New Blu-Ray/DVD Releases (12/11/18) – Ben Foster Goes to ‘Galveston’

This week, a gritty little character study starring Ben Foster leads the new release charge. His offering is the best of the Blu-Ray/DVD bunch today, but hardly the only thing worth offering. So, with that tease being put out there, it’s time to dive right in!

PICK OF THE WEEK

Galveston

Ben Foster has been doing really interesting work throughout his whole career. Unfortunately, that rarely includes leading roles. Not only is this sort of the epitome of the “Ben Foster” role, it’s also a central part. Paired with Elle Fanning, this gritty crime drama is a strong showcase for the talented actor. Melanie Laurent directs and really leaves an impression on you. The Hollywood Reporter had this to say about the work:

A seedy but sincere and strikingly attractive picture adapted from the novel by Nic Pizzolatto.

Galveston” gives Ben Foster another juicy role to bite into. If you’re a fan of Foster’s, this is one to definitely pick up!

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

RECOMMENDED MOVIES

Colette

Keira Knightley is the current queen of period pieces. That much is undeniable. She has one of her best here in this biopic. Paired with a scene stealing Dominic West, she’s as good as she’s ever been. Along with the costumes and score, this is an elegant lark that’s flown below the radar this season. Clayton is a big fan, as you can see here on the site with this bit from his review:

“Colette” finds its way, even when the runtime doesn’t exactly call for it. Keira Knightley and Dominic West’s brilliant performances will inevitably accompany you through the journey, making fabulous co-pilots for an otherwise, thoroughly enjoyable ride.

Colette” is a wonderful showcase for Knightley. Anyone who digs on her period work will get a kick out of this one too.

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $5,137,622
Major Awards: None yet

Lizzie

A look at the infamous Lizzie Borden murders, Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart star here. They make a solid enough pairing that they paper over some of the film’s issues. The deliberate pacing will either draw you in or put you off. The former is how we feel at The Awards Circuit, though plenty of folks felt the latter. Still, the build up to the infamous axe murders does largely compel. Our highly positive Sundance Film Festival review here on the site says the following:

This is a film that takes its time. It isn’t in a hurry, but doesn’t dawdle either.

Lizzie” is all about Sevigny and Stewart. If their work general compels you, this offering will as well.

Special Features: Featurette
Total Box Office: $642,157
Major Awards: None yet

Smallfoot

This animated offering could find itself slipping into the Best Animated Feature race at the Oscars when all is said and done. A clever role reversal, there’s a nice message here for anyone, young or old, who is open to it. Even beyond that, it’s just colorful and a large amount of fun. Clayton was rather fond of it, writing the following here on the site:

Delightfully gleeful, the animated gem embraces the innocence of its audience and gives them exactly what they want.

Smallfoot” has charm to spare. Anyone with kids should really go out and grab this. Hell, if you’re just a child at heart, this works too.

Special Features: Sing Along Mode, and more
Total Box Office: $82,420,471 (and counting)
Major Awards: None yet

VINTAGE VIEWING

In honor of this week’s release of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” the pick today is going to be the best Spidey outing so far to date. It’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” Marvel’s first official foray with Sony into the web slinger’s adventures. One of the MCU’s very best, we were big fans here on the site. In fact, Clayton raved about it like so:

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” has elevated the game for Marvel Studios.

Spidey fans are in for a treat this week! “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is incredible. Take Clayton’s word for it!

OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED

Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides Keira Knightley in “Colette,” Ben Foster in “Galveston,” Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart in “Lizzie,” and many a voice talent in “Smallfoot”:

Equalizer 2

Denzel Washington never does sequels. He also never seems to be in it just for the paycheck. This franchise outing, however, has him guilty of both things. Everything that “The Equalizer” did well, “Equalizer 2” sleepwalks through. Washington can’t overcome that, looking rather bored in the process. Our shrug of a review here on the site had this to say:

With diminishing returns all around, this feels like little more than a grab for cash. The A-lister is a rock-solid action hero, but the surroundings he’s been given set him up for failure. Pardon the pun, but it’s not an equal partnership here. “The Equalizer” was an entertaining surprise. This is a chore.

Stick to the first one.

Box Office: $102,084,362

Peppermint

Jennifer Garner putting her own feminine spin on “Death Wish” had potential. Unfortunately, it’s all absolutely squandered here. When the entire depiction of how your action hero develops their ability to kick ass is papered over, that’s inexcusable. Garner is committed to the premise, but nothing else here is able to stack up. Our negative take here on the site hammers that point home:

It’s almost like the Cliff Notes version of a more satisfying movie. Every possible corner is cut, making for a real low rent effort on display. Standards are low for mindless action fare, to be sure, but even so, this flick falls well short of the mark.

This just isn’t a very good film, despite Garner’s best efforts.

Box Office: $35,418,723

The Sound and the Fury

Another experiment from James Franco, with the actor/filmmaker, once again adapting a supposedly unfilmable novel. “The Disaster Artist” was Franco’s first truly successful directorial effort, but aside from that home run, it’s been misfire after misfire. This barely seen William Faulkner adaptation falls into that category. Variety had this to say:

Its surfeit of half-baked film-student flourishes and needless cameos occasionally give it an amateur-hour feel. But Franco nonetheless shows improvement over 2013’s “As I Lay Dying,” and well, it’s hard to fault him for trying.

The morbidly curious only need apply here.

Box Office: N/A

Unbroken: Path to Redemption

Remember when “Unbroken” was going to dominate the Oscars? Well, did you think what was missing was turning the story into a faith-based offering? If so, then you’re in luck. If not, I have some bad news for you. That’s where this cheapo sequel decided to focus. The Hollywood Reporter gave a rather gentle pan to it in the following manner:

There’s a reason that Angelina Jolie’s screen adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling Unbroken left out most of the material covered in the book’s second half. It just isn’t very interesting.

Hard pass.

Box Office: $6,216,897

Special Criterion Collection Section

A Dry White Season

For the first of our two new Criterion release this week, we can turn our attention to this 1989 drama starring Donald Sutherland. More importantly, however, this is a groundbreaking film in the realm of diversity, as you’ll see below. The Collection mentions it in their sales pitch, as you can see below:

With this bracing drama, made at the climax of the anti-apartheid movement, director Euzhan Palcy issued a devastating indict­ment of South Africa’s racist government—and made history in the process, becoming the first black woman to direct a Hollywood studio film.

Sutherland fans probably haven’t seen this one. If so, now is your chance!

Forty Guns

The other title that’s joining the Collection today is a Samuel Fuller western from the mid 50’s with Barbara Stanwyck in the lead role. A genre effort that offers you a little bit of everything, it’s the sort of thing that challenges what a western can be. Criterion does an excellent job summing up why this is something to be excited for. Take a look:

Hollywood legend Barbara Stanwyck saddled up with writer-director Samuel Fuller for the pulp maestro’s most audacious western, a boldly feminist spin on the genre that pivots effortlessly between ribald humor, visceral action, and disarming tenderness.

In the mood for a top-notch western? This should do the trick!

TV RELEASES

“Instinct: Season One”
“The Last Kingdom: Season Three”
“Nathan for You: The Complete Series”
“The Orville: The Complete First Season”
“Perfect Strangers: The Complete Sixth Season”
“Top of the Lake: China Girl”

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