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You are here: Community Film Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for November 6, 2020

Blu-ray/DVD Roundup for November 6, 2020

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Welcome to another look at highlights coming your way on Blu-ray and DVD. This edition features plenty of interesting stuff available in a wide variety of genres ranging from horror to comedy. So, since you can’t or likely shouldn’t be going out to the movies this week, be sure to give one of these titles a try!

BIG NEW RELEASES!

ANTEBELLUM: In this horror film, a renowned sociologist and successful author begins a tour of Louisiana to promote her new book. She starts to experience strange events and finds herself trapped in a bizarre and terrifying reality on a nearby plantation. As the protagonist struggles to find a way out of the ordeal, she is forced to confront her past, present and future. This chiller didn’t make a positive impression on critics.

There was a small contingent that thought the movie was eerie, had a potent message and was impressively shot. However, the majority found that while they admired what was being attempted, the execution of the story was clumsy and the film itself was ineffective. It stars Janelle Monáe, Eric Lange, Jena Malone, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons and Gabourey Sidibe.

THE ARGUMENT: While hosting a party at their home, a young couple gets into a heated argument. The fallout continues in the following days and soon their guests step in to try and help resolve the disagreement. They decide to recreate the event to get more insight into the problem, but quickly start bickering about what happened … so they ultimately  hire performers to re-enact the scenario. This independent comedy earned decent notices.

A small group thought that it was funny in spots, but didn’t care for the characters and found the story repetitive. However, most stated that this was an intriguing and unique flick and that its hilarious final act made up for any slow spots. The cast includes Dan Fogler, Emma Bell, Maggie Q, Danny Pudi, Tyler James Williams and Cleopatra Coleman.

BLACKBIRD: A family matriarch with Lou Gehrig’s disease decides to call her entire family together for one last celebration. She and her husband plan on an emotional but rewarding final weekend with their kids. However, tensions begin to arise as old and unresolved issues between the woman and her adult daughters are laid bare. This drama received more positive reviews than negative ones.

Those who disliked it said that there was plenty of material to work with, but that in the end the movie skirted the questions it raised and instead resorted to melodrama. Slightly more suggested that the cast was so engaging and wonderful to watch that it made up for any narrative shortcomings. The movie features Sam Neill, Susan Sarandon, Anson Boon, Kate Winslet, Rainn Wilson and Mia Wasikowska.

I AM WOMAN: The famous singer/songwriter/activist Helen Reddy is the subject of this biopic. It opens in 1966 with the Australian single mother arriving in New York City with only $230 in her pocket and an unstoppable drive to start a musical career. Over the course of the following decades, she writes and records hit records with a feminist theme, while also battling a substance abuse problem. Reception toward this drama was positive overall.

A fair number of reviews commented that the movie was too reliant on dramatic clichés and could have benefited from a more energetic storytelling approach. Still, more critics felt that the lead performance was excellent and made up for the script’s formulaic elements. The cast includes Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Danielle Macdonald, Evan Peters and Matty Cardarople.

LAKE MICHIGAN MONSTER: After an abomination known as the Lake Michigan Monster attack kills a lighthouse keeper, his son vows revenge on the beast. Some time later, and now an eccentric ship captain, the protagonist ventures out onto the lake with weapons and a crew in order to hunt down and destroy the creature. Shot in black and white, this independent horror/comedy has been playing at film festivals over the past year to a very positive response. One or two couldn’t get onto its wavelength and complained that the movie ran out of gas quickly.

Yet everyone else has called it a very stylish, high-energy blast of a film that tonally captures the feeling of a B-movie, while impressing viewers with plenty of wild visuals. Ryland Brickson Cole Tews leads the cast and also serves as writer/director.

LET’S SCARE JULIE: This independent feature is told in one unbroken shot. The story involves a group of cruel students who set out to frighten their reclusive new teenage neighbor who has moved into a creepy home across the street. The plan quickly falls apart when two group members head out to the eerie house and then don’t return. The press didn’t take to this horror flick.

One or two were impressed by the single shot, handheld camerawork and stated that the technique helped establish a creepy mood. Still, all others groused about the writing, commenting that the characters weren’t distinctive and that a weak ending really hurt the movie. It stars Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson, Isabel May, Odessa A’zion, Brooke Sorenson, Jessica Sarah Flaum and Dakota Baccelli.

MISBEHAVIOR: This British comedy/drama tells the story of the 1970 Miss World competition in London. At the time this beauty pageant was the most watched program in the world, averaging about 100 million viewers. The story involves a group who asserted that the event objectified women.  It follows these protestors as they set out to disrupt the show and cause humorous chaos in the process.

Critics had a good time with this feature. There were a few who thought it would have made a better documentary and suffered from being too pleasant and lighthearted in tone. However, the majority said that while it didn’t dig deep into its subject, it was a hoot to watch, featuring wonderful performances and plenty of laughs. Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jessie Buckley, Greg Kinnear, Lesley Manville and Rhys Ifans headline the film.

