This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Jack Reacher, Mama, Safe Haven …

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

This week: Tom Cruise tries making Rock of Ages up to us with Jack Reacher, Del Toro digs up another gem with Mama, and final goodbyes to Fringe and 30 Rock.

► The Tom Cruise reclamation project continued with JACK REACHER, the sly thriller based on the 2005 book ‘One Shot.’ Despite being one of his lowest-grossing movies worldwide in awhile, this is just what he needed after the ‘Rock of Ages’ flop (though he still rocked in that, yo). Cruise plays an army specialist brought in to figure things out after an apparently guilty sniper requests his services. Some nasty fight scenes and at least one outstanding chase sequence.

Guillermo Del Toro’s approval has become one of the surest things lately: Whether he’s directing, producing or writing, he has the touch of gold. If the dude tells me to start watching ‘Two and a Half Men’ because it has never been better, I’ll be tuning in. So when he gives his blessing to a routine-looking horror flick like MAMA, there’s no debate: See that shit. Ultra-creepy flick about two girls found in a cabin after a family tragedy, and the supernatural she-bitch who wants to reclaim them five years later. Jessica Chastain is a nice bonus.

► If I didn’t interview the man himself last year, I’d swear Nicholas Sparks isn’t real. He’s a computer program cranking out slight variations of the same story every year. SAFE HAVEN is based on his 2010 version, which – of course – involves a ‘mysterious beautiful woman’ dealing with another ‘dark secret’ from her past. Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough do the honors.

► That’s a wrap on FRINGE. After a slow start, the show gradually took the baton from ‘Battlestar Galactica’ to become the most adored sci-fi show on TV. Season 5 serves up the scary-as-shit future shown in Season 4, where the Observers have seized control of our universe. In 2036, the Fringe team makes their final stand. Basically, if you loved the alternate timeline aspect of ‘Lost,’ you couldn’t go wrong with this show, especially once it dumped the stand alone episodes and stuck to a continuing storyline. There will be endless talk of a movie now, but why bother? It ended as it should.

► A far more painful ending than ‘Fringe’ was 30 ROCK, which capped an amazing seven-year run in January. For all the moaning about its past few seasons, Season 7 delivered both closure and some of the series’ greatest episodes as Jack aims to take down Kabletown and Liz gets hitched. Only 13 episodes, and not a dud in the bunch. The way things look, this may be remembered as one of network TV’s last great sitcoms.

BAND OF OUTSIDERS (1964) is Jean Luc-Godard’s cheeky take on gangsters. Two hapless criminals hook up with a woman they both fancy in order to rob her rich aunt. So begins the backstabbing, sightseeing and absurdity that makes this one of Godard’s all-time greats. Criterion edition has high-def restoration, original trailers and a 1964 interview with the director.

► In THE ORANGES, Hugh Laurie and Catherine Keener are a miserable married couple. Their neighbor’s daughter is Leighton Meester. Take a guess whether House can keep it in his pants. Oliver Platt and Allison Janney co-star. The script was apparently on 2008’s Black List of best unproduced screenplays.

► Classic Asian erotica has found a kinky new home with the Nikkatsu collection, which keeps unearthing these weird little nuggets. FEMALE TEACHER HUNTING from 1982 is like a wet dream version of an After School Special, as a young boy is accused of sexually assaulting a female classmate, then begins a weird relationship with his teacher … who herself is having an affair with the rape investigator. A shitload of craziness packed into 65 minutes.

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