This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Captain America Civil War, Conjuring 2

Last Updated on July 31, 2021

This Week: Marvel hits its peak with Captain America: Civil War, 30 years of Aliens, and The Conjuring 2 ain’t the usual horror sequel.

► Taken as one big saga, the Marvel universe of movies all led to CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. It took everything great about all of them, added a fresh layer, and then laid one jaw-dropping sequence after another on you – seriously, the airport parking lot battle has to be the most thrilling moment I’ve felt in a theatre in years. But if spectacle was all that’s needed, DC would have caught up by now. It’s the years of characterization that mattered, so that when Cap and Iron Man throw down, there was real emotion involved. The stakes felt real. Just the fact these movies can still deliver at this level is a miracle and sweet vindication for life-long Marvel fans who could only dream of seeing this stuff. Packed blu-ray includes the two-part doc ‘United We Stand, Divided We Fall,’ the Iron Man extra ‘Road to Civil War,’ commentary from directors Anthony and Joe Russo and a sneak peak at ‘Doctor Strange.’

► Bucking the trend of crappy horror sequels, THE CONJURING 2 sends Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) to London to help a single mom with four kids being tormented by a spirit trying to reclaim his house (The Enfield Poltergeist, which made British headlines in the late ‘70s). Complicating matters, Lorraine has a vision of Ed’s death. As in the first film, the ‘true story’ is a load of bunk, but director James Wan skillfully serves up the scares while offering a horror rarity – two characters we care about. Blu-ray includes a talk with the actual people involved in the Enfield case, a closer look at the film’s well-crafted jolts, and deleted scenes.

► Pretty much the funniest movie to make no money this year, the mockumentary POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING has Andy Samberg as the Bieber-like Conner4Real – lead singer of a boy band whose solo career goes spectacularly wrong. A savagely funny send-up of modern pop music, complete with songs like ‘Turn Up the Beef’ and ‘Hey Ya Ho’ that are sadly indistinguishable from what’s on the radio right now. This one gets the hallowed ‘Spinal Tap’ comparison. Blu-ray includes music videos, commentary with Samberg, and the ‘Turn Up the Beef’ backstory.

► When it comes to James Cameron’s ALIENS, it’s never game over, man. For its 30th anniversary, Fox is offering both the theatrical and director’s cut on blu-ray, to go with the all new documentary ‘The Inspiration and Design of Aliens.’ There’s also commentary, deleted scenes, art cards and a book with art from the Dark Horse comics series. There’s also the fascinating, previously released making-of doc ‘Superior Firepower’ and extensive pre-production stuff.

► A Top 10 show its first season, MADAM SECRETARY slipped only slightly in the ratings for Season 2, despite it being a tighter, better show. Tea Leoni finds her groove as the former CIA analyst trying to keep two houses – hers and the White House – in order. With the U.S. on the brink of war with Russia to start the season, she has to keep secrets from her husband (Tim Daly) and deal with rumblings the president is looking to replace her. Extras include a tour of the Oval Office, deleted scenes and a deeper look at the second season storylines.

► Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s documentary De PALMA feels like a career retrospective on Brian De Palma, but it’s also a wistful look at a time when arty thrillers like ‘Dressed to Kill’ and ‘Carrie’ weren’t sideline movies – they were the mainstream. De Palma discusses his craft (including some of the most memorable shots in movie history), his battles with the MPAA, and how ‘70s cinema will never be recreated. This doc coincides with the Collector’s Edition blu-ray release of his last great thriller, 1992’s RAISING CAIN, with De Palma fave John Lithgow as a child psychologist with multiple personalities who starts alarming his wife by obsessively studying their daughter. Vintage De Palma scares in this one. Blu-ray includes new interviews with the cast and the Director’s Cut, which basically changes the order of some scenes.

► Inspired by a deranged fan who kept calling him about the psychological effect his movies were having, Dario Argento’s TENEBRAE (1982) saw him leave behind the supernatural climate of ‘Suspiria’ and ‘Inferno’ for a grim thriller about an American author in Italy being taunted by a serial killer inspired by his books. One of Argento’s most violent films (a murder every 10 minutes or so), with a shock scare Brian De Palma borrowed (okay, outright stole) for ‘Raising Cain’ Blu-ray includes restored 1080p scan, commentary by Argento scholar Maitland McDonagh, and the doc ‘Yellow Fever: The Rise and Fall of the Giallo.’

Also out this week:





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