This week’s releases include a unique horror movie; a debate about reincarnation; a surprising revenge film; criminals in a cage; lessons in manhood; the latest adventures of space and time; and number of older movies dealing with love, greed and life-altering quests.
Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (Blu-ray & Digital)
Our intrepid adolescent heroes wake up to find their beloved television stolen, and embark on an epic journey across America to recover it and, who knows, maybe even score. On the way, they encounter a murderous smuggler of a deadly virus and his treacherous wife, an FBI agent with a predilection for cavity searches, a couple of rather familiar looking ex-Motley Crue roadies, Mr. Van Dreesen singing ‘Lesbian Seagull’, a little old lady, and of course Mr. Anderson and his trailer. Can the Great Cornholio save the day? Uh-huh. Huh-huh.
It’s shocking to think this movie was released 25 years ago. The popular animated series was a late-night staple for the MTV generation and creator Mike Judge managed to make a film that didn’t just feel like an extended episode. Yet, the movie still incorporates series regulars, as well as the crude jokes that audiences found so amusing. It’s difficult to pinpoint what made the pair of Neanderthals so appealing, except that writer’s found the right balance between toilet humour and ludicrously stupid. The soundtrack was a big part of the picture with the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Love Rollercoaster” moving up the music charts. Some of the funniest interactions are the misunderstandings they have as they repeatedly run into a travelling little old lady who has no idea they’re misinterpreting everything she says. The bonus features include some interesting discussions about the production and concessions made to get the movie released.
Special features include: commentary by Mike Judge and Yvette Kaplan; “The Big Picture”; “We’re Gonna Score! Scoring Beavis & Butt-head Do America”; “The Smackdown”; “MTV News: Celebrity Shorts”; TV spots; and trailers. (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Bedtime Story (Blu-ray)
The caddish Freddy Benson (Marlon Brando) enjoys setting up elaborate ruses to seduce women. The suave Lawrence Jameson (David Niven) likes to pose as a prince to swindle the wealthy. When the two men meet, each perceives the other as an interloper and a threat. Upon the arrival of vacationing soap heiress Janet Walker (Shirley Jones), the two sweet-talking scoundrels compete to trick her out of both her clothes and her fortune.
This movie is the basis for the 1988 remake, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which was remade again in 2019 as The Hustle. Though both men make their living by seducing women, they have very different methods. Freddy jumps from woman to woman, taking advantage until it becomes inconvenient, at which point he lies his way out and moves on to the next mark. It’s all very short-sighted and generally immature. In contrast, Lawrence woos rich, upper-class women, building relationships and gradually accepting wealth they freely give to him. Consequently, he lives a lavish, carefree lifestyle… until Freddy enters the picture. Freddy blackmails Lawrence into letting him in on his action, which results in a ridiculous ruse involving a wheelchair and absurd treatment methods. While most people are likely more acquainted with the Steve Martin/Michael Caine version, this earlier one is at least equally amusing.
Special features include: commentary by film historians Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson; and theatrical trailers. (Kino Lorber Studio Classics)
Copshop (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)
Screaming through the Nevada desert in a bullet-ridden Crown Vic, wily con artist Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo) hatches a desperate plan to hide out from lethal hitman Bob Viddick (Gerard Butler): he sucker-punches rookie officer, Valerie Young (Alexis Louder), to get himself arrested and locked up in a small-town police station. But jail can’t protect Murretto for long. Viddick schemes his own way into detention, biding his time in a nearby cell until he can complete his mission. When the arrival of a competing assassin (Toby Huss) ignites all-out mayhem, mounting threats force Viddick to get creative if he wants to finish the job and escape the explosive situation.
At first this sounds like an Assault on Precinct 13 situation, but most of the attacks are initiated from within the station’s walls. Therefore, those being hunted must rely on the building’s size, bulletproof rooms and technology. The history between the criminals allows for some unexpected banter as they alternate between trying to make deals and threatening each other. However, there’s no question the badass in this story is Valerie Young — she’s quick on her feet, foolishly brave and an excellent shot. One thing can be said about everyone in this picture: they’re all very determined to kill each other, survive or both. It’s a bit drawn out as it seems like everyone takes the long way around, but it eventually ends the way it should.
There are no special features. (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
Cry Macho (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Mike (Clint Eastwood), a one-time rodeo star and washed-up horse breeder, takes a job from an ex-boss (Dwight Yoakam) to bring the man’s young son, Rafo (Eduardo Minett), home, away from his alcoholic mother. Crossing rural Mexico on their way back to Texas, the unlikely pair face an unexpectedly challenging journey, during which the world-weary horseman may find his own sense of redemption through teaching the boy what it means to be a good man.
