This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Inside Out, Vacation, End of the Tour

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

This Week: Pixar roars back, Vacation rebooted, and Jason Segel…Oscar contender?

► By any other standards, Pixar’s last few years would be considered hugely successful. But by Pixar standards, it has been a surprising slump. That ended with INSIDE OUT, the company’s biggest hit since ‘Toy Story 3’ and its third biggest hit overall. It did it by going back to the company’s strengths – brilliant storytelling, fully conceived characters and emotional heft. Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Lewis Black lead a troubled girl’s stable of emotions, running the show from the headquarters in her conscious mind. The ideas and themes here dwarf any other animated movie in recent years, pushing the boundary of what a family film can be. Even for Pixar it was audacious, and a welcome return to risk-taking after a couple of underwhelming sequels. Extras include the short film ‘Riley’s First Date,’ deleted scenes and featurettes on the movie’s concept.

► It really is baffling they haven’t made a direct sequel to ‘Christmas Vacation’ yet, but it’s probably on deck if the VACATION reboot gets a sequel. Which is doubtful, because mediocre box office and brutal reviews don’t bode well for more Ed Helms and Christina Applegate as the new generation of Griswolds. Some nice shout-outs to the original (Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo make an appearance), but it’s mostly tired slapstick missing the charm that made the old Griswolds the original Simpsons. Story follows grown-up Rusty (Helms) channelling his youth by making a cross-country trip to Walley World. Crazy truck drivers, raw sewage and Chris Hemsworth’s big package ensue.

► If the movie isn’t completely forgotten by then, Jason Segel deserves some Oscar buzz for THE END OF THE TOUR. Even in his comedies he has shown some dramatic chops, but he blew pretty much everyone away here as author David Foster Wallace. Jesse Eisenberg plays Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky, who joins Wallace for a book tour after the release of his seminal ‘Infinite Jest.’ He’s wary at first, but the two eventually share a long dialogue about art, fame and life itself. A modern day ‘My Dinner With Andre.’

► Chris Evans puts down the shield and directs the offbeat romance BEFORE WE GO, also starring as a busker trying to help a stranger (Alice Eve) recover her stolen purse after she misses a train. A low key throwback to the ‘Before Sunrise’ trilogy with an ending that avoids going the cornball route.

► If it wasn’t for the absolute chaos going on behind the scenes, the dismal 1981 family flick ROAR would be long forgotten. But its nutty production is the stuff of legend: Actress Tippi Hedron and husband Noel Marshall lived with a family of lions, and figured it would make an adorable movie. Instead, cinematographer Jan de Bont was nearly scalped before he could ever make ‘Speed,’ Hedron’s daughter Melanie Griffith was bitten and needed 50 stitches to her face, and the assistant director had his throat bitten open. In all, 70 people were injured for a terrible movie that made just $2 million at the box office in 1981. You can actually skip the movie and go straight to the bonus features here, which include a making of doc and commentary by Marshall.

► Am I the only one torn on more ‘Toy Story?’ That third movie ended on such a perfect note, I didn’t want anything to muck it up. It was poignant and perfect. On the other hand, we all love these characters so much how can we say no? TOY STORY THAT TIME FORGOT, like last year’s Halloween special, keeps the franchise going without going all in as the gang deals with a new line of toys called Battlesaurs who don’t realize they’re toys, and it’s up to Trixie the Triceratops to smooth things over. Certainly nowhere near as satisfying as the movies, but a top shelf made-for-TV special.

► The 10-episode second season of Starz’ pirate series BLACK SAILS finds the Walrus crew stranded on a beach to start, an army of Spanish soldiers between them and the Urca de Lima gold. Later on they contend with a new breed of pirate, and a massive prize on the island which could change all their fates. Third season starts in January.

► You may think you work for a soulless company, but the gang in BLOODSUCKING BASTARDS have a legitimate beef: They discover their managers are vampires. Gonzo comedy plucks generously from ‘Office Space’ and Shaun of the Dead.’ Got a decent reception at this year’s Slamdance Film Festival

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