THEY REACH: Watch out for old cassettes collecting dust in your basement or garage! This horror picture is set in 1979 and involves a girl who finds a tape and decides to play it. The item releases a demon that not only starts to haunt and manipulate the youngster’s family, but also begins dragging the entire town to Hell. This title played a few film festivals over the past year, but looks to be premiering on disc.

As of right now, there aren’t many critic reviews available. However, a few have popped up online and the response has been reasonable. A few have called it a low-budget, amateurish knock-off of Netflix’s Stranger Things, but several also admit that it works well enough as a nostalgia piece and is a reasonably effective little homegrown thriller. It features Mary Madaline Roe, Eden Campbell and Morgan Chandler.

WORST CHRISTMAS EVER.: A small-town teenager goes through a particularly rough holiday season after learning that she is pregnant and that her boyfriend has been cheating on her. The lead’s self-involved parents are no help either, leaving the teen to confide in her friends. After some conversation, she decides to steal her grandpa’s gun and use it to confront her boyfriend and give him a scare. Along the way to her grandfather’s home, things begin to spiral out of control as the teen discovers that everyone in town is also going through major dilemmas.

This low-budget indie feature is debuting on disc and there are no reviews currently available for it. So far, no one can say if it’s an amusing holiday present or something that should be left unopened. Raychael Lane and Chase Crawford headline the film.

BLASTS FROM THE PAST!

If you enjoy animated features, Shout! factory has a few coming your way that were all nominated for Academy Awards. The first Blu-ray is for the French feature, A Cat in Paris (2010). This is a hand-drawn movie about a Parisian cat who lives a secret life at night. When the feline’s owner gets targeted by gangsters, the heroic animal must save her. The movie arrives with a making-of short, a video flipbook of the title character and a trailer. You’ll also get the original French with English subtitles, as well as an English audio track.

CHICO & RITA (2010): is a Spanish film set in Cuba during the 1940s. It’s about a piano player and singer who fall in love and try to survive a long journey filled with heartbreak as they leave their home and try to make it in the U.S.. Extras on this Blu-ray include an audio commentary with the directors, a making-of and theatrical trailers.

The Irish film The Secret of Kells (2009) is also arriving on Blu-ray. Celtic mythology is used in this medieval tale about a young boy who finds a magical book. He then befriends wolf-girl, hoping that these incredible discoveries will help him save his village from invading forces. This Blu-ray includes a commentary with the co-directors and art director, voice recording sessions with the cast, a pencil to picture featurette, footage from the Oscars.

Kino has a couple of Blu-rays arriving as well that feature John Wayne. The first is the Marlene Dietrich/John Wayne rom-com Seven Sinners (1940), which finds its leads at a saloon in the Pacific falling for one another. It comes with a film historian commentary and a trailer. The second is the adventure flick, The Shepherd of the Hills (1941), in which Wayne leads a family of moonshiners and falls for a woman with a curse. Bonuses are the same as for the previous title.

Sony is continuing to reach into its catalog and find more titles to release on Blu-ray. This week it’s the Robin Williams comedy, Man of the Year (2006), about a political talk show host who decides on a presidential run to earn higher ratings ... and then wins the election. The disc includes a couple of featurettes about the production.

If you happen to shop for Blu-rays at Best Buy, they are offering a couple of new Steelbooks exclusive to their stores. The first is of the popular musical Grease (1978), a Paramount title which has been given a new 4K transfer and comes with the same bonuses from previous editions. The second Steelbook Blu-ray is a 4K edition of the LionsGate superhero flick, Kick-Ass (2010).

Finally, Warner Archive is releasing a Blu-ray of The Mortal Storm (1940) with Margaret Sullavan and Jimmy Stewart. It’s about a family living in the German Alps as Nazis come to power and how the strain of the situation slowly begins to pull them all apart.

YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS!

There are a few titles arriving this week for kids to enjoy. Here are just a few examples ...

A Cat in Paris (2010) Shout!

Josie and the Pussycats: The Complete Series (1970 - 1971) Warner Archive

The Secret of Kells (2009)

ON THE TUBE!

And you’ll find all of the TV-themed releases listed below.

Age of Nature (PBS)

Catherine the Great: An HBO Limited Series

The Crown: Season 3

Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection 4K

Josie and the Pussycats: The Complete Series (1970 - 1971) Warner Archive

Masterpiece - Victoria: The Complete Seasons 1, 2 & 3 (PBS)

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: The Complete Collection - 3 Seasons, 1 Movie

When Hope Calls: Season 1 (Hallmark)

VISIT: WWW.CINEMASTANCE.COM

By Glenn Kay
For the Sun