Eastwood’s action movie days may be over, but now he’s using his time to make heartfelt dramas about showing boys how to be good men. Mike has lived a long life, spending some of it at the top and now finding himself on the bottom. But he’s a wiser man for it and he understands what’s important in life — a lesson he attempts to impart on a boy who’s had a difficult time of it thus far. Rafo believes it’s a man’s job to be tough… macho, while Mike tries to show him connecting with people is more important. Eastwood can’t really get away from himself, but his typical persona works very well in this narrative. When he speaks, it’s because he has something to say; he doesn’t waste his breath. In the meantime, Rafo is a little misguided but still likeable, so audiences hope he heeds Mike’s advice.
Special features include: making-of featurette; and “Macho and the Mustangs.” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Harold and Maude (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Harold (Bud Cort) is a death-obsessed teen who falls for Maude (Ruth Gordon), a happy-go-lucky, eccentric 79-year-old. To a lilting Yusuf/Cat Stevens soundtrack, Maude teaches Harold a valuable lesson about making the most of his time on earth.
This is one of the most unusual romances as it occurs between a teenage boy and an elderly woman nearly five times his age. Harold is a strange boy, though his mother pretends to be blind to his peculiarities. Instead, she insists he date and tries to set him up with a number of young women, most of whom he chases away with his morbid antics. Maude, in the meantime, is the freest spirit, doing what she wants when she wants with no fear of consequences or what people think. Consequently, her favourite pastime is “borrowing” any car she hasn’t driven before. Thus, it’s not entirely surprising these two eccentrics find comfort with each other, though their expectations for this unconventional relationship differ greatly — a fact Harold struggles to accept. In spite of the age difference, there’s an inescapable appeal to their adventures, perhaps because they’re both entirely themselves when they’re together.
Special features include: commentary with Larry Karaszewski and Cameron Crowe; Yusuf/Cat Stevens on Harold and Maude; and theatrical trailers. (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Infinite (4K Ultra HD & Digital copy)
For Evan McCauley (Mark Wahlberg), skills he has never learned and memories of places he has never visited haunt his daily life. Self-medicated and on the brink of a mental breakdown, Evan is sought by a secret group that call themselves “Infinites,” revealing to him that his memories may be real — but they are from multiple past lives. The Infinites bring Evan into their extraordinary world, where a gifted few are given the ability to be reborn with their memories and knowledge accumulated over centuries. With critical secrets buried in his past, Evan must work with the Infinites to unlock the answers in his memories in a race against time to save humanity from Bathurst (Chiwetel Ejiofor), one of their own who seeks to end all life and stop what he views as the cursed, endless cycle of reincarnation.
Reincarnation is a popular belief in some cultures, as well as fiction, with some people claiming they can access the memories of their previous selves. Unfortunately for Evan, he’s unable to accept or cope with the emergence of these recollections and instead believes he’s crazy, so he takes medication to suppress all thoughts not from the present. The Infinites aren’t instantly able to convince Evan of his place amongst their order, but extreme measures — and Nora (Sophie Cookson) — bring it all flooding back. Bathurst represents the opposite camp and he’s ruthless in his commitment to making this the last life anyone lives. While the concept does offer some interesting opportunities for period sets, most of them are ignored for a fairly straightforward action movie.
Special features include: “They Call Themselves Infinites”; “The Kinetic Action of Infinite”; “Anatomy of a Scene — Police Station and Forest”; and “Infinite Time.” (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Malignant (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Madison Mitchell (Annabelle Wallis) is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities.
When not making action movies, director James Wan maintained his connection to the horror genre with a number of haunted house pictures. But with this film, he returns to his roots with an original concept horror thriller. There is a monster that invades Madison’s home before embarking on a murder spree that she witnesses in real-time in spite of it occurring in another location. She can’t explain what’s happening and the police are skeptical of how she’s obtained the knowledge of these grisly crimes. While audiences may figure out the story’s mystery, it doesn’t take away from the exceptional practical and CGI effects that bring the terror to life. Wan creates a very tense and unnerving atmosphere in which his completely creepy tale unfolds — including an exceptional overhead tracking shot that follows Madison through the house — once again demonstrating he has not lost his knack for genre film.
Special features include: “Malignant: James Wan’s Visions.” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Rick and Morty: The Complete Fifth Season steelbook (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
The hit comedy series follows a sociopathic genius scientist who drags his inherently timid grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe. Rick Sanchez is living with his daughter Beth’s family and constantly bringing her, his son-in-law Jerry, granddaughter Summer and grandson Morty into intergalactic escapades.
