This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: The Martian, Mr. Robot, Sinister 2

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

This Week: Bringing The Martian back home, the brilliant Mr. Robot is no hack job, and so long to Paranormal Activity.

THE MARTIAN ended up the biggest hit of Ridley Scott’s career for the right reasons – a human story told on a grand scale. Based on an already beloved book, it did virtually everything right as stranded astronaut (Matt Damon) must “science the shit” out of surviving after he’s stranded on Mars while NASA figures out a way to rescue him. Gripping, emotional and funny – one of last year’s great crowd pleasers and a likely Best Picture nominee.

► A bit ‘Fight Club,’ a bit ‘Matrix,’ MR. ROBOT was one of TV’s crown jewels last year. Rami Malek stars as Elliot, a gifted but socially inept hacker recruited by a group of cyber anarchists to help upend the world’s economy by, among other things, eliminating all debts. To do that, they aim to take down one of the world’s largest corporations from the inside. Pretty much every episode is gripping, especially a white knuckle hour in which a drug dealer pressures Elliot to hack him out of prison before his girlfriend is killed. Blu-ray includes deleted scenes and making of featurette.

► If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s a crapped out, disappointing sequel to any horror movie that makes the slightest ripple (you’re next, ‘It Follows’). So here’s SINISTER 2, minus the original’s director (Scott Derrickson, who’s only co-writer this time) and star (Ethan Hawke). This time, Wayward Pines’ Shannyn Sossamon and her twin sons are tormented in their farmhouse by demon Bughuul and the ghosts of his previous victims. Any inspiration is pushed aside for endless lame jump scares.

► Things end with a whimper instead of a bang with PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION, the sixth and final film in one of horror’s most profitable franchises ever. With both the biggest budget ($10 million) and worst box office ($18.3 million), the series tries untangling its own garbled mythology on the way out, but a concept already growing stale by Part 3 has grown tedious. Things go straight-up ‘Poltergeist’ for the finale as demon Toby takes his final steps to obtain human form. Meanwhile, a new family moves into a Santa Monica house which has ties to young Katie and Kristi 25 years earlier. Despite its limp finish, the first two movies in this series are deserved horror classics.

► Rip him if you must, but Adam Sandler has found another huge cash cow in animated movies. As expected, HOTEL TRANSLYVANIA 2 raked it in, giving him his biggest opening weekend ever. Like the first one, the lukewarm reviews couldn’t dent the concept of bringing Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf-Man together to run a hotel. For Part 2, Drac is worried his grandson isn’t showing any vampire abilities, and things get more complicated when his dad (voiced by Mel Brooks) shows up.

► Every downturn for Woody Allen is usually followed by an uptick of surprise hits and Oscar nominations. After the quickly forgotten IRRATIONAL MAN, he’s due for another hot streak. Allen returns to mystery this time, with Joaquin Phoenix as a college teacher who gets involved with a married professor (Parker Posey) and his top student (Emma Stone).

► The 25th anniversary blu-ray for Tom Stoppard’s Shakespearian comedy ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD includes interviews with Stoppard, who directed his own play, and stars Richard Dreyfuss, Tim Roth and Gary Oldman. The hefty dialogue makes a clumsy transition to film, but Stoppard’s writing is a joy no matter what the medium.

► How has someone not made a bio on John Derek yet? He was a failed actor who somehow married an all-star team of hotties – among his wives was Ursula Andress, Linda Evans, and – until he died in 1998 – Bo Derek. It was with Bo he directed a series of howlers, including the infamous ‘Tarzan the Ape Man.’ He somehow went downhill from there, making two more laughable duds with Bo: 1984’s softcore BOLERO and 1990’s supernatural comedy GHOSTS CAN’T DO IT (his last film). They both won Razzies for Worst Picture. They’re both collected in this blu-ray double feature, and while they’re insufferable as movies, Derek looks spectacular.

Also out this week:





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