This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Finding Dory, Game of Thrones

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

This Week: Pixar reels in a big one with Finding Dory, Game of Thrones sets up its end game, and on the road again with The Beatles.

► Last year, Pixar had its first real flop with ‘The Good Dinosaur.’ How do they respond? Their biggest hit ever with FINDING DORY. This year’s box office champ (though ‘Rogue One’ might have something to say) has Nemo and his dad off to rescue forgetful Dory from a public aquarium. But as with every Pixar classic, there’s much more going on under the surface – it may not be better, but it’s certainly a more emotional movie than the first. Lots of extras include the ‘Piper’ short film, the challenges of creating Pixar’s most technically complex character (Hank the Octopus), and director Andrew Stanton literally driving the cast to work.

► The best thing about Season 6 of GAME OF THRONES is also the worst thing: The pieces are now aligned for the end. The show’s last full 10-episode season sees momentous stuff in most every episode, including the Jon/Sansa reunion, the Battle of the Bastards, Cersei’s epic revenge on the High Sparrow, and Daenerys’ dragons kicking ass like never before. And rarely has a final scene made the wait for the next season so torturous. Now firmly entrenched as HBO’s most popular show ever, ‘Thrones’ finds new levels of greatness as the finish line approaches. Extras include a closer look at Bran’s storyline, a revisit with the Dothraki, an in-episode guide, and the show’s mythology as narrated by the characters.

► A tonic for whatever foul mood ails you, Ron Howard’s EIGHT DAYS A WEEK – THE TOURING YEARS is a glorious look at the early days of The Beatles and the enigma with their concerts: They were making some of the greatest music in history, yet no one could hear them because of the screaming. It eventually soured them on touring, but not before changing the world. Some rare, cool stuff here – at one point we see a young Sigourney Weaver in the crowd. New interviews with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are joined by old clips of John Lennon and George Harrison explaining the madness. An essential music doc. Blu-ray includes five rarely seen performances with a 64-page booklet.

► Jimmy McGill’s path to becoming Saul Goodman becomes much more clear in Season 2 of BETTER CALL SAUL, but pretty much everything else is unpredictable as ever. No mere ‘Breaking Bad’ spin-off, this has become its own offbeat entity, with this season’s main drama focused on the fractured relationship between brothers Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) and Chuck (Michael McKean). They’re both outstanding, as is Jonathan Banks as Mike once again, up against some familiar ‘Breaking Bad’ faces.

► To say Adam Sandler fans had a ‘WTF?’ reaction to PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE 14 years ago is a huge understatement. They were bewildered and outright hostile before the credits rolled. On the other side of the fence, fans of director Paul Thomas Anderson were equally confused why he’d follow-up ‘Magnolia’ with Happy Gilmore. It was a noble failure for both, but has certainly gained luster over the years for Sandler as his bravest movie. One worthy of the Criterion Collection, alas. Includes a new high-def transfer with Anderson’s 2002 short ‘Blossoms & Blood.’

► Before he directed ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,’ Nicholas Meyer earned his sci-fi cred with the nifty TIME AFTER TIME, in which H.G. Wells (Malcolm McDowell) uses his time machine to chase Jack the Ripper to 1979 San Francisco. Cleverly written and loads of fun. Just Mary Steenburgen’s second movie – she would win an Oscar for her next one, ‘Melvin and Howard.’

► Arrow Video serves up a special edition of the 1984 monsters-in-the-sewer howler C.H.U.D. with a spiffy new transfer, commentary from director Douglas Cheek and stars Daniel Stern, John Heard and Chris Curry, and a collector’s booklet for the first pressing. The cult is strong for this one, which has early appearances by John Goodman and Jay Thomas.

► After a decent first season, ratings for HBO’s gay drama LOOKING took a sharp nosedive. Instead of a third season, everything was wrapped up in a two-hour movie which aired in July. Despite its brevity, this was one of the most honest, less cumbersome depictions of gay life ever shown on U.S. television. Both seasons and the movie are collected in The Complete Series.

Also out this week:





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