This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Transcendence, Heaven Is For Real …

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

This week: A rough ride for Depp & Schwarzenegger, 'Billie Jean' finally comes to Blu, and get the collection basket out for 'Heaven is for Real.'

► Few movies got ripped worse than TRANSCENDENCE this year. To be fair, at least first-time director Wally Pfister tries making a sci-fi movie about ideas and morality instead of spectacle, with Johnny Depp as an AI researcher whose body is dying after an attack by anti-technology extremists. When his consciousness is uploaded into a quantum computer, he suddenly has access – and influence – over all the world’s technology. Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy and Kate Mara co-star. Blu-ray features include a look at the reality of the film’s AI theories.

► Churchgoers across the land helped push HEAVEN IS FOR REAL past $90 million at the box office. Based on the huge-selling Christian book by Todd Burp and Lynn Vincent, it’s the ‘true’ story of a small town pastor’s son who has a near-death experience during surgery and upon awakening recounts events and deceased family members he couldn’t possibly have known about. Oh, he also says Jesus rides a rainbow-colored horse. The book was so cornball, even some Christians were rolling their eyes. The movie doesn’t shy away from the sap. Stars Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly.

► It’s no wonder Arnold Schwarzenegger is going back to the loving arms of The Terminator – since his post-Governor comeback he has been in three straight flops, none bigger than SABOTAGE. In fact, its meek $5.3 million opening was the worst for an Arny flick in nearly 30 years (‘Red Sonja’). He leads a DEA task force whose members steal $10 million during a raid, and then start getting killed off. Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard and – hello, ladies – Joe Manganiello are among the team.

► The Kickstarter-funded BLUE RUIN ($35,000) finds a beach bum getting revenge on the guy who murdered his parents shortly after he’s released from jail. Thinking he’s in the clear, instead his victim’s gang hunts him down. Slick little thriller that made its mark at Cannes last year. Stars Macon Blair and Devin Ratray. You better believe Kickstarter successes like this are changing the financial landscape for indie films.

► For some reason, fans assume Pat Benatar is the reason THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN has never had a proper DVD release (it’s available as a DVD-R through Amazon), on the basis she hated the movie so much she wanted it buried for good. Granted it is a terrible relic of the ‘80s, but even the Invincible Benatar doesn’t have that power. The ‘Fair is Fair’ edition of this 1985 howler about teen fugitives who become a media sensation includes commentary by Helen Slater and Yeardley Smith. The reason they’re stars? Slater’s dumb-ass friend, played by Christian Slater (no relation), accidentally shoots the shop owner while trying to get his scooter repaired. For my first-ever date, I took a girl I had a huge crush on in high school to the drive-in to see this. Actually, she drove…but anyway, it was also our last date. She must have thought I had shit taste in movies.

► The unhinged DOM HEMINGWAY finds Jude Law as a safecracker released after 12 years in jail. Expecting payment from his boss for not being a rat, he instead goes on a three day bender while trying to win over a daughter that has grown up while he was away. Written and directed by TV busybody Richard Shepard (Girls, 30 Rock). Emilia Clarke plays Law’s daughter.

► Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson have remade their own 2001 horror comedy ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE, this time casting Caitlin Stasey (from the Aussie soap ‘Neighbors’) as a cheerleader whose friend dies while doing a routine. When she sees her friend’s boyfriend already making moves on another girl, she decides to take some revenge. Lots more cheerleaders die, and then come back.

► It has become weirdly fashionable for Godzilla fans to suddenly give GODZILLA vs. MEGALON a pass. A campy, fun romp we should stop beating up on, they tell us. To those people I say…have you lost your friggin’ mind? Every horrible, insane thing that ruined Godzilla in the early ‘70s is right here, in a movie so unforgivably stupid, Big G’s infamous, gravity-defying kick becomes the de facto highlight. This one resurfaces just as he got some respect back this year.

Also out this week:



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