This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Rogue Nation, Ted 2, Fantastic Four

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

This Week: Cleaning out summer's closet of sequels and reboots with more Mission Impossible, a Fantastic flop, and a tumbling Ted.

► Might Scientology finally be affecting Tom Cruise’s bread and butter? Through all the bad press, he could always count on a ‘Mission Impossible’ flick to shut everyone up, but last year’s devastating Scientology documentary ‘Going Clear’ might have taken some tarnish off MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION. Despite a wave of good buzz and the series’ trademark blow-out action sequences, it made less than ‘Ghost Protocol’ in North America and even less than ‘MI:2’ way back in 2000. Worldwide box office was still strong, though, so the mission isn’t ending until Cruise says so. For this one, he gathers the gang to take down an international crime syndicate while evading the CIA after the Impossible Missions Force is disbanded. Not many long-running franchises have a fifth movie this good.

► Like soiled recycling, FANTASTIC FOUR is being trotted out on blu-ray and DVD right before Christmas in the hope it can salvage a few more bucks before it’s tossed in history’s ‘Do Not Open’ bin. This one’s especially frustrating, as Marvel’s First Family was supposed to get the deluxe treatment after two disappointing (but strangely successful) attempts by Fox a decade ago. Instead, director Josh Trank openly hated his own movie, and audiences were once again left underwhelmed by a wobbly story that never gets the heart of the foursome as good as ‘The Incredibles’ did. This one uses Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis’ ‘Ultimate Fantastic Four’ as the source material, as the team gets their powers experimenting with parallel dimensions. It also messes up Reed’s protégé, who eventually becomes Dr. Doom and continues to confound fans who can’t believe Fox can’t get one of Marvel’s iconic villains right. Maybe this one wouldn’t look so bad if Marvel wasn’t hitting everything else out of the park.

► Considering how huge the first one was, TED 2 has to be considered one of the summer’s more bewildering flops. It loads up on cameos and Seth McFarlane actually delivers a clever premise for this sequel – while trying to have a kid, Ted’s status as a ‘person’ is rejected by the state – but the sophomoric humor and buddy hijinx lost some of its tread the second time around. McFarlane does blu-ray commentary.

► Number two in ‘The Maze Runner’ series (aka: Hunger Games-lite), THE SCORCH TRIALS has that familiar flow of young ‘uns rising up against their oppressors while trying to survive their screwed up world. Not as big as the first flick, but the modest budget (just $61 million) ensures we’ll see this thing to completion. The last one – ‘The Death Cure’ – comes out in Feb., 2017. Can they resist splitting it into two movies?

► Richard Gere has never been nominated for an Oscar. That may come to an end after TIME OUT OF MIND, playing a homeless man in New York on his way to becoming just another stat we all ignore until a tough luck jazz player (Ben Vereen) convinces him to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Jena Malone). Not a showy tearjerker but a brutally honest one.

► With all of the great TV this year, it’s easy to overlook that old juggernaut CSI bowed out with a two-hour series finale in lieu of a 16th season. Will Peterson, Marg Helgenberger and Paul Guifoyle all returned to say their goodbyes, and while the plot is wholly underwhelming for a series with this kind of pedigree (suicide bombers and sharks?), it’s at least an ending for longtime fans instead of just pulling the plug after the 15th season. A dominant show in its hey day, finishing in the Top 10 for 11 straight seasons.

► After ‘The Exorcist,’ everything was fair game for demon possession in the ‘70s. Including automobiles. Six years before ‘Christine,’ James Brolin battled hell on wheels in THE CAR, a cheesy but watchable horror flick about a mysterious black Lincoln Continental mowing people down on the desert highway (and occasionally their living room). Shout! Factory special edition includes interviews with director Elliot Silverstein and stars Melody Scott Thomas and Geraldine Keams.

► Just when you thought your Christmas shopping was done, Shout! Factory bangs off another special edition of an ‘80s horror nugget. ZOMBIE HIGH has Virginia Madsen as a new college student who notices her friends start acting like obedient drones. That’s because they’re being experimented on by the school faculty. Among the cast are David Lynch alumnus Sherilyn Fenn and Scott Coffey, and future ‘Bridesmaids’ director Paul Feig.

Also out this week:





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