This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: The Hateful Eight, Point Break, Archer

Last Updated on July 31, 2021

This Week: Tarantino's twisted, terrific 'The Hateful Eight,' the utterly pointless 'Point Break,' and Will Smith takes on the NFL in 'Concussion.'

► Quentin Tarantino's THE HATEFUL EIGHT came up short on the accolades and awards he's used to, but it may be the most fun movie he's made in years. It's his version of a 'bottle episode' – virtually an entire story taking place in one location, with characters revealed in flashbacks and sudden, shocking violence. It has all his trademarks, plus a few pulpy twists that pay off beautifully. Oh, and it's funny as hell. If you've never warmed up to Tarantino (and if you visit this site, I don't see how that's possible), you probably won't start here. For the devoted, you know the drill – dialogue that sounds like gritty theatre, gift wrapped in stunning visuals and an undying love of cinema. Slim blu-ray extras (just two featurettes) no doubt mean the film's 187-minute 'Roadshow Version' is imminent.

► With the possible exception of ‘Poltergeist,’ I don’t think a movie was more universally hated last year before it even opened than POINT BREAK. Pointless beyond all rational excuse, it loads up abrasive, tiresome stunt sequences in an effort to distract you from the fact there is absolutely nothing fun, interesting or logical going on. Any hint of the original’s surfer charm and colorful characters is whitewashed by a plodding script that wants to be the ‘Fast & Furious’ of Xtreme sports. Extras focus on the rock climbing, wingsuit flying and snowboarding, and barely anything on the film itself. Probably for the best.

► Was I the only one surprised to see commercials for CONCUSSION during NFL games last year? Because the league – and especially commissioner Roger Goodell – don’t come off looking so good in this true story of a neuropathologist (Will Smith) who first discovers the link between pro football and long-term brain trauma. His findings are dismissed by the league, until one high-profile suicide forces them to take it serious. Passionately performed by Smith, but the grim box office indicates people don’t want to feel guilty about their Sunday ritual.

► After a season spent as drug cartel villains, the gang from ARCHER gets back to nailing bad guys in their usual dysfunctional, ass-backwards way. This year they deal with drunken benders in Vegas, Barry’s endoskeleton, and in a two-part finale, being shrunk to microbe size to destroy a blood clot inside a prominent scientist. As always, you will be quoting the best lines to yourself for days. And you’ll still laugh.

► The horror keeper of the week is VCI’s uncut version of the moody British gem THE CITY OF THE DEAD (1960), released in a mangled version in the U.S. as ‘Horror Hotel.’ Christopher Lee is a professor who urges one of his young students to research witchcraft in a Massachusetts town, where she finds the place controlled by the reincarnation of a 17th century witch who needs a virgin sacrificed every year. Guess who’s next. Two minutes of key dialogue has been restored. Blu-ray also includes a lengthy interview with Lee along with commentary from British horror expert Bruce G. Hallenbeck.

► Character actor Marc Lawrence, a mafia-type bad guy in dozens of movies, directed his daughter Toni in the bizarre 1972 horror flick PIGS. She plays a mental hospital escapee who seeks shelter on a farm run by a circus performer who keeps a pen of 12 pigs who feast on human flesh. Soon enough she’s knocking people off and feeding them to the livestock, which catches the attention of the sheriff. Vineger Syndrome blu-ray includes new 2K restoration, a featurette with Toni Lawrence, and the film’s alternate beginning and ending.

► British show HUMANS, based on the Swedish series ‘Real Humans,’ looks at the cultural impact of flawless looking AI’s in the near future, and the group looking to wipe them out before humans become redundant. In the UK, this was Channel 4’s highest-rated drama in 23 years. Aired on AMC in the U.S. last June.

► With MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 re-emerging later this year, they’re still mining the old series for gold. Boxed set #35 serves up another four clunkers made watchable by the first-rate razzing of Joel Hodgson and Mike Nelson. Included is Roger Corman’s ‘Teenage Caveman’ (1958), the 1982 low-budget laugher ‘Being From Another Planet,’ the sci-fi howler ’12 to the Moon’ (1960) and – from the show’s final season – the 1988 sword and sorcery romp ‘Deathstalker and the Warriors From Hell.’

Also out this week:





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