This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: The Babadook, Woman in Black 2 …

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

This Week: Bring on The Babadook. Also: The Woman in Black is back and Tim Burton goes small with Big Eyes.

► Like a classic song with vague lyrics, Jennifer Kent’s THE BABADOOK is about whatever you want it to be. Straight forward horror movie? Sure. Drama about the aftermath of grief? Okay. Morality tale about childhood trauma? Why not. It is so open-ended, two people can watch it side by side and be watching two completely different movies. One thing we can all agree on, though: It’s damn scary at points, and Essie Davis gives a knock-out performance as a widowed mom dealing with her troubled son’s belief in monsters. When he discovers a pop-up book about the Babadook – a creature which comes to life once you become aware of it – freaky things start happening around the house, and something wants in. All the artsy metaphors are there if you want, or you can just enjoy it for the well-crafted chills. The only sad part is, the horror genre only gives us one of two of these a year. Special Edition includes deleted scenes, a making of doc, and Kent’s short film ‘Monster.’

► To the people who actually saw it, Tim Burton’s BIG EYES was probably his most well-received movie in a decade. The true story of shy artist Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) and the shady husband (Christoph Waltz) who takes credit for her paintings. They made millions, but eventually ended up in court when she sues for slander and fights to convince the world she’s the actual artist. A down-to-earth, engrossing drama from Burton, showing he can still be an interesting director away from all that CGI and Johnny Depp.

► Three years ago, ‘The Woman in Black’ was a mostly stale adaptation of author Susan Hill’s classy and creepy ghost story (see the stage version if you get a chance). Absolutely nothing about it warrants a sequel, but we got THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH anyway. No Daniel Radcliffe this time, replaced by a school headmistress (Phoebe Fox) who evacuates her students to the haunted Eel March House as bombs drop on London during World War II. Which gives the ghostly Woman in Black a new house full of kids to torment. The first flick has its fans – they’ll be underserved by this one.

► David Cronenberg takes aim at celebrity culture in the comical (for him) MAP TO THE STARS, which won Julianne Moore Best Actreses at Cannes last year. In this ensemble piece of the absurd, she’s a fading actress abused by her late mother, John Cusack and Olivia Williams are the parents of a troubled child star (who married even after realizing they were brother and sister), and Robert Pattinson is the limo driver who wants to be a screenwriter.

► The big time weepie YOU’RE NOT YOU has Hilary Swank as a classical pianist diagnosed with ALS. Her husband (Josh Duhamel) hires a free-spirited young caregiver (Emmy Rossum) for her, just before they split up. First movie for noted theatre director George C. Wolfe since ‘Nights in Rodanthe’ seven years ago.

► The eight-part British series THE MISSING, which aired on Starz in the U.S., has James Nesbitt as the father of a five-year-old boy who vanishes while vacationing in France. He spends the next eight years obsessing over the disappearance, which ends his marriage and affects everyone in his life. A second season, with an all new story, has been ordered by the BBC.

► Shout! Factory digs into the cult Canadian vaults for CLASS OF 1984, a nihilistic high school thriller in which Perry King takes on a punk gang at his new high school, led by an awesomely assholish Tim Van Patten. Owes plenty to ‘The Warriors,’ with a great soundtrack and early appearance by Michael J. Fox in just his second movie. Van Patten went on to direct classic episodes of The Sopranos, The Wire and Boardwalk Empire. Blu includes new interviews with director Mark Lester and retrospective on Perry King.

► One of horror’s most popular anthology films, Roger Corman’s TALES OF TERROR is a terrific hat trick for Vincent Price. He stars in all three segments here, based on Edgar Allan Poe stories. Some liberties are taken with ‘Morella,’ but its story of a dead mother’s spirit rising to take over her daughter is campy and creepy. Much better is ‘The Black Cat’ and its horrific money shot at the end. The final story, ‘The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,’ has a great Basil Rathbone as a hypnotist who refuses to awaken a suffering Price from his trance. Extras include an interview with Corman and commentaries from film historians Tim Lucas and David Del Valle.

Also out this week:





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