What’s New in Movies in May
Well, here we are, in the first week of May. This is notorious for being the hell hole of home video releases. Usually what you see are those small, independent films that get a VERY limited release at the end of December to compete for Academy Award nominations (examples-Hostiles, Molly’s Game). Or, you get those films that studios dump into January because they have no buzz or are being destroyed by critics. But thanks to last year’s lucrative first quarter, which brought both critical and financial successes Split and Get Out, we are starting to see better films coming out in the first few months. And to keep films fresh in the public’s eye, the home video release window has shrunk down from approximately six months to on average three months.
This is very true with this month’s home releases. Almost all the major studio releases were generally successful, but one is a flat-out blockbuster that is still raking in money around the world:
Finally, we are safe: the Fifty Shades Trilogy has come to an end. Fifty Shades Freed is the final chapter of a series of films that will play in a never-ending loop on the Lifetime Channel. Starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as that kinky couple Anastasia and Christian (they even have Lifetime Channel names), the film goes from made-for-TV thriller to soft porn. If you watch it for the sex scenes, you’ll be disappointed, if you watch it for the thriller subplot, there are so many better films to choose from. And if you do buy it, we will find you and we will laugh at you.
The DC universe releases their next animated film, Batman Ninja, and it has been getting strong word of mouth. The plot takes Batman and The Joker, among others, and transports them to medieval Japan. It has a very anime feel to it, so fans of DC animation and anime will probably get a kick out of it.
There are six huge 4K catalog releases this month, and this first one is Saving Private Ryan. We all know the story-Tom Hanks leads a group of men to bring a soldier (Matt Damon) home after his 3 brothers are killed on the same day in World War II. It is a powerful film, and probably Steven Spielberg’s second best movie, next to Schindler’s List. Advance word is that the 4K transfer is stunning. But I am more excited about hearing the film’s 5.1 DTS-HD audio package upgraded to Dolby Atmos. I hope my neighbors enjoy it.
Three months after hitting theaters and breaking box office records, Black Panther is coming to home video in 4K, Blu-ray and DVD. Chadwick Boseman stars as Marvel’s newest superhero, T’Challa, ruler of Wakanda. Sure, it’s a Marvel film, so there are cool gadgets and loads of action. But its story, focusing on family and the sins of our fathers, touches on elements not usually addressed in a Marvel film. Also, Michael B. Jordan brings to life one of the best villains in the Marvel Universe. If your home A/V equipment is 4K compatible, don’t even think about getting anything but the UHD version of the film. They are true reference quality.
Also available this week are 4K upgrades to three classics; Gladiator, Braveheart and the original Die Hard. I am happy to say that these will be the ultimate versions of these films, so Paramount and Fox can stop trying to re-release these titles in an attempt to get viewers to double, triple, even quadruple-dip copies. I may even sell my other versions of the films-they are no longer needed, thanks to 4K.
I’m going to be so broke this week. There are 5 big studio releases, as well as 2 MAJOR 4K titles. So I have to decide: Food, movies, food, movies, food, movies. Guess no food this week. Let’s hit the 4K titles first:
The Jurassic Park Collection hits 4K with a DTS-X audio upgrade that should shake the pictures off the walls. I am so excited about seeing the dinosaurs in glorious 2160p. Unfortunately, you can’t get the separately, so you will have to get Lost World and Jurassic Park III. But to get the original and Jurassic World, it’s a price I’ll have to pay.
The second 4K biggie is The Matrix. Although I have several copies of this classic, there is no way I’m departing with any of them. I will quadruple-dip for this film. I cannot wait to see this in glorious Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound. This will be the first disc in when I get home from the store.
Other films released today include Red Sparrow, in 4K, Blu-ray and DVD. It’s a very slow-paced thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence as a former Russian ballerina who becomes an assassin. JLaw has not been choosing her roles well lately, and has lost some of that luster she had in the early part of her career. But after this and mother!, she has nowhere to go but up.
Game Night comes out this week as well. Starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, the film starts as a friendly game night between family and friends that becomes chaotic and everyone finds themselves over their head. It’s an entertaining film that did well with critics and audiences alike.
One film that didn’t do so well is The 15:17 to Paris, Clint Eastwood’s reenactment of the attempted terrorist takeover on a train that was thwarted by 3 Americans. Eastwood came up with the idea to have the real-life heroes play themselves in the movie. They probably should have stuck to just being heroes. Eastwood’s directing style doesn’t allow for any rehearsals or many takes, and it really shows. The 15:17 to Paris is a very slow-moving train, and doesn’t pick up steam until the attempt terrorist takeover.
From the people that brought you Wallace and Gromit, Early Man stars the voice of Tom Hiddleston and Eddie Redmayne. It tells the story of Dug, along with sidekick Hognob as they battle against Lord Nooth to save their home. This is a fun film, but if only they released Chicken Run on Blu-ray
I Kill Giants, with Zoe Saldana and Madison Wolfe, is based on the graphic novel. It’s the story of a young girl that has to battle giants to project her town. It’s a good family film, but it may be on the same level of A Monster Calls.
After last week, thank goodness there is only one major title coming out today, and that is Annihilation. Starring Natalie Portman, it’s a sci-fi thriller about a biologist leading a team into an area quarantined on Earth that contains mutated plant life and creatures that could threaten the world. It is a total mind-fuck from beginning to end, brought to you by Alex Garland, the director of Ex Machina. I would recommend the 4K version Annihilation, which is an exclusive at Best Buy.
Coming in June
- A Wrinkle in Time
- Tomb Raider
- Death Wish
- Love Simon
- The Strangers: Prey at Night
- The Hurricane Heist
- Pacific Rim: Uprising
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