Hey kids. Welcome back to a pseudo-sophomore post. This is really just a follow up to the initial entry on this blog with a bit about what is coming out this week. Sure, this news is available online in a number of places. This just now happens to be one more with maybe just a touch of artistic flair that you happen to appreciate. I’m still going to try and come up with an actual post this week of something I’m watching but I’ve been in a TV zone for a while now and need to bust back into the movie realm to get the creative juices flowing again. In the future I may bust out a DVD/Home Media post AND a “Coming to Theaters this Friday” post but I’m not overtly inclined this week as there’s still only a few items of note. So let’s kick things off with DVD’s.
I’m gonna go ahead and get this out of the way first thing. I’m probably always going to say “This is what’s coming out on DVD this week.” I am often shamed by another Cinemaster, who shall remain nameless, for even entertaining the idea of viewing things in standard definition, as DVD affords us presently. But really when I’m purchasing things at this point, I’m almost always buying Blu-Ray. I just don’t feel normal saying “This is what’s coming out on Blu-Ray this week”. So DVD should equate Blu-Ray and/or digital media. I will make a special disclaimer that digital media has a tendency to be available 2-3 weeks ahead of DVD releases (remember, read that as Blu-ray) so some of this may get cyclical but I like to provide content to people who solely stream and those of us who still cop that disc as Missy Elliot once eloquently put it. Now, with that little spiel out of the way, lets dig into what’s out this week. Starting off with DVD releases we don’t have any huge performers in my estimation. The big names are “Queen & Slim”, “Dark Waters” and “Playmobil: The Movie”. So right off the bat we’re not dealing with any heavy hitters as I see it. There’s a handful of other much smaller films being released as well as what I assume are straight to video. As this is meant to be a little more concise post to the blog, I’m not going to trudge through the outliers unless I find them to be particularly worthwhile in including them for one reason or another. I do tend to dabble in off the beaten path flicks on the regular so there may be some titles that are lesser known in the posts going forward, but this week there’s nothing special on my radar so I’ll stick to these ones. Of these three flicks coming out on DVD, I’m not especially moved towards any of them. Queen and Slim had a short stint in theaters and felt like it had a pretty specific, though not exclusive, demographic in mind. Dark Waters featured a non-Hulked out Mark Ruffalo sticking up for the little guy in a David v. Goliath legal battle. I’ve seen a handful of movies like this before so I wasn’t overtly moved to take this one in, though I’m sure it’s more than likely worth the time. I feel like this one could be worthwhile once it makes its way to the streaming services but probably not worth renting/buying unless you’ve literally got nothing else to watch. And you do. Because Netflix just released 18 movies while I was typing this sentence and at least 2 of them are semi-watchable. Lastly is the Playmobil movie, which again has a pretty specific demographic. This looked like an attempt to cash in on the fame of the Lego movies of late. While I’m still game to check it out at some point, it’s another one I’m not rushing out to get my hands on it. It should be making the streaming rounds in a couple months and I’ll catch it then.
Now, I’ll switch over to digital media since there IS a worthwhile note there. The box office giant from last December, no I’m not looking at Star Wars just yet, but one of seemingly similar adventure and excitement is hitting the digital shelves this week. The 2nd entry in the current iteration of the franchise and 3rd overall with its cinematic moniker is now available for digital download and I’m talking about Jumanji: The Next Level. I’m a hardcore old school Jumanji fan. I watch it at least a handful of times every year. So I was a little wary when the talks got serious that they were going to update the film a few years ago. Including Dwayne Johnson in the cast eased some of my fears because it’s hard to not like him on screen but I proceeded with cautious optimism. Once the reboot arrived, my fears were quickly dismissed as it was a fun new storyline with exciting characters and a compelling story. They picked out just enough elements to tie back to the original and tip its thematic cap to the initial installment while being fresh and new in all the right ways. Teaming Johnson and Kevin Hart is almost always a sure bet and bringing in Karen Gillan and Jack Black rounded out the cast nicely. The film stood on its own and was sincerely enjoyable with real re-watchability. That’s something us Cinemasters look for in a flick, especially for home purchase. It was sure to grant a sequel and this past December it was delivered. I was less cautious this time around but we were squarely in uncharted waters as this was a legitimate sequel to a whole new franchise. But Jake Kasdan brought the same heart and soul in the 2nd Jumanji of the 21st century as he did the first. This time around we had the Dannys, Devito and Glover, join the cast and they were expertly applied. Their comedy relief was fantastic. Somewhat up and comer Akwafina also joined the cast in a surprisingly delightful fashion and really showed some range in her ability to play a neurotic college student stuck in the body of a female Asian thief as well as an aged curmudgeon, also stuck in the body of a female Asian thief. I’m also going to specifically note Nick Jonas as a returning cast member as he was very capable in his acting abilities which is not always the case for musical artists who take a stab at acting. Colin Hanks also reprised his role as Jonas’s “real world” counterpart which I was surprised but pleased to see. All around, the film was just as much, if not more fun than the original. Not the original original. The original reboot. You know what I mean. So this is one I definitely recommend as a great family flick. The action is high and some of the language may be a little salty in places depending on how young your kiddos are but I still highly recommend this film for a watch if you’ve not seen it. I’ll be picking it up on Vudu this week as they offer a “Disc+Digital” option where I can buy the Blu-Ray and have it shipped directly to me when it is released while still enjoying the Digital copy right now. Plus, when you get the Blu-Ray or 4K in the mail, it comes with another digital download you can share with a friend or sell online for a couple of bucks to offset the cost if you like.
