This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Zootopia, 13 Hours, Vinyl, Hail Caesar

Last Updated on July 31, 2021

This Week: Disney's dominance rolls on with Zootopia, catching up with Khan again, and a quick release for HBO's troubled Vinyl.

► How big will Disney’s year be? ZOOTOPIA has made nearly $340 million, and it’s still only the second biggest thing they’ve released in 2016. And with ‘Rogue One’ at Christmas, it could be the third. The company’s latest animated classic offers a world populated only by animals (I want to go to there), where a rabbit hopes to become the first bunny police officer in the city of Zootopia. Her first big case has her partnering with a con artist fox to find an otter’s missing husband. You know the drill by now – clever writing alluding to the real world, all-star voicework (Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Idris Elba) and eye-popping animation. Canadians will get a kick out of CBC news icon Peter Mansbridge lending his voice as Peter Moosebridge.

► The fact HBO is rushing VINYL’s first season out now instead of waiting just before Season 2 airs tells you how much they’ve basically thrown in the towel on this show. Showrunner Terrence Winter won’t be back for Season 2 after the first season’s mixed reaction. I was in the ‘yay’ camp, thanks to Bobby Cannavale’s fun, off-the-rails performance as a druggy, destructive record company exec trying to keep his business afloat during the turbulent musical climate of the mid ‘70s. Every episode has a killer soundtrack, and it’s fun (if a bit pandering) to watch key moments in rock history play out. The actors playing rock legends (Robert Plant, David Bowie, etc.) are hit and miss though. First episode is directed by Martin Scorsese.

► In-between his shitty Transformers movies, Michael Bay is trying to do interesting stuff. Which everyone promptly ignores, so he goes back to Bumblebee. 13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI is based on the true story of six former military operators sent to defend the CIA in an American compound in Libya during terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2012. John Krasinski and James Badge Dale star. Ended up being Bay’s lowest-grossing flick ever, offset by some of his best reviews. Blu-ray includes features on the real-life incident.

► Charlie Kaufman adds to his list of masterworks with the stop motion stunner ANOMALISA, about a customer service rep (voiced by David Thewlis) who perceives everyone as exactly the same white guy, and they all sound like Tom Noonan. But once he breaks his routine and meets a woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in a Cincinnati hotel, the world starts to open up. Based on Kaufman’s own play, and made possible as a movie because nearly 6,000 people helped fund it on Kickstarter. Nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at this year’s Oscars.

► It doesn’t bode well for the new ‘Star Trek’ movie when most fans seem more excited for the director’s cut blu-ray of STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN. In addition to director Nicholas Meyer’s extended cut which has alternate and re-inserted scenes (totaling about three minutes), there’s commentary by Meyer on both the director’s and theatrical version, a production diary, a tribute to Ricardo Montalban and the 30-minute doc ‘The Genesis Effect: Engineering the Wrath of Khan.’ And it comes with a kick ass Mondo cover.

► Based on the books by Terry Brooks, MTV’s THE SHANNARA CHRONICLES takes place in a world ravaged by demons. After the horde is banished to a place called The Forbidding, a thief, an elven princess and a half-human/half-elf are tasked with protecting the ancient tree which keeps the demons from returning. The show’s dated style feels like it’s plucked from the mid ‘90s, but it has been renewed for a second season. This set has all 10 first season episodes along with a Terry Brooks interview and on-set visit in New Zealand.

► It’s become routine with Coen Brothers movies at this point – they find their audience years later. The disappointing run in theatres is just a formality. The tradition should continue with HAIL, CAESAR!, with Josh Brolin as a movie studio ‘fixer’ in 1951 hired to keep star scandals out of the press. Over the course of one day, he has to deal with a star held for ransom, a director who wants his lead gone, and a pregnant actress hounded by gossip columnists. George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill and assorted Coen regulars appear.

► History Channel’s recent remake of ROOTS may have been a non-event, but I can remember the original being a massive week-long obsession back in January, 1977. For a generation of kids who had no idea about slavery, this was mindblowing stuff, watched by more than half the population of the U.S. over eight consecutive nights. The finale is second only to the final episode of M*A*S*H in viewership. 40th anniversary blu-ray includes a feature on the show’s legacy, a look back with the cast, and the struggles to get it made.

Also out this week:





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