This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Seventh Son, The Loft, Ray Donovan

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

This Week: Oscar winners Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges in a fantasy howler, the return of Ray Donovan, and the long-delayed whodunnit The Loft.

► The fantasy dud SEVENTH SON was originally supposed to open two years ago. So imagine how thrilled Julianne Moore was to see it open just a couple weeks before this year’s Oscars. She still won, but the stench of this dubious bomb will cling to her for awhile. And Jeff Bridges. And respected Russian director Sergei Bodrov. The whole thing is a tiresome fable about a warrior (Bridges) who seeks a prophesized hero (Ben Barnes) and lures him from his farmhand life to help defeat a dark queen (Moore). This flick’s rep was poison before it even opened, having been delayed four times.

► In limbo since 2011, THE LOFT deals with five guys (James Marsden and Karl Urban among them) who share a posh loft to bring their assorted mistresses to. When a woman is found dead inside one night, they naturally turn on each other since they’re the only five with keys. Remake of the 2008 Dutch thriller ‘Loft’ with the same director, Erik Van Loym and one of the same stars, Matthias Schoenaerts.

► One of Showtime’s biggest hits ever, RAY DONOVAN kept picking up steam during Season 2, with the finale getting the show’s highest ratings. Liev Schreiber plays a Boston bouncer who ‘fixes’ problems in Hollywood. Junkies and spoiled celebrities he can handle, it’s his messed up family – including an ex-con dad (Jon Voight) – that cause him the most grief. Season 2 finds his wife Abby (Paula Malcomson) getting the hots for a cop, and Ray’s past resurfaces and forces him to prepare for a possible arrest. Season 3 starts July 12.

► Not sure why HBO is finally releasing the first and only season of HELLO LADIES more than a year after it was cancelled, and six months after a series-ending movie, but not much about how it treated this show makes sense. Despite roughly the same viewership as ‘Girls’ (which has now had four seasons), this witty and well-written comedy based on Stephen Merchant’s stand-up show was one and done. Merchant is great as an awkward Englishman trying to find his dream girl – model, preferably – while living in L.A. Fantastic supporting cast, excellent soundtrack, some painfully funny episodes…gone! All gone now! Includes all eight episodes and the movie which wrapped everything up in a rushed but satisfying way (the Nicole Kidman segment is Merchant at his brilliant best).

► Lifting a page ore two from the Coens, CUT BANK has Thor’s brother Liam Hemsworth as a former football star in a small town desperate to leave with his girlfriend. When he accidentally films the murder of a postal worker one day, he tries to leverage the footage into a reward. Has that plan ever worked? A very Coen-esque cast includes Billy Bob Thornton, John Malvovich, Bruce Dern and Oliver Platt.

► After establishing its greatness the first two seasons, THE WONDER YEARS hit its peak in Season 3, finishing #9 in the ratings. Several brilliant episodes include ‘Faith,’ in which the family deals with death and taxes while the Apollo 13 mission plays on TV in the background, and the heartbreaking ‘Goodbye,’ where Kevin’s algebra teacher passes away. This show was unlike anything on TV at the time, finally getting its due on DVD after music licensing issues.

► Oscar winner Chuck Workman revisits the master with THE MAGICIAN: THE ASTONISHING LIFE & WORK OF ORSON WELLES. For anyone who can’t sit through ‘Citizen Kane’ or ‘Touch of Evil’ because they’re old movies, I beg you to watch this – if only to get an appreciation of how far removed Welles was from the Hollywood system, doing things which film hadn’t seen before. Workman doesn’t shy away from Welles’ failures, nor his bizarre later years, but here was an ‘indie’ director before that title was a badge of honor.

► Something about the ‘70s had directors convinced every animal on the planet wanted to kill us. Among the ‘nature runs amok’ genre, THE FOOD OF THE GODS and FROGS are some fondly remembered cheese. ‘Gods,’ very loosely based on an H.G. Wells story, has rats, chickens and wasps growing to enormous size and attacking a farmhouse after consuming a strange substance which bubbles up from the ground. ‘Frogs’ has Ray Milland as a crazy old millionaire who tries to poison every animal that crawls onto his property. Thousands of frogs fight back, and convince their fellow critters (in frog-speak, I guess) to join them. Quality double-bill from Shout! Factory, which also releases a twosome of ‘Empire of the Ants’ & ‘Jaws of Satan’ this week.

Also out this week:





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