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New Blu-ray/DVD Releases (01/24/17) – Horror Heroine Kazan

Zoe Kazan

This week, the slate of Blu-ray and DVD titles being released takes a step in the right direction. The highlights include some of the finest recent work from Zoe Kazan and one of the best foreign releases of 2016. With that being said, let’s see what the full slate has in store.

PICK OF THE WEEK

The Monster

Zoe Kazan gives one of the best performances by an actress in a modern horror movie here. She is absolutely transcendent in what’s as much a character study as a fright flick. Furthermore, she just continues to show why she’s criminally underrated in the industry. Kazan is always reliable, but she ups her game here for filmmaker Bryan Bertino. Here’s a bit from our review at the time:

Female stars of horror films are often pigeonholed into being depicted as just scream queens. When they supersede that, there’s rightly tons of acclaim. With any luck, Zoe Kazan will be joining those ranks for her work in “The Monster.” This is the type of performance that you find yourself in awe of when the credits roll.

By focusing on addiction and parenting as much as terror, the stakes are incredibly high. Especially if you like horror, this is a must-see for Kazan alone. Bertino’s solid work behind the camera is just a bonus.

Special Features: Featurette
Total Box Office: $12,544
Major Awards: None

Recommended Movie(s)

The Light Between Oceans

This would-be epic romantic melodrama seemed at one time like a surefire Academy Award contender. This is largely due to its cast and crew, which is to die for, led by Michael FassbenderAlicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz. Then, it began screening and everyone came to realize that this would be a cut below awards worthiness. From our review back in the fall:

A film full of class, and one of the most aesthetically beautiful films to grace the screens this year, Derek Cianfrance’s ‘The Light Between Oceans’ manages some tender and enchanting moments. With that said, it stumbles and falters in certain executions of character motivation and generic story structure.

There’s enough to like here in order to warrant a recommendation. Just keep your expectations for Derek Cianfrance‘s latest in check.

Special Features: Audio Commentary and Featurettes
Total Box Office: $12,545,979
Major Awards: None

Vintage Viewing

In honor of this week’s release of “A Dog’s Purpose,” we’ll be citing another pet-related tearjerker. It’s “Marley & Me,” which is perhaps an even sadder would-be family tale. In lieu of a quote from a review, here is a bit from its inclusion on our list of the 10 best modern love stories (full article here), which said, in part:

For most of the running time, it’s a solid yet unspectacular look at a marriage and the havoc a crazy dog brings to the couple’s life. Then, in the third act, reality sets in.

This movie will absolutely wreck you, especially if you’ve ever had a pet. It’s understandably a film that not everyone can watch. If you can handle both though, this will certainly prepare you for this new release in a very notable way.

Other Films Being Released

Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides Kazan and her film:

The Handmaiden

For many, this is the foreign film of 2016, more so than “Elle” or “Toni Erdmann.” An erotic thriller and offbeat mystery from Park Chan-wook, it’s been a critical favorite. Our review on the site was certainly positive, as it began like so:

The twisted mind of Park Chan-wook returns with ‘The Handmaiden,’ a violently sensuous costume drama set in 1930s Korea. Adapted from Sarah Waters’ Victorian era caper novel, “Fingersmith,” “The Handmaiden” intersects the bourgeoisie aura of Western high society with the East’s tranquil yet honorable passivity. What emerges is a bloodbath pitting two lovers against the deplorable nature of male hegemony.

It’s not up for Best Foreign Language Feature, but this is probably a must-own for many, regardless.

Box Office: $1,961,089 (and counting)

Inferno

Did this franchise really need to continue? Surely Tom Hanks and Ron Howard had better things to do and less obvious paychecks to cash? Along for the ride this time is Felicity Jones, wasted as well. Rolling Stone rightfully put out this pan:

Hanks is one of the most likable actors on the planet. But ‘Inferno’ just lays there onscreen, pancake-flat and with no animating spark to make us give a damn.

Pass.

Box Office: $34,343,574 (and counting)

USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage

What an odd concept this film has. Nicolas Cage stars in basically a retelling of the famous Indianapolis scene from “Jaws.” The Hollywood Reporter felt like it was a wasted effort, however, writing:

This slapdash war movie doesn’t do justice to its compelling subject matter.

Another misfire for Cage, it seems.

Box Office: N/A

Special Criterion Collection Section

Black Girl

Underappreciated African filmmaker Ousmane Sembène joins the collection today. Here’s a recent rave from the Seattle Times:

A remarkable personal-is-political drama, set in barely postcolonial Senegal and France.

Give it a look!

TV Releases

“Agatha Christie’s Criminal Games”
“The Code: Season 2”
“Crime Scene Cleaner: Season 2”
“Hooperman: Season 1”
“Hooperman: Season 2”
“Sherlock: Season Four”

Thoughts on what to watch this week on Blu-ray or DVD? Share them in the comments below!

What do you think?

72 points
Film Lover

Written by Joey Magidson

When he’s not obsessing over new Oscar predictions on a weekly basis, Joey is seeing between 300 and 350 movies a year. He views the best in order to properly analyze the awards race/season each year, but he also watches the worst for reasons he mostly sums up as "so you all don't have to". In his spare time, you can usually find him complaining about the Jets or the Mets. Still, he lives and dies by film. Joey's a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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