This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Mockingjay Pt. 2, Fear the Walking Dead

Last Updated on July 31, 2021

This Week: Closing the book on The Hunger Games, back to the beginning with Fear the Walking Dead, and Freaks and Geeks finally comes to blu-ray.

► Like everything that underperformed in December, Lionsgate is blaming ‘The Force Awakens’ for the relative failure of THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2. But if they had listened to fans, they would have known splitting the final book into two movies was a mistake. Sure enough, when ‘Mocking Jay – Part 1’ middled, it killed enthusiasm for the series finale, making it the least successful of the franchise by far. Despite the fact it’s the one with the most going on. With Panem in chaos, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and friends set out to liberate the city and take down the president. A satisfying – and surprisingly downbeat – conclusion to a series that went far beyond its blockbuster intentions. Five hours of extras include a making of, the last day of shooting and commentary from director Francis Lawrence.

FEAR THE WALKING DEAD caught a lot of flack because it wasn’t, well, ‘The Walking Dead.’ That’s also its greatest asset. By depicting the zombie apocalypse in its early stages, we feel the sense of confused terror the world felt before it became accustomed to this new reality, and the first season establishes its terrain slowly and surely. No, the characters aren’t as instantly memorable as the parent show, but the suburban L.A. family the show serves up aren’t meant to be flashy. They’re us, with our everyday problems, before they’re forced to become a bunch of Ricks and Michonnes. Patience does pay off with a great season finale, in which the undead floodgates finally open. Plenty of blu-ray extras include commentaries and the featurette ‘Fear: The Beginning.’

DADDY’S HOME, the second team-up for Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, was even bigger than the first (‘The Other Guys’). Ferrell plays a straightlaced radio executive trying to be a decent stepdad to his wife’s two kids, while Wahlberg is the free-spirited dad competing for their affections. Completely by the book, it still became Ferrell’s second-biggest live action movie behind ‘Elf.’ Linda Cardellini and Thomas Haden Church co-star.

► Shout! Factory’s FREAKS AND GEEKS boxed set was a revelation when it came out 12 years ago, maintaining all of the 1999/2000 show’s original music, loading it with extras and packaging it with a 29-page booklet. It was the gold standard for TV show boxed sets, and it hasn’t lost any luster for its blu-ray debut this week. If anything, the show’s legend has only grown since then as its cast has become huge (James Franco, Seth Rogan, Jason Segel and Linda Cardellini foremost). Eighteen episodes of bittersweet brilliance from Judd Apatow. You watch it, you love it. Guaranteed.

► We live in a glorious time when even C-grade grindhouse flicks like BLACK MAMA WHITE MAMA can get a deluxe two-disc blu-ray. A pre-‘Coffey’ Pam Grier and Margaret Markov star as inmates of a jungle prison who manage to escape while chained together. Grier wants to retrieve the cash she stashed on the jungle first, while Markov wants to hook up with her revolutionary group. Original tagline: ‘Chicks in chains…and nothing in common but the hunger of 1,000 nights without a man!’

► Not sure what the hell the six means on LOST GIRL: SEASONS FIVE & SIX, since the Canadian-made show only ran five seasons. Either way, here are the final 16 episodes of the fan fave series about a bisexual succubus (Ana Silk) trying to discover her supernatural origins. A show that started out gangbusters but inevitably got ‘True Blood’ silly by the end.

► A bunch of Chuck Norris comes to blu-ray this month, including his first starring role in 1977’S BREAKER! BREAKER! With CB radios all the rage at the time, Norris plays a California trucker whose brother disappears in a notorious town where the corrupt police are known to trap passing truckers. Pretty much set the template Norris would follow for the next 20 years.

► Shout! Factory has been known to give even moderate horror movies their due on blu-ray, so why the butchered, 84-minute version of DISTURBING BEHAVIOUR that even director David Nutter despises? Fans have made a superior 103-minute cut of the film inserting deleted scenes, and Nutter says there’s a 115-minute director’s cut. Blu-ray includes some deleted scenes and the film’s alternate ending, and does have Nutter doing commentary.

Also out this week:





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