This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Hot Pursuit, Unfriended, The Knick

This Week: Wondering what Reese and Sofia were thinking with Hot Pursuit, the online boogeyman of Unfriended, and a tough revisit with Chris Farley.

HOT PURSUIT all but declares itself to be a female ‘Midnight Run.’ It instead was a massive flop with some of the worst reviews of the year (including us). Reese Witherspoon follows up her Oscar nomination (and sorta comeback) for ‘Wild’ with this witless comedy pairing her with Sofia Vergara, who is a long way from the laughs of ‘Modern Family.’ Witherspoon is the stern cop protecting the widow (Vergara) of a drug boss as they try to get across Texas, with corrupt cops and gunmen on their tail. If the movie isn’t flimsy enough, the hilarious blu-ray features include Witherspoon trying to speak Spanish. Just a massive misfire.

► A horror movie told via Skype and Facebook Messenger, UNFRIENDED will be what future generations call “the most 2015 movie ever.” A group of friends are hounded by a presence with (gasp!) no avatar in their chatrooms, prompting them to do nasty things to themselves. Might it be the high school girl who committed suicide a year ago after an embarrassing video surfaced? Don’t know, but I’d love to see if that hack Hitchchock could make an entire movie out of webcam footage. Of more concern, this is one of the most successful horror films of the year and a sequel has already been greenlit.

► A day after it premiered on Spike, Brent Hodge’s highly-anticipated documentary I AM CHRIS FARLEY hits blu-ray and DVD. And it’s a keeper for fans of the late comic, who should keep a tissue or two nearby. With a wealth of interviews and anecdotes, it follows the burly comedian from The Second City to SNL to the addictions which killed him in 1997 at age 33. It’s telling that of all the backstabbing and animosity among SNL cast members, none of them – not a single one – has ever had a bad thing to say about Farley.

► Cinemax struck gold with THE KNICK, with Clive Owen as a coke-addicted doctor in 1900 New York, fighting to keep his run down hospital open while dealing with bureaucrats, constantly dying patients, and a new black surgeon in a racially charged building. Completely engrossing with a killer cast that includes Andre Holland as the black doctor forced to treat patients after hours in the hospital’s basement, and veteran stage actress Juliet Rylance as the hospital board chair trying to track the source of a typhoid outbreak. Season 2 finally arrives Oct. 16.

► The one that got Meryl Streep the third of her 19 Oscar nominations, THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT’S WOMAN is that movie you picture girlfriends weeping to while guys silently stew. Don’t be that guy. Classic and classy flick has Streep and Jeremy Irons in dual roles, filming a period romance while having an affair. Based on a John Fowles book everyone figured was impossible to adapt. Criterion special edition blu-ray includes new interviews with Streep and Irons, and a 1981 clip with director Karel Reisz, who died in 2002.

► Sticking with Meryl, she followed up ‘French Lieutenant’s Woman’ with the blatant Hitchcock nod STILL OF THE NIGHT, in which she stars as a woman who may have killed one of the patients of the psychiatrist (Roy Scheider) she’s dating. Everything about Robert Benton’s thriller pays homage to the master, from Streep’s hair style (think Eva Marie Saint) to the town of Glen Cove, to the frequent visual cues lifted from ‘Vertigo,’ ‘Rear Window’ and more. A side of Streep we don’t see often, though as she told Andy Cohen, she’s no fan of this one.

► One of the weirdest clunkers Vincent Price ever made, WAR GODS OF THE DEEP – otherwise known as ‘City Under the Sea’ – lifts its title from an Edgar Allan Poe poem, but has little to do with him. Unless Poe wrote something with a comical rooster I’m not aware of. This howler has Price as the captain of an underwater city with mutated monsters. When the Gill Men kidnap hottie Susan Hart, her boyfriend (Tab Hunter) and his sidekick (David Tomlinson) plumb the depths to retrieve her before a massive volcano erupts. Mid ‘60s cheese for the kids.

► Now nestled among TV’s top 20 shows, Season 4 of SCANDAL has crisis management guru Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) going off the grid for awhile after the president’s re-election, but a good old murder mystery brings her back. With her firm now closed, she’s a pawn in blackmail by the sleazy vice-president. It’s over-the-top trash, but nicely fills the void ‘Gossip Girl’ left behind.

Also out this week:





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