This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Bad Grandpa, Downton Abbey, Rush …

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

This week: Wake the servants, Downton Abbey doth return; Jackass gets geriatric; and Treme bows out.

DOWNTON ABBEY doesn’t finish its fourth season on PBS until Feb. 23, but if you can’t wait to see how it ends, the whole thing is out on DVD/Blu-ray Tuesday (I don’t get it either, but I’m not complaining). The season picks up six months after Matthew’s fatal joyride, with Mary raising their kid on her own and Edna replacing the departed Miss Crawley down below while the ‘20s start to roar. Shirley MacLaine and Paul Giamatti drop by for the annual Christmas episode. Now that the show has spawned crap like this, it’s due for some heavy backlash soon.

► We all wanted more ‘Jackass,’ but we knew it wouldn’t be easy. These guys aren’t getting any younger, and another movie of insane stunts is a lot to ask for. The death of Ryan Dunn would have hung over things as well, making it far less fun. Solution? Slap the old man make-up on Johnny Knoxville and swipe a page from the Sacha Baron Cohen playbook for BAD GRANDPA – a hidden camera comedy film with a plot. Not only did Knoxville and director Jeff Tremaine pull it off, but we finally live in a world where a Jackass film has an Oscar nomination.

► Ron Howard's weird slump should have ended with RUSH, his true account of the rivalry between race car drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) during the 1976 Formula One season, leading up to the Japanese Grand Prix. Fascinating story of two guys at the peak of their career who genuinely despised each other. Despite the best reviews Howard has seen in awhile, it completely tanked in North America ($27 million).

► It takes balls to intentionally agitate Julian Assange, but that’s just what Disney did with THE FIFTH ESTATE. The thriller based on Assange’s world-changing website WikiLeaks irked its founder so much, he politely asked star Benedict Cumberbatch to ‘reconsider’ doing it after reading the script. I bet Cumberbatch cleaned out all his e-mails and erased his sex tape after that letter. This was supposed to be an ‘All The President’s Men’ for the digital age, but it just didn’t strike the same chord.

► It’s not like the first one lit up the box office, but we got CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 anyway. Pretty much the whole voice cast returns as Flint (Bill Hader) has to clean up Swallow Falls again when his machine starts creating giant ‘foodimals.’ Blu-ray includes four mini-movies.

► David Simon’s TREME bowed out with a shortened five-episode fifth season in December, ending a show as widely ignored as Simon’s ‘The Wire,’ but unlikely to enjoy the same fruitful afterlife. The last stretch picks up in late 2008, with New Orleans feeding off a nation electing its first black president, but still hampered by police corruption and rampant crime. It doesn’t end on a happy note so much as a fitting one, as the surviving characters reflect on their post-Katrina lives.

► Remember that utterly fantastic new take on BONNIE & CLYDE that was so important, it aired on three networks simultaneously in December – A&E, History and Lifetime? Remember how it filled in all the historical gaps and showed us Bonnie Parker was actually a wise-cracking sassypants who robbed the banks alongside Clyde Barrow? That’s just one of countless inaccuracies that drove enthusiasts nuts. Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger star in this ridiculous (but highly-rated) mini-series.

► Of all the nutty things Metallica has done in recent years (St. Anger, that Lou Reed album, shopping at Armani), none seemed more gonzo than THROUGH THE NEVER. Essentially a thriller disguised as a concert movie, this had full potential to be the next ‘KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.’ Instead it was a violent, Lynchian mindbender with genuinely scorching live footage or ‘Talica classics like One, Master of Puppets and Creeping Death.

Also out this week:





About the Author

238 Articles Published