This brings me to theatrical releases this week. I figured since it’s already Wednesday, let’s get two proverbial birds with one make believe stone. The three films I see on my radar, which I use dvdsreleasedates.com for the good majority of my film and DVD release updates, are “Onward”, “The Burnt Oragne Heresy” and “The Way Back”. Right off the bat, I’m going to admit that I have no idea what “The Burnt Orange Heresy” is. I’ve not heard of it and until literally right now, I’ve not seen or bothered looking for, a trailer for it. I can’t say that even after watching it that I’m moved in the least. I know there’s definitely a demographic for this film. I’m not sure how many acting credits that Mick Jagger has to his name and I’m not motivated to even check before writing this. So that should hopefully frame my lack of excitement for this artsy thriller which is literally about art. It also features Donald Sutherland so you can be reminded he’s still kicking. The two leads are people I’ve never heard of and don’t have any affinity for per se. I don’t necessarily like to just dump on movies I’ve not seen but there’s nothing about this flick that even casually excites me so I’ve already spent too much time and energy talking about it. I’m going to save “Onward” for last so that means “The Way Back” is next. This one I’m a good deal more excited about but still not sure if I’ll see it in theaters. I’m on the edge on it. Its Ben Affleck coming back to the big screen in front of the camera instead of behind it as he’s been more apt to do in recent years. I believe the film is rather cathartic for him as his character is a high school basketball coach who has lost a great deal and is trying to claw his way back to a good place, hence the title. Affleck, himself, has fallen on harder times in the last few years due to his own marriage falling apart and a measurable battle with alcoholism as well. Unfortunately in his world, those things are far more public which only takes a further toll. Thankfully, as we Cinemasters are forever rooting for Affleck, he seems to have found his way to a good place as this is one of those films sure to be filled with touching moments of triumph after grueling personal losses. He’s an underdog we can get behind and cheer on as his character mimics his own personal road to redemption which just gives the story that much more heart. I’m hoping for good things not just at the box office, but if some of the notes in the film hit the way they seem like they could, this could be a road back to celebrated award notoriety. That’s what makes this one a real contender in my book. And Finally, that brings us to “Onward”. Disney has been promoting this one for a good few months now and it seems like the payoff is going to be there. Teaming up Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, outside of their MCU personas, in an animated film of fantastic proportions. It features these two brothers who have one day to resurrect their father via some sort of magic that shorts out just shy of the middle. Literally. In reanimating their late father, the magical element cuts out just above the belt to leave the top half of their father missing. The two brothers must go on a daring adventure to find a way to finish the job before their 24 hour window closes. As a dad of two boys I have a sort of connection to the story in that way but it’s also an opportunity to share one of my favorite past times with my kiddos who are the perfect age to enjoy an animated adventure of this magnitude. Plus with the recognizable voice talents of Star Lord and Spider-man at the helm, its sure to be an instant classic. I know there will be a number of other recognizable voice talents along the way as well as twist, turns and plenty of heart and humor. So this one definitely seems like a worthwhile outing to the multiplex in my estimation. If Disney has shown anything over the last few years it’s definitely how to reliably pack theater seats so I’m thinking this should be no different an endeavor.
So that’s my take for this week as it goes for movie releases both at home and on the big screen. I’ll be doing something of this sort hopefully every week as well as walking through any other cinematic excitement I find myself enjoying. If there’s any movies that you have any questions about, feel free to reach out and we’ll be happy to give any insight we have on a flick, even if we’ve not seen it. We love breaking down movies even if they aren’t in our purview but know actors, directors and the like and can give any information we have. So on that note I’ll bid you happy watching until my next cinematic adventure. This has been your Cinemaster to the North, Adam Peterson.