New Blu-Ray/DVD Releases (08/28/18) – The Notorious ‘RBG’ And More

This week, Ruth Bader Ginsberg renders judgment in one of the highlighted titles coming to Blu-Ray and DVD. “RBG” may not be the top pick, but it’s certainly one of note today. You’ll see what else makes the cut shortly, but the Notorious RBG is 100% among them. Spoiler alert…it’s a good slate for documentaries. Let’s dive in now!

PICK OF THE WEEK

American Animals

One of the best films to come out of the Sundance Film Festival this year, this heist movie has a real meta twist to it. Filmmaker Bart Layton mixes fiction and documentary to tell this unique story. The direction is some of 2028’s best. That alone makes it worthy of some notice. Our review here on the site praised it as such:

Layton entwines documentary and performance to create a true-crime heist film. The result is something that feels experimental while holding more heart and tension than your average heist film.

American Animals” is a showcase for Layton. If he doesn’t have a giant movie under his belt in a year or two, someone isn’t paying attention!

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $2,853,741 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet

RECOMMENDED MOVIES

The Last Laugh

This documentary, which played a year ago at the Tribeca Film Festival, is a real treat, despite the occasionally heavy subject matter. You see, much of the doc centers on how comedians of Jewish descent deal with the Holocaust. We know how Mel Brooks mocked Hitler, but what’s going on deeper than that? This film takes a compelling look. The Village Voice had this to say:

[An] insightfully open-ended inquiry into the role of humor as it relates to unspeakable tragedy.

The Last Laugh” has a lower profile than “RBG,” but it’s also a quality doc. Give it a look and find out why.

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: N/A
Major Awards: None yet

RBG

Another essential doc, this one follows current Supreme Court Justice and liberal rock star Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Known as the Notorious RBG, she’s a true force. Ginsberg’s life is feted here, while her own voice fills in some blanks about how she came to be who she is today. If you already love her, this is a must see. If you hate her, this won’t change your mind. Our positive review here on the site spoke to that:

“RBG” celebrates the Justice in a way that fans will love and detractors will scoff at, but it’s hard to argue that this isn’t a modern American hero.

“RBG” just misses being the top pick today, but it’s still well worth picking up. Plus, it just might end up in the running for Best Documentary Feature…

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $13,902,482 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet

VINTAGE VIEWING

In honor of this week’s release of “The Little Stranger,” the pick today is going to be a previous effort from filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson. No, it’s not “Room,” it’s actually “Frank,” an odd little duck of a movie. Who puts Michael Fassbender under a mask for essentially the whole running time? Abrahamson did, and actually, to solid effect. Our review here on the site hints at that:

Frank is far from perfect, believe me, but it’s a flick that you likely won’t soon be able to forget.

If you haven’t seen “Frank,” give it a shot. You may just be surprised by what you find!

OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED

Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the trio of recommended titles in “American Animals,” “The Last Laugh,” and “RBG”:

Always at the Carlyle

Another documentary, making this quite the week for non fiction. This one looks at the hotel which gives the film its title. It sounds rather niche, which the mixed reviews also suggest. The Hollywood Reporter did not care for it, putting forth the following negative take:

A fawning doc for the rich and those who idolize them.

The lesser of the docs this week, clearly.

Box Office: $174,251

Book Club

Older viewers were given a comedy to latch on to with this one. Centered on senior citizens reading “Fifty Shades of Grey,” it goes for the easy laughs. Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, and company get to giggle about smut. Sounds harmless enough. Not everyone agreed. Rolling Stone took issue with the message of the flick, as you can see below:

The insidious message of this insulting string of tired jokes is that four smart, funny, rigorously independent women, played by top actresses who fit the same description, can’t find true happiness without a man. Seriously?

You already know if this is for you or not.

Box Office: $68,566,296

A Kid Like Jake

Sometimes, a movie can play it too safe. This drama is one such example of that. Too often during the film, it talks around the actual subject matter. You can make a family drama about a trans child, but it helps to actually deal with the character. This is way more about Claire Danes and Jim Parsons, which was a shame. A small bit from our mixed review on the site hammers that home:

A low key family drama in need of more reason to exist, the film is a missed opportunity.

It’s not bad, but it should have been better.

Box Office: $44,824

Mary Shelley

This biopic played at the Tribeca Film Festival and was not able to make a mark. The author of “Frankenstein” led a fascinating life, but little of it is shown on screen. In fact, the best parts are detailed in end credit title cards, which is a bit of an insult. Elle Fanning is good, but it’s in the service of an inferior product. Our review on the site said as much:

Besides boiled down characterizations, “Mary Shelley” suffers from major issues with the passage of time.

Fanning deserved better.

Box Office: $97,321

Tag

An action-comedy that wasn’t very funny, it instead had to rely on its admittedly high concept. Unfortunately, the concept doesn’t hold water at feature length. When you think about how Jeremy Renner made this with broken arms, you just feel that it wasn’t worth the trouble. The Hollywood Reporter was gentle in their criticism:

Tag is neither bad nor good, but rather, despite its out-there story, almost numbingly ordinary: an easy, breezy action-com that’s sometimes amusing but rarely funny, competent rather than inspired.

There are better options this week.

Box Office: $54,430,034 (and counting)

Upgrade

This violent science fiction flick managed to find a solid crop of support earlier on this year. An effort from Blumhouse Tilt, Jason Blum‘s newest endeavor, it’s gritty genre fare. The audience wasn’t large for this one, but those who saw it seemed to really dig the flick. Rolling Stone enjoyed it, as you can see:

Resistance is futile. High-grade grindhouse glee is your reward.

This is another one to consider this week.

Box Office: $11,916,615

Woman Walks Ahead

A great cast, led by Jessica Chastain and Sam Rockwell, was not able to save this film from the doldrums. It also played at Tribeca and went away as quickly as it came. Strictly paint by numbers, this biopic could have been an Academy Award player. Instead, it will buried on Chastain’s otherwise very strong resume. IndieWIRE summed it up nicely:

A listless but lustrously shot biopic…

A missed opportunity.

Box Office: $57,528

Special Criterion Collection Section

Memories of Underdevelopment

Our first and only new Criterion release this week is this late 1960’s example of Cuban cinema. Apparently, if you’re going to watch one Cuban film, this is the one to dive in with. Having just gone on a trip to Cuba last month, this has my attention. The Collection feels strongly about this one, and pitches it to you like so:

This film by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea is the most renowned work in the history of Cuban cinema.

Give it a shot!

ALSO OF NOTE

Tucker: The Man and His Dream

Every so often, a re-release of something is worth briefly mentioning. Today, we have “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” hitting Blu-Ray. If you’ve never seen this Francis Ford Coppola movie, this week offers an opportunity to rectify that. Starring Jeff Bridges as the one of a kind car designer Preston Tucker, it’s an underrated flick. In addition, if you’ve never seen what a Tucker automobile looks like, you’ll get a kick out of this film. Give it a look and enjoy!

Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scene, and more

TV RELEASES

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season Five”
“Chicago Fire: Season Six”
“Chicago Med: Season Three”
“Criminal Minds: Season 13”
“The Flash: The Complete Fourth Season”
“Lucifer: The Third and Final Season”
“NCIS: Los Angeles – The Ninth Season”
“Once Upon a Time: The Complete Seventh and Final Season”
“Paterno” *Joey’s Pick*
“S.W.A.T.: Season One”

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