This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: John Wick, Ouija, Dracula Untold

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

This week: Keanu gets back in our good books with John Wick, Ouija is a bored game, and another round of ABCs of Death.

► Every time Keanu Reeves has one foot over the ledge, he drops something like JOHN WICK on us to ward off the vultures. For many, this was the best pure action movie of 2014, with Reeves as a retired hitman who unretires for the best damn reason ever – Russians killed his puppy. The little pooch was a posthumous gift from his dead wife, and when Russkie gangsters kill him while Keanu watches helplessly, the ensuing ass-kicking is that much sweeter. Oh Keanu, I can never leave you. Killer cast includes Ian McShane, Willem Dafoe and Bridget Moynahan.

► Mainstream horror doesn’t come more by-the-book than OUIJA. The moldy premise finds a group of friends using the Hasbro party crasher to contact a friend who recently killed herself. Of course, they contact something not her. As tedious as this Michael Bay project is (he co-produced, capping off a spectacular year of crap even by Bay standards), it did one thing spectacularly right for a horror film: Opened near Halloween. Result? $95 million worldwide box office on a $5 million budget. It really is that easy.

► The unhinged ABCs OF DEATH 2 is a ‘V.H.S.’ for even shorter attention spans. Like the first, it’s a collection of 26 gruesome short films – one for each letter of the alphabet. As an anthology, it’s the usual mixed bag. The best is likely Jerome Sable’s ‘V is for Vacation,’ about two idiots on a trip killed by the prostitute they hired…while on the phone with one’s girlfriend. A handful are inventive and funny, like Robert Boocheck’s slow motion romp ‘M is for Masticate,’ while others will have you fast-forwarding to the next letter.

► Valentine time is Nicholas Sparks time. Fresh off the assembly line is THE BEST OF ME with former high school sweethearts James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan reuniting to bury a friend. If you don’t think they fight the urge for PG-13 sex, you haven’t read the past 25 Nicholas Sparks books. Look, guys, you made her wait through the ‘Guardian’ credits for a goofy Howard the Duck cameo…you can suck it up for a night and watch this.

► The amount of dumb movie-related things we hear in any given year is so huge, half are forgotten instantly. But Universal relaunching its classic monsters as an action franchise? Yeah, that shit lingers. For a taste of what’s to come, here’s DRACULA UNTOLD taking a gigantic dump on Vlad the Impaler’s origins. Luke Evans does the emoting, Gary Shore does the directing and we do the suffering. This is what the Marvel Universe has to answer for now…monsters as superheroes.

► Justin Simien’s satire DEAR WHITE PEOPLE follows a group of black students at the mostly white Winchester University, including a radio show host who riles up the student body. Made on the extreme cheap, it won some festival awards and comparisons to early Spike Lee for Simien, although he’s more of a Woody Allen guy.

THE WONDER YEARS entire series has already been released by Time-Life, but they’re also doling out the individual seasons. Season 2 is when it found its groove, going to 17 episodes after just 6 to test the waters in Season 1. Kevin deals with the rigors of junior high, walks out of class to protest the Vietnam War, and falls deeper for Winnie now that she’s with someone else.

► In BLEEDING HEARTS, two sisters have a pact to kidnap and torture five men every year. A documentary filmmaker catches wind of their antics when his car breaks down and decides to go for an Oscar. Sadly, these are the movies Robert Loggia and Charles Durning do for a pay checkJohn Wick, O these days. But Dustin Diamond? This is somehow a step up.

Also out this week:





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