This week, one of cinematic history’s crowning achievements, “Apocalypse Now,” presents a new cut in 4K, leading the charge of new Blu-Ray/DVD releases. Joining that film is a biopic of the effervescent Elton John, the latest Godzilla movie, and more. Read on to see what’s hitting shelves today.
PICK OF THE WEEK
“Apocalypse Now Final Cut”
Francis Ford Coppola‘s classic comes to 4K with the new “Final Cut” that recently played in theaters. The movie is a pivot for Coppola from the all encompassing “Apocalypse Now: Redux,” which put almost all of his cut footage back into the film. The Hollywood Reporter found it to be a fascinating experience:
This is an overwhelming sensory experience, with deep colors and nuanced sound amplifying the film’s hypnotic effect. The spell is still broken by the controversial “French plantation” sequence, a controversial addition in Redux that remains here. (The words “kill your darlings” come to mind.) Even so, this is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.
“Apocalypse Now” is a vital, landmark effort from Coppola. This “Final Cut” is a great compromise option for those who want more than the original cut but aren’t able to stomach the 200-plus minute “Redux” edition; especially considering how this includes the “Heart of Darkness” documentary, it’s a must-own new release.
Special Features: Final Cut of the film, Featurettes, and more
Total Box Office: $83,471,511
Major Awards: Won Best Cinematography and Best Sound at the Academy Awards
In honor of this week’s release of “Official Secrets,” the pick today is going to be another effort from director Gavin Hood. It’s “Eye in the Sky,” a political thriller starring Oscar winner Helen Mirren. A return to form for Hood, it’s a compelling and engaging look at the cost of war. Our review here on the site leaned into the fact that this picture was one of the first to tackle the issue of drone warfare:
A very timely and almost unbearably tense military drama/political thriller, Eye in the Sky is the first film I can remember to effectively take on the issue of drone warfare.
Hood’s latest opens on Friday, so revisit his prior political effort first!
OTHER FILMS BEING RELEASED
Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides the sole recommended title in “Apocalypse Now Final Cut”:
“Godzilla: King of the Monsters”
The sequel in the latest franchise of this classic monster, this outing went all in on titans fighting one another. Closer in spirit to the original cheesy efforts, this installment adds a ton of Godzilla’s classic nemeses to the mix. The Associated Press enjoyed it for the silly summer offering that it was:
“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is turn-your-brain-off summer fun, and doesn’t need to be anything more than that.
If you love monster movies and Godzilla, this is one for you.
Box Office: $110,447,025 (and counting)
“The Last Black Man in San Francisco”
One of the most praised movies at the Sundance Film Festival this year, reviews for the drama were through the roof. With an 89% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this an independent title saw a accolades and acclaim across the board. Richard Roeper was a big fan:
This is a gorgeously shot film, alternating between images of San Francisco at its most beautiful and promising, and visuals of the lost and the homeless and the forgotten, who might as well be invisible to the techies…
Another A24 indie hit for your potential purchasing pleasure.
Box Office: $4,515,719 (and counting)
A year after Queen frontman Freddie Mercury received the biopic treatment in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” so too does Elton John with this film. Taron Egerton inhabits John in a fantastical portrait of the musician. Rolling Stone went all in for this one, as you can see:
The young, gay, conflicted and addicted Elton John is brought to life by an electrifying, Oscar-caliber Taron Egerton and Dexter Fletcher’s dazzling cinematic inventiveness. Forget the cliches, this one you don’t want to miss.
John fans already have this one pre-ordered, undoubtedly.
Box Office: $96,155,939 (and counting)
“The Secret Life of Pets 2”
A follow up to the highly entertaining animated romp, this second look at what our pets do when we’re not around widened the scope. While still focusing on the animals’ home life, there’s also more adventures and even more pathos. Variety found it to be an improvement on “The Secret Life of Pets,” writing the following:
Stronger sentiments and higher hijinks elevate this sequel above the original.
This is the family friendly option today, without question.
Box Office: $157,247,465 (and counting)
Special Criterion Collection Section
“The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice”
The first of two options coming to Criterion today is this 1952 vehicle from filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu. A top notch slice-of-life effort, it’s one of the defining works from Ozu. The Collection sells it to audiences like so:
One of the ineffably lovely domestic sagas made by Yasujiro Ozu at the height of his mastery, The Flavor of Green Tea over Rice is a sublimely piercing portrait of a marriage coming quietly undone.
Anyone looking to brush up on their Ozu filmography would do well to pick this one up.
“The Koker Trilogy”
The other option joining the Collection this week is a trio of movies from Abbas Kiarostami. The three films consist of “Where Is the Friend’s House?” from 1987, “And Life Goes On” from 1992, and “Through the Olive Trees” from 1994. Criterion explains the appeal like so:
Abbas Kiarostami first came to international attention for this wondrous, slyly self-referential series of films set in the rural northern-Iranian town of Koker. Poised delicately between fiction and documentary, comedy and tragedy, the lyrical fables in The Koker Trilogy exemplify both the gentle humanism and the playful sleight of hand that define the director’s sensibility. With each successive film, Kiarostami takes us deeper into the behind-the-scenes “reality” of the film that preceded it, heightening our understanding of the complex network of human relationships that sustain both a movie set and a village.
Kiarostami fans will certainly be delighted by this haul!
“Baskets: The Complete Season Four”
“The Flash: The Complete Fifth Season”
“Into the Badlands: The Complete Third Season”
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 13”
“Legion: Season Three”
“A Million Little Things: The Complete First Season”
“Mr. Inbetween: The Complete First Season”
“NCIS: Los Angeles – The Tenth Season”
“The Rookie: The Complete First Season”
“V: The Complete Series”