This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: San Andreas, Tomorrowland, Mad Men

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

This Week: The Rock vs. Earthquake in San Andreas, last call for Mad Men, and the trippy failure of Tomorrowland.

► Movies just don’t come much more generic than SAN ANDREAS, and after awhile it seems by design. Everything about this Carlton Cruse-penned howler is in step with the disaster movie template, originated by ‘The Poseidon Adventure,’ perfected by Roland Emmerich, and mimicked to hilarious effect here. Every cliché is accounted for: The leading man (Dwayne Johnson) with family troubles. The scientist (Paul Giamotti, getting rock bottomed) with an ominous warning. The heroes narrowly escaping, the scumbag getting killed. Add some genuinely painful dialogue and the usual buffet of repetitive CGI effects, and you can’t even be mad at how dumb it all this – that’s just what these movies are. This one went above expectations at the box office, so expect more earthquakes in The Rock’s future. Blu-ray throws in some deleted scenes, commentary from director Brad Peyton, and a look at the not-so-fun reality of the San Andreas Fault shifting soon.

► One of the first big casualties of summer, Brad Bird’s TOMORROWLAND was marketed with an air of mystery which backfired. Big time. It didn’t help that the wonky story gets burdened by its own ambition. It’s an old-fashioned story about alternate realities trying to keep up with modern spectacle, and it’s rarely in sync. Still, away from the summer hype, I imagine it will gain fans through the years much like ‘The Rocketeer’ did after stiffing at the box office. Disney loads up on blu-ray goodies, including an extensive making-of, Bird’s production diaries, and eight deleted scenes with filmmaker intros.

► The final half-season of MAD MEN couldn’t possibly live up to the show’s incredible legacy, as per the unrealistic expectations of today’s spoiled TV viewer. But let your guard down, and this was a beautiful, satisfying ending for one of the best dramas in TV history, as Don (Jon Hamm, Emmy winner at last) goes through his final crisis on his way to some sort of salvation, as his second marriage disintegrates and his advertising firm is absorbed by the competition. January Jones and Elizabeth Moss save their best work of the entire series for these final seven episodes, and strange as that final moment of Zen was in the finale, it brought Don’s seven-season arc to a trippy, somewhat happy end. A brilliant ride from start to finish.

► You know what this Halloween needs? More found footage horror. THE GALLOWS sucks up to every cliché it can find, and still managed a tidy profit this summer. Twenty years after a student was killed during a high school production, a new group of theatre students decide to stage the same play as a tribute. But when they get locked in the school one night, an entity dressed as a hangman shows them how cutthroat theatre can be. Blu-ray includes director Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff’s original ‘guerilla-style’ version of the film, which prompted Blumhouse Productions to scoop it.

► Even more than a year after Robin Williams’ death, ALADDIN is a tough one to revisit. His brilliance elevated what would otherwise be a middling Disney animated flick into a classic, and its rewatchability is amazing 23 years later. The Diamond Edition blu-ray includes a pristine new transfer, a 70-minute documentary, and nine minutes of never-before-seen outtakes of Williams’ voice work.

► Forrest Whitaker produced the Sundance favorite DOPE, which finds a high school geek obsessed with ‘90s rap (Shameik Moore, who you’ll be hearing plenty from) caught in a skirmish between rival street gangs. He ends up in possession of a backpack that’ll either end his life or possibly get him into Harvard. Puff Daddy and Pharrell Williams are among the executive producers.

► The movie Roger Ebert once called "reprehensible trash" gets the Criterion treatment this week, and it's a goodie. Like most of David Cronenberg's early movies, THE BROOD (1979) was laughably marketed and misunderstood, but found a way under your skin. Samantha Egger plays a disturbed woman undergoing a weird form of psychotherapy. At the same time, a group of mutated little creatures seem to attack people based on her wild mood swings. Cronenberg lays it on thick for the icky ending, and it was a sign of things to come. Blu-ray includes a new documentary on the film, a restored transfer of Cronenberg's 1970 feature Crimes of the Future, and a vintage 1980 clip of star Oliver Reed on the Merv Griffin Show.

► Stretching its concept past all logical road blocks, THE FOLLOWING threw in the towel after its third bizarre season. With his cult leader quarry finally on death row, former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) starts slipping into insanity as his bond with the killer reaches levels fans found hard to swallow. Despite every goofy thing that’s already happened.

Also out this week:





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