This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Lucy, Annabelle, The Boxtrolls

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

This week: Girls night out with Lucy and Annabelle; Oscar-nominated The Boxtrolls; and for his last movie, James Gandolfini goes back to the mob in The Drop.

► Before she gets into her Black Widow tights again, Scarlett Johansson plays a different type of superhero in Luc Besson’s mindbending LUCY. Forced into being a drug mule, she’s kicked in the abdomen while held captive, releasing a synthetic new drug into her system. It starts giving her brain megapowers while gradually letting her use 100% of it, as opposed to the 10% we presumably use. Naturally, things get freaky, though Besson still struggles to tell a coherent story from start to finish. But he knows how to create strong female characters, and this is one of his best.

► Want a kick in the sack? ANNABELLE, the prequel/spin-off to ‘The Conjuring’ no one took serious, is one of the most financially successful horror films of all time. That’s right, it took in more than $255 million worldwide, with just a $6.5 million budget. Critics ripped it, most horror fans dismissed it, and yet this knock-off based on a creepy five-minute sequence in ‘The Conjuring,’ was by far last year’s biggest scare flick. Based on the sorta true story of an evil doll locked in an occult museum in Connecticut, it stars Ward Horton and (seriously) Annabelle Wallis as a couple attacked by Satanists one night. One of the attackers leaves a drop of blood on their doll before they die, which is bad news for their new baby. Blu-ray features deleted scenes and a segment on the actual doll.

► Still wondering how THE BOXTROLLS nabbed an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature and ‘The Lego Movie’ didn’t? This timely blu-ray release should help. From the company that made ‘Coraline’ and ‘ParaNorman,’ it mustered just $50 million at the box office and didn’t get the same rave reviews. But it’s still a macabre bit of stop motion fantasy, about creatures raising a boy named Eggs beneath the town of Cheesebridge. Creepy and funny enough to satisfy all camps.

► For his final movie, James Gandolfini stars as a frustrated bar owner in THE DROP. Running the place with his cousin (Tom Hardy), it’s used as a place of business by the local Chechen mob. Things get complicated (and bloody) when the bar is robbed, and the tight script by ‘Mystic River’ writer Dennis Lehane (based on his short story ‘Animal Rescue’) demands you pay attention to the details. Noomi Rapice also stars.

► Terry Gilliam fans (though not Gilliam himself) view THE ZERO THEOREM as the final part of his Brazil Trilogy. The dystopian theme is accounted for, with Christoph Waltz as a computer genius working on an assignment by ‘Management’ (Matt Damon) to decode a mathematical formula which might reveal the meaning of life. It really is a sad statement on our current moviegoing climate when a Terry Gilliam sci-fi movie doesn’t even make $1 million at the box office.

► We’d need 30 extra inches in this column to go over the greatness of ESPN’s ’30 for 30’ documentary series, and they delivered another classic with PLAYING FOR THE MOB. Like a fascinating spin-off to ‘Goodfellas,’ it looks at the Boston College point-shaving scandal of the late ‘70s, orchestrated by Henry Hill. The film even gets Ray Liotta to narrate, and there are glorious ‘Goodfellas’ references throughout – this scandal was key in the Feds’ eventual takedown of Hill’s associates, including Jimmy Burke (De Niro’s character).

► Even though it become a geriatric punchline over the years, ON GOLDEN POND can still work those tear ducts if it catches you at the right moment. Most all of it because of Henry Fonda, winning an Oscar in his final film after a decade of dreck like ‘Meteor’ and ‘The Swarm.’ Co-star Katharine Hepburn also won (for the fourth time), and did just two more movies after this. Add a great Jane Fonda in one of her most unheralded (though still Oscar nominated) performances, and this 1981 family drama has some serious pedigree. Don’t let thousands of bad community theatre productions deter you, this one’s a classic for a reason. The second biggest movie of 1981, behind ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark.’

► Co-written by Saw’s Leigh Wannell, THE MULE is literally about a guy trying to avoid a shit. When a chump tries smuggling drugs in his stomach and is detained by police, he’s locked in a motel room until his bowels release the Kraken. As cops, family and other criminals wait, he does everything possible to clench the evidence. Of course this is inspired by a true story. Stars Hugo Weaving and Angus Sampson.

Also out this week:





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