New Blu-Ray/DVD Releases (07/24/18) – Spielberg Returns to Science Fiction

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This week, a nostalgia filled Steven Spielberg film leads the charge of titles hitting Blu-Ray and DVD. Yes, his take on a novel heavily influenced by his own work is the top pick today. There’s not a whole lot else coming out either, so it’s really about about this one. Fans of The Beard will be thrilled. Let’s dive in!

PICK OF THE WEEK

Ready Player One

In many ways, Steven Spielberg was the perfect choice to helm this adaptation. The sci-fi novel is, in many ways, indebted to his film. This cinematic ouroboros also just was one of the year’s most fun popcorn movies. In particular, the sequence involving “The Shining” is an instant Spielberg classic. From our rave review here on the site earlier this year:

Nostalgia. Special effects. A lack of at least one (especially male) father figure. All of these are staples of Steven Spielberg films, in particular his blockbusters. “Ready Player One” is like a mixtape of all that, bringing the master director back to his younger days. Playing to his spectacle strengths, it turns out that Spielberg was the perfect choice to helm the adaptation of Ernest Cline‘s popular novel.

Ready Player One” was clearly a ton of fun for Spielberg to make. Luckily, it translated on to the screen as well. Pick this one up and enjoy the sci-fi adventure.

Special Features: Featurettes
Total Box Office: $137,018,455
Major Awards: None yet

VINTAGE VIEWING

In honor of this week’s release of “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” the pick today is going to be the installment of this franchise that took it to the next level. Your mileage may vary, but for yours truly, it’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.” Tom Cruise hanging off of the Burj Khalifa is iconic now (in fact, when I was in Dubai last year, it was almost all I thought about while touring the building), though the whole film is a lot of fun. Our review at the time had this to say:

What we have is a frantic, energetic, and exciting spy flick that never quite takes itself too seriously (a plus when things get ridiculous like they do here at times).

Cruise and this franchise has become the pinnacle of action in Hollywood. Give the series’ previous high point another look before this new one hits in a few days, as “Fallout” is now the class of the franchise! Furthermore, pairing Cruise with Spielberg as recommendations this week is very on brand too…

OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED

Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the sole recommended title in Spielberg’s “Ready Player One”:

Birthmarked

Toni Collette stars in this comedy, which was often cited as having a Wes Anderson influence. Unfortunately, many of the takes also said that it came up well short of Anderson’s brand of quirk. If you’re like me and don’t usually enjoy Anderson quirk, this sounds like torture. Variety was not a fan of it, and in their review, they explained exactly why:

There are a few droll moments sprinkled throughout “Birthmarked,” which merely highlight the dreariness of the many, many others that are not.

No thanks.

Box Office: N/A

The Con is On

A would be lark, this caper takes an interesting ensemble cast, led by Uma Thurman, and completely wastes them. Heist movies always start off life with inherited good will, considering the fun they can be. This one? Well, it seemed to fall short almost immediately. Alas. The Los Angeles Times had this to say in their dismissal of it:

What begins as a seemingly simple heist loses steam and focus amid a pileup of Hollywood-style nuts and narcissists…

Pass.

Box Office: N/A

Love After Love

This Tribeca Film Festival alum has a solid one two punch of Andie MacDowell and Chris O’Dowd. Despite a somewhat downer premise, it seemed to work its low key magic on audiences, both at Tribeca and beyond. Though definitely a festival flick, it could find a second life now on home video. The Hollywood Reporter enjoyed it, putting forth this take:

Elegant and unsentimental, this is a minor-key, wintry ensemble piece with an emotional hold that sneaks up on you.

Fans of the cast might consider picking this one up. If you’re not into the Spielberg outing, this is an alternate in every way possible.

Box Office: $113,074

Special Criterion Collection Section

A Matter of Life and Death

Our sole new Criterion release this week is this Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger film. For many, this is Powell and Pressburger’s masterpiece. A 1946 release starring Kim Hunter and David Niven, it was a form of bonding between the United Kingdom and the United States. The Collection says so in their pitch to viewers like you:

Intended to smooth tensions between the wartime allies Britain and America, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s richly humanistic A Matter of Life and Death traverses time and space to make a case for the transcendent value of love.

Pick it up if you’re curious!

TV RELEASES

“Gravity Falls: The Complete Series”
“Spiral: Season 6”

THOUGHTS ON WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK ON BLU-RAY OR DVD? SHARE THEM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!