This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Sausage Party, Daredevil, Billions

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

This Week: Groceries gettin’ it on in Sausage Party, Daredevil done right, and 40 years of Travis Bickle.

► Lest any unsuspecting parents wrap SAUSAGE PARTY up and put it under the Christmas tree for Junior, Sony has slapped a big ‘Rated R’ on the blu-ray cover. You just know one will sneak through anyway – as funny as this movie is, the thought of some kid expecting a Disney movie about talking food is even funnier. Gross, profane and wrong on so many levels, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg’s tale of supermarket food trying to escape their fate might also be the year’s most hilarious movie. It’s certainly in the same vein as their previous outing, ‘This Is The End,’ only with lesbian tacos and a villain literally named Douche. Blu-ray includes a food gag reel and the ‘Shock and Awe’ featurette (re: How Did This Get Made?).

► Those Netflix Marvel shows sure are taking their sweet ass time coming to blu-ray and DVD. Appropriately, DAREDEVIL is first with its excellent first season from 2015. As Matt Murdock, Charlie Cox helps bury the Ben Affleck movie for good, though it’s Vincent D’Onofrio as The Kingpin that gives the show its menacing backbone. Fans feared the worst for this show – instead, it laid the template for four more Marvel shows on Netflix, including next year’s ‘The Defenders.’

► It’s a tall order keeping up with every noteworthy new show, but Showtime’s BILLIONS stood out from the crowd this year. Intense chess match pits a district attorney (Paul Giamatti) against a hedge fund manager (Damian Lewis). If anything, it’s an even more ruthless ‘Wall Street,’ though the show nicely straddles the line of both characters – neither is completely noble or evil. Thickening the plot is Maggie Siff as the district attorney’s wife who happens to work for Lewis, and Malin Ackerman as Lewis’ tough-as-nails wife who may be more ruthless than him. Excellent show, Season 2 starts in February.

► The 40th anniversary edition of TAXI DRIVER is highlighted by a brand new 40-minute Q&A with Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster filmed at the Tribeca Film Festival this year. You also get the Criterion Collection commentary with Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader from 1986, and extensive making of extras. There’s also a storyboard-to-film comparison introduced by Scorsese. As for the film itself, it’s a masterpiece of its time and yet timeless. Randomly found it while flipping stations the other week and 45 minutes later realized I hadn’t moved.

► Don Coscarelli’s BUBBA HO-TEP may be a horror/comedy classic, but I love it for another reason – it’s one of the most heartfelt, truthful tributes to Elvis Presley ever put on film. Bruce Campbell plays The King as a retirement home resident, years after he retreated from the spotlight by switching places with an impersonator. It takes a soul-devouring mummy terrorizing the home to bring him out of his funk. His partner? A black senior (Ossie Davis) claiming to be a surgically altered JFK. Relentless fun and Coscarelli’s best movie. Shout! Factory special edition includes commentary from writer Joe Lonsdale, new interviews with Campbell and Coscarelli, and deleted scenes. Returning from a previous edition – commentary from Campbell as Elvis. It’s worth the purchase alone.

► The slasher genre was waning by 1984, leaving Larry Stewart’s THE INITIATION dead on arrival. It also didn’t help being released around the same time as ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street.’ Nonetheless, its retro cheese and considerable gore has found a following over the years. Daphne Zuniga, in her first starring role, is a university student who joins a sorority that makes her and some other victims…er, pledges break into a department store after hours, where they’re soon being stalked. Restored version includes cast interviews.

► The Criterion Collection has gathered all six LONE WOLF AND CUB movies, about a solitary assassin wandering the countryside with his infant son. All six have been digitally restored with reams of extras, including 1980’s ‘Shogun Assassin,’ which re-edited the first two movies for English audiences, and a new interview with Kazuo Koike, who wrote the manga comic it’s based on.

► It’s one of those weird quirks of the ‘70s that Richard Dreyfuss didn’t win his Oscar for classic performances in ‘Jaws,’ ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ or ‘American Graffiti,’ but for a piece of Neil Simon fluff like THE GOODBYE GIRL. In a role originally attached to Robert De Niro, Dreyfuss is a neurotic aspiring actor who sublets a New York apartment from a man who has just left his dancer girlfriend (Marsha Mason) and her 10-year-old daughter. Lacking the funds to move, she agrees to share the apartment with him. Dreyfuss is great in a mostly forgettable movie. Until Adrian Brody won for ‘The Pianist,’ he was the youngest guy to ever win Best Actor.

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