10 NEW TO NETFLIX
6 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD
Those of you who follow this column regularly (and thank you for your support) know that it’s general purpose is to call your attention to things you may not know are out on Blu-ray or DVD or haven’t even heard of that this critic thinks you should watch. In other words, it’s more of a “highlights” column than a purely informational one. However, I make a few exceptions for titles for which I know I am in the minority on that I think you, dear reader, may want to buy or rent. And I’m sure there are at least dozens of you who will be excited to learn that the latest MCU juggernaut is on Blu-ray, and you don’t care that I pretty much hated this movie. You don’t care that I think it’s noisy and really only half a movie. You just want to see your favorite heroes in HD. Now you can. And it should be noted that this is a very strong Blu-ray release with excellent video and audio transfers. It booms and shines. I just wished I liked the movie as much as you did.
The Mad Titan
Beyond the Battle: Titan
Beyond the Battle: Wakanda
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Audio Commentary by Anthony and Joe Russo, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
It’s always interesting to me to watch a genre pic build legitimate buzz through the festival circuit without the backing of a studio, hooky concept, or recognizable cast. One of those films in 2017-18 was “Lowlife,” which I saw as a part of my coverage of last year’s Fantasia Film Festival. It already had a bit of buzz then, but I kept seeing it pop up in genre and regional festivals throughout the year, and it was fun to see audiences take to it (even if our very own Nick Allen didn’t quite in our theatrical review). Yes, some of its topical flourishes are a bit too blunt and its form can sometimes dominate its content, but “Lowlife” is clearly the kind of movie that grows a cult following over time. Rent it before someone tell you that you should.
Audio Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Ryan Prows and Cinematographer Benjamin Kitchens
Audio Commentary with Ryan Prows and Writers Tim Cairo, Jake Gibson and Shaye Ogbonna
Speaking of movies that could become cult hits, I think an audience will find the underrated “Marrowbone,” the directorial debut of the writer of J.A. Bayona’s phenomenal “The Orphanage.” “Marrowbone” shares some DNA with that film in that it’s about orphaned children and contains a twist both unexpected and heartbreaking. A strong young cast that includes Anya Taylor-Joy (“Thoroughbreds“) Charlie Heaton (“Stranger Things”) and Mia Goth (“A Cure For Wellness”) anchors a film that is part period drama and part haunted house movie. The four Marrowbone children are left orphaned after fleeing their criminal father and losing their mother to illness. They vow to stick together…no matter what. The script is a bit too twisty for its own good, but the technical elements here are incredibly strong, including the art direction of an old house that feels like it has a story to tell.
Marrowbone Behind the Scenes
Visual Effects Reel
Ian McEwan’s thin novel was turned into a sometimes disappointing drama earlier this year, but it’s worth seeing as a rental purely for the performances by Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle. The two talented performers play a young couple on the verge of the sexual revolution, afraid to speak to one another about what they need (or don’t want) in the bedroom. Some of McEwan’s social commentary feels diluted a bit here, and the epilogue is particularly mishandled, but there are enough moments of pure acting power to justify a look.
The Story Behind On Chesil Beach
When Chloe Zhao was filming “Songs my Brothers Taught Me,” she met Brady Jandreau, who advised on the horse scenes in that film. She became fascinated with his life and story, adapting it into this semi-biographical tale that not only stars the non-actor, but his father and sister as well. Brady plays a young man who has to give up his dreams of being a rodeo cowboy after a horrible accident nearly kills him. With documentary levels of versimilitude, Zhao and Jandreau break down the myth of the American slogan of “Cowboy Up,” and its general uselessness. It’s heartbreaking and gorgeous, although Sony has chosen only to release it on DVD for some reason. Criterion, go pick this one up and give it the HD treatment it deserves.
Another of the year’s best indies, and another movie this site gave four stars, DOES land on Blu-ray this month (and the HD transfer is breathtaking) in Lucrecia Martel’s phenomonal adaptation of the book of the same name. Daniel Gimenez Cacho plays Don Diego de Zama, a corregidor stuck in a remote South American location. He keeps waiting for a better assignment, eventually learning the futility of hope. Zhao’s approach is breathtaking, finding both humor and cultural commentary and soul-crushing drama in the same beats. It’s a gorgeous film that is alternately hysterical (Cacho gives a wonderfully deadpan performance) and lyrical. It’s one of the best films of 2018.
Original Theatrical Trailer