New Blu-Ray/DVD Releases (08/20/19) – ‘Brightburn’ Upends a Tired Genre

This week, a very different sort of superhero origin story in “Brightburn” highlights the titles coming to Blu-Ray and DVD. What else is joining that genre tale today? Read on to find out.

PICK OF THE WEEK

“Brightburn”

James Gunn re-imagines Superman as a villain here with this science fiction/horror hybrid. Elizabeth Banks plays a riff on Ma Kent, with Jackson A. Dunn as Brandon, an evil iteration on Clark Kent. The film gets a lot of mileage out of this concept, not skimping on the blood and gore along the way. Screen Crush was a big fan of this entry, with Matt Singer opening his review in the following manner:

When you get right down to it, Brightburn is a story about nature versus nurture. Brandon Breyer had the kind of childhood most kids dream about: Two loving parents who worship and protect him, a beautiful home on a farm with land stretching as far as the eye can see. Everything is great — except for the minor detail of the rocket ship out in the barn that’s telling Brandon to murder everyone in sight. Will Brandon succumb to his alien urges or remember his kind parents’ teachings? Will it be nature or nurture? By the end of Brightburn, a winningly scary riff on the Superman mythos, we get a definitive answer to that question.

“Brightburn” finds an interesting way to spin a well worn origin story into something new and terrifying. Anyone looking for a different take on a Superman-like character would do well to check this one out.

Special Features: Audio Commentary and more
Total Box Office: $17,300,439
Major Awards: None yet

VINTAGE VIEWING

In honor of this week’s release of “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” the pick today is going to be another expensive Sundance Film Festival acquisition by Amazon Studios. It’s “Manchester by the Sea,” the Academy Award winning movie from Kenneth Lonergan. Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, and Michelle Williams were all nominated for their performances, with Affleck taking home the gold. Lonergan, himself, received multiple citations, winning an Oscar along the way as well for his screenplay. Our Telluride review sums things up nicely:

Lonergan’s tale is devastating and heavy, and is full of emotionally rich performances from Affleck, Michelle Williams – who plays Lee’s ex-wife, and newcomer Hedges.

Revisit this Oscar winning release from Amazon Studios before their latest effort hits theaters on Friday!

OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED

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

“Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché”

This documentary looks at a truly inspiring figure in cinematic history. Alice Guy-Blaché is a name too few know, both inside the industry and outside of it. This movie does its best to rectify that discrepancy. The Hollywood Reporter had this to say out of the Cannes Film Festival last year:

A scrupulously well-researched documentary about one of early cinema’s greatest pioneers and the world’s first woman filmmaker.

Cinephiles should definitely give this one a look.

Box Office: $90,576

“The Biggest Little Farm”

Another documentary, this one looks at what actually goes into starting a farm from scratch. The concept is novel, though one that could end up fairly dry in the wrong hands. Luckily, that wasn’t the case here. Our review on the site details why:

While cutesy and idyllic, especially at the start, “The Biggest Little Farm” becomes a fascinating and involving story of creating a fully sustainable microcosm.

Another non-fiction option to consider today!

Box Office: $4,299,364 (and counting)

“A Dog’s Journey”

2019 has offered a trio of canine-centric pictures, with this one being a sequel to “A Dog’s Purpose.” Continuing the story of Bailey, a dog who is repeatedly reincarnated in order to keep an eye on his human companions. The Hollywood Reporter enjoyed the message buried within this one:

It quietly boosts a message of resilience and self-belief to young girl audiences, advising them that it’s always a smarter move to love nice boys and dogs rather than abusive jerks and pet haters.

If you love dogs or the prior movie in this franchise, this one is for you!

Box Office: $22,546,590

“The Hustle”

A gender swapped remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” this farce opted to utilize two very different women as its leads. Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson don’t immediately make for a likely pairing, but from our review here on the site, it’s a choice that works:

Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson are two very funny women and casting them was the smartest decision in the production.

Hathaway and Wilson fans may well enjoy this one.

Box Office: $35,417,038

“The Tomorrow Man”

Blythe Danner and John Lithgow star in this romance, which in and of itself is notable. How often are actors of this age given the opportunity to lead romantic films? Plus, it’s always a pleasure to see juicy roles for these talented living legends. Variety had a good time with the flick:

[T]he film’s packaging has an attractive simplicity – amplifying an overall effect of everyday strangeness that’s finally more reassuring than truly bizarre.

Danner and Lithgow together? How could you go wrong?

Box Office: $354,103

Special Criterion Collection Section

“Magnificent Obsession”

The only option coming to Criterion today is this 1954 melodrama from filmmaker Douglas Sirk. Teaming up with frequent star Rock Hudson, Sirk is at the peak of his skills here, showcasing Hudson as only he could by harnessing the nuanced melodrama and all of its powers. The Collection sells it to audiences like so:

Reckless playboy Bob Merrick (Rock Hudson, in his breakthrough role) crashes his speedboat, requiring emergency attention from the town’s only resuscitator—at the very moment that a beloved local doctor has a heart attack and dies waiting for the lifesaving device. Thus begins one of Douglas Sirk’s most flamboyant master classes in melodrama, a delirious Technicolor mix of the sudsy and the spiritual

Give it a shot, especially if you like other collaborations between Hudson and Sirk!

TV RELEASES

“American Gods: Season 2”
“Arrow: The Complete Seventh Season”
“Blue Bloods: The Ninth Season”
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season Six”
“Mayans M.C.: The Complete First Season”
“NCIS: New Orleans – The Fifth Season”
“S.W.A.T.: Season Two”
“The Walking Dead: The Complete Ninth Season”

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

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