson is the only life in this party, a misstep that gives Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel the indie-cutesy treatment.

What a shame.

Box Office: $653,951

Special Criterion Collection Section

The Marseille Trilogy

The only release getting the Criterion treatment today is this package deal. The Collection has this to say:

In the 1930s, Marcel Pagnol, a leading light of the Paris theater, set out for new horizons as a filmmaker in his native Provence. His early masterpieces Marius, Fanny, and César mix theatrical stagecraft with realistic location photography to create an epic love story from the fabric of everyday life.

Give it a shot if you’re interested. Plus, just remember that Criterion never drops the ball with their picks!

TV Releases

“Incorporated: Season One”
“Ozzy & Drix: The Complete Series”
“Under the Dome: The Complete Series”
“Workaholics: The Complete Series”
“Workaholics: The Final Season”

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