This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Spotlight, Fargo, Secret in Their Eyes

This Week: Spotlight shows why the press matters, Fargo delivers a brilliant second season, and getting seduced again by The Graduate.

SPOTLIGHT is out the same week it may win Best Picture at Sunday’s Oscars. It’s certainly the one with the best shot at edging out ‘The Revenant,’ as Tom McCarthy’s fact-based drama about Boston Globe reporters uncovering widespread child abuse by Roman Catholic priests has all the love and momentum, if not the box office of its biggest competition. Journalists loved it because it’s an inspiring throwback to how newspapers used to be before endless cutbacks and corporate greed gutted the profession. You simply can’t do what the investigative team of The Globe did in 2001 any more – the Spotlight team was four writers and an editor, the entirety of many newsrooms now. Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo are solid in their Oscar-nominated performances, but it’s Michael Keaton as the editor who is the film’s heart and soul. No Oscar nod for him was ridiculous. Blu-ray includes a round table discussion with the real Spotlight team and a look at the state of current journalism, which may be too depressing for some of us.

► Season 2 of FX’s FARGO may have somehow topped that brilliant first season. It certainly wasn’t lacking in WTF moments right off the bat, as the first episode has a massacre at a waffle house, a corpse stashed in a freezer, Patrick Wilson as a younger version of Lou Solverson (the dad of Season 1’s Molly) and …was that a UFO? It’s all as lovably loony, unpredictable and addictive as last time, which is some kind of miracle considering the expectations. This season takes place in 1979, and leads up to the Motor Motel shoot-out referenced last season between police and the criminal Gerhardt family. Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons are the simple folk who get the whole mess started when they kill one of the Garhardt clan, Ted Danson is the Sheriff trying to prevent a mob war, and best of all is Jeffrey Donovan as the hilarious/terrifying Gerhardt son trying to take over the family business. Just give this show all the bloody Emmys.

► Billy Ray’s SECRET IN THEIR EYES is the American remake of the 2009 Argentine thriller which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor are a team of FBI counter-terrorism agents torn apart when Roberts’ daughter is found dead in a dumpster. The investigation tears the team apart, but 13 years later a new lead is followed that leads somewhere…uncomfortable.

► Criterion has its cynics – some people wonder why they give lavish treatment to such obscure movies. But when they turn their attention to well-known classics like THE GRADUATE, there’s nothing to dislike. One of the iconic movies of the ‘60s gets a 4K digital restoration, a new interview with Dustin Hoffman, a 1992 documentary (‘The Graduate at 25’), a 1966 interview with director Mike Nichols and a bunch more. Oh, and those Simon & Garfunkel tunes get a 5.1 surround remix. The best version ever of a landmark movie.

► It was considered a flop when released in 1988, but Wes Craven’s fans know the deal with THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW – it was one of his best. It was certainly a departure for the horror maestro, starting out as a tense drama about a Harvard professor (Bill Pullman) investigating a drug used in voodoo culture which can create zombies. Things then get very creepy, leading to the iconic scene of Pullman being buried alive with a tarantula to “keep him company.” The weird supernatural ending feels out of place, but this is still one of Craven’s more rewatchable movies from his prime. Shout! Factory blu-ray includes Pullman commentary and a ‘making of’ featurette.

► As if director Bob Clark wasn’t ahead of the game enough with ‘Black Christmas’ and ‘Porky’s,’ his 1972 romp CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS took the baton from ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and created the zombie template still used today. Cheesy and incredibly low budget, but once the zombies squirm out of their graves, prompted by a séance from a nearby theatre troupe, the scares earned this cult classic status.

► In EXTRACTION, Bruce Willis is a retired CIA operative kidnapped by terrorists, prompting his government analyst son (Kellan Lutz) to launch an unsanctioned rescue mission. Gina Carano and D.B. Sweeney co-star. While his ‘Expendables’ and Planet Hollywood partner Sylvester Stallone may win an Oscar this week, this was another Willis flick that went straight to video-on-demand.

► Taking its cue from those moon landing theories which won’t go away, MOONWALKERS has Ron Perlman as a CIA agent in 1969 sent to convince Stanley Kubrick to create a fake landing film in case the Apollo 11 mission fails. He instead teams up with a rock band manager (Rupert Grint) to create something considerably more…out there.

Also out this week:





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