Fans were glad to have less of a wait between this season and the last one, though some of these stories may not measure up in comparison. This season is very sexually charged with several episodes revolving around promiscuity, curiosity and reproduction. It begins with the very bizarre tale of Rick’s never-before-mentioned best friend who has some interesting powers and strange sexual appeal. Morty actually has one of many solo adventures this season, which forever alters his relationship with Jessica. Other episodes include an endless string of clones of the entire family; a Voltron parody; a tribute to Hellraiser; a romantic spin-off of Captain Planet; and a full-on anime episode. After unseen attempts to restore Birdperson to his former glory, Rick takes a trip into his friend’s mind, revealing unknown tidbits about their past. It should also be said the show’s characters — particularly its teens — have had a disturbing number of unwanted children.
Special features include: making-of season five; “Inside the Episode”; “B-Story Generator Vol. 1”; “B-Story Generator Vol. 2”; “Backgrounds”; “Animation and Compositing”; “Coloring Rick and Morty”; “Directing ‘Mortyplicity’”; “Directing ‘Rickmurai Jack’”; and “Season 5 Hype.” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
South of Heaven (Blu-ray)
Convicted felon Jimmy (Jason Sudeikis) gets early parole after serving twelve years for armed robbery. Upon his release, he vows to give his girlfriend Annie (Evangeline Lilly), who is dying of cancer, the best last year of her life. But things are never that simple, and when he is given a “side job” from his parole officer (Shea Whigham), it sets off a series of events that leaves Jimmy in the crosshairs of a local crime boss (Mike Colter). Now, he must stop at nothing to save Annie and fight for whatever time they have left.
This is a movie that unexpectedly exceeds expectations after flying under the radar of this year’s releases. Jimmy pleads his case to get parole, only to realize living on the outside is more difficult than prison and with more to lose. Thus, a horrible error results in a potentially fatal feud with a very resourceful crime boss. Though the details of Jimmy’s past are never fully outlined, he was clearly more than just a thief and is not about to let this mistake ruin his life if they can’t come to a peaceful agreement. Sudeikis joins the ranks of male actors trying out action heroism late in their careers and the comedian proves surprisingly convincing as the straight man who knows his way around a gun.
Special features include: making-of featurette; and “Meet the Cast.” (RLJE Films)
The Ultimate Avatar: The Legend of Aang & The Legend of Korra Complete Blu-ray Collection (Blu-ray)
Experience the complete Avatar saga with Aang and Korra. From the discovery of Avatar Aang in the iceberg in Avatar: The Last Airbender to Korra’s heroic journey to set things right in Republic City through The Legend of Korra, relive all the epic air-, earth-, water- and fire-bending in the ultimate Avatar collection.
Each season of Avatar is named after one of the elements Aang must master and then primarily consists of his quest to find a suitable master to teach him. As the first season is water, Katara is equally anxious to go to the North Pole and train with their sister tribe, but there are numerous stops to help people or avoid the Fire Nation, who are their fiercest enemies. Prince Zuko is determined to capture the Avatar in order to reconcile with his father, who, in the meantime, has taken up a war with all the nations in search of total supremacy. Years later, in the series’ sequel, Korra exhibits signs of being the Avatar reborn. With training, she becomes an unstoppable force who at 16 must shoulder the responsibility of her birthright. In just book one, she leaves her home, falls in love, is imprisoned, leads a rebellion and faces an identity crisis. Each 30-minute episode is gripping and visually attractive, making it easy to get lost in a marathon of needing to see what happens next. And although the narrative of super-humans vs. humans is a common one, this series has a fascinating take on it.
Special features include: commentary on select episodes; auditory exploration with the Avatarverse creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko; a conversation with Janet Varney and Dante Basco, hosts of “Avatar: Braving the Elements” podcast; making-of featurettes; original uncut animatic, “The Avatar State”; behind-the-scenes featurettes; “The Women of Avatar: The Last Airbender”; scene bending animatics; and more. (Paramount Home Entertainment)
The Wolf of Wall Street steelbook(4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Sex. Money. Power. Drugs. Brace yourself for an outrageous true story. Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a young stockbroker hungry for a life of non-stop thrills, where corruption was king and more was never enough. His rise to power earned him the title “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
In 2013, director Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio reunited for the fifth time in their careers. Based on a novel that was inspired by insane, real-life experiences of a shady stockbroker, this movie portrays a character with no boundaries and who trains his staff to act similarly. Jordan is crass and ruthless with no sense of consequences that money can’t fix — until his marriage fails, his company comes under government scrutiny and his substance abuse problem nearly causes an irreversible accident. DiCaprio delivers a performance unlike any other and is still impressive to this day, as is Jonah Hill’s portrayal as the VP of this ticking time bomb. There’s no other film like it, though in light of information and movies like The Big Short, which also features Margot Robbie, it’s disconcerting to know Jordan was able operate as long as he did.
Special features include: “The Wolf Pack”; “Running Wild”; and “The Wolf of Wall Street Round Table.” (Paramount Home Entertainment)