This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Elysium, Kick-Ass 2, The Lone Ranger ...
This week: The summer misfits have arrived - Elysium, The Lone Ranger, Kick-Ass 2, Percy Jackson, etc.
► All it takes is seeing “From the director of District 9” on the blu-ray cover of ELYSIUM to explain why this was one of summer’s biggest disappointments. Where Neil Bloomkamp made a thoughtful, original sci-fi classic last time (with fantastic action to boot), the follow-up feels overwrought and familiar, making its commentary less subtle and certainly less engaging. It simply isn’t as fun or well-made as ‘District 9,’ despite a strong turn from Matt Damon as a dying man plotting to invade the secure space station which has the cure. There’s a whole lot more going on, of course, including Jodie Foster as the station’s corrupt secretary of defense, but much of it feels annoyingly similar to the recent ‘Oblivion,’ whereas ‘District 9’ felt like nothing we’ve seen in years. I suspect this will be a blip on Bloomkamp’s filmography – this guy has far better movies than this in him.
► It is never a good omen when your biggest star is distancing himself from your movie right before it opens. Sickened by the violence, Jim Carrey wanted nothing to do with KICK-ASS 2 after the Sandy Hook school shootings, and while it’s convenient to develop a conscience after you got your check, his condemnation cut to the bone with this needless sequel: It’s a bloodbath based on a subpar book which abused the premise and fun factor of the original. Mark Millar’s writing pushes the boundaries in comics, and it came back to bite him with this movie, even with some of the more graphic scenes removed.
► Between ‘Elysium,’ ‘Kick-Ass 2’ and now THE LONE RANGER, this is officially ‘Summer Box Office Bomb’ week. They didn’t get much bigger than this Disney disaster, pumped as another ‘Pirates’-calibre franchise but dead on arrival to audiences who saw through the ho hum trailers. Pushing Johnny Depp as the star didn’t help, not when he’s playing Tonto, and the endless CGI just doesn’t work in westerns. One of those huge disasters people point to when warning the era of the blockbuster is coming to an end – the hits are too far apart, the bombs can cripple a studio.
► And the parade of 2013 bombs continues this week with THE FAMILY, the latest throwaway from Robert De Niro in-between fluke Oscar nominations. He’s a mafia boss in witness protection with his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and kids. Don’t suppose some of his old cronies track him down, do you? Don’t suppose this is an entire movie of in-jokes? Another headscratcher from Luc Besson.
► Like Hugh Jackman didn’t go through enough hell in ‘The Wolverine.’ In the grim thriller PRISONERS, he’s a dad whose daughter is one of two girls abducted in Pennsylvania. With only so much help coming from the detective (Jake Gyllenhaal), he decides to kidnap and torture the main suspect: A mentally challenged man with the IQ of a ten-year-old. Dark, unsettling and not very Christmasy … but this is your best bet this week.
► Now that ‘Breaking Bad’ is gone, JUSTIFIED just gets that much closer to being the best thing on TV. Season 4 finds U.S. Marshal and dad-to-be Raylan Givens hoping to score a few notches on his career by uncovering the identity of a mystery man who screwed over the mob in Detroit 30 years earlier and ushered in organized crime in Harlan County. Problem is, Raylan’s nemesis Boyd Crowder is also digging into the mystery, in hopes of gaining leeway with the Detroit mob. The dialogue crackles as always. Season 5 starts Jan. 7.
► Why it took Fox so long to release full seasons of FAMILY GUY is a question 2007 can answer. They’ve finally come to their senses, releasing the entire 10th season earlier this year (Vol. 11), and now comes all 22 episodes of Season 11. In case you’re wondering, this doesn’t have the episode Brian dies (that’ll be the next boxed set), but it does have the time traveling 200th episode in which Stewie and Brian need to set things right before Stewie is unborn.
► Seriously, did the studios get together and agree on the week before Christmas to dump their duds on blu-ray and DVD? PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS is even more bizarre, since it’s a sequel to a movie that already tanked. Everyone pretty much agreed this was better than the first, but it did even worse. There are three more Rick Riordian books in the series – Fox was hoping this would be their Harry Potter, but a third movie looks unlikely.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!