Another week, another round up of the week’s Blu-ray releases. With the Academy Awards now safely in our rearview mirror, a number of the year’s big winners and nominees land on Blu-ray, headlined by Guillermo Del Toro’s Best Picture winning The Shape of Water.
Monster movie master Guillermo Del Toro has broken through from cult cinema icon into an Oscar-winning director with The Shape of Water, which took home four Academy Awards at this month’s ceremony.
At the height of the cold war, Elisa (Sally Hawkins in her Oscar nominated role) is a mute woman working in a secretive government facility run by the crude, overbearing government agent Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). Elisa’s life is turned upside down when a mysterious amphibious creature (Doug Jones) is housed and experimented upon. Soon Elisa forms a bond with the amphibian man that soon blossoms into a love affair unlike any other to grace the screen before it.
Majestically directed and designed, The Shape of Water earned all of its nominations, including the supporting acting nods for Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer. The Shape of Water will look absolutely stunning in the comfort of your own home on Blu-ray or 4K UHD from Fox Home Entertainment. The special features on the disc include a number of featurettes on the making of the film as well as breakdowns of some of the film’s most memorable scenes.
The movie that changed the way we look at peaches, Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name was one of last year’s most acclaimed films and took home the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for the legendary James Ivory’s adaptation of André Aciman novel. Now the film lands on Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
This sun-soaked drama that takes place in Italy stars young Timothée Chalamet as Elio, a young man who enters into a love affair with Oliver (Armie Hammer) over the summer. Chalamet is phenomenal in the film and is certainly going to be a major force in cinema for years to come. Chalamet would’ve been the clear favorite for the Oscar had he not been up against the powerhouse performance by Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour.
Call Me by Your Name comes to Blu-ray with a handful of special features, including two featurettes on the making of the film. There is also an audio commentary track with Chalamet and his co-star Michael Stuhlbarg (who is also in The Shape of Water). Finally, there’s the music video for Sufjan Stevens’ Oscar nominated song “Mystery of Love.”
Every once in a while a film comes along to widespread critical acclaim and I just don’t agree with my esteemed colleagues. That was the case with the past year’s I, Tonya. I got what the film was going for but didn’t think it achieved its goals. Director Craig Gillespie’s telling of the infamous scandal that rocked the world of figure skating ahead of the 1994 Winter Olympics tried to reshape the narrative into one that painted Tonya Harding as a victim (which I believe is true in regards to the abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother and husband, but that’s it) who was on the outside of the violent conspiracy to wound Nancy Kerrigan, something not necessarily supported by fact.
Margot Robbie gives another stellar performance as the bad girl of figure skating, and she is without a doubt the best thing about I, Tonya. However, it was Allison Janney who took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress as Harding’s chain-smoking and cruel mother LaVona. Sebastian Stan and Julianne Nicholson co-star in the energetic comedic take on domestic abuse and scandal.
I, Tonya arrives on Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment with an audio commentary track from director Craig Gillespie, some deleted scenes, and a behind the scenes featurette.
For a brief moment, it seemed that James Franco was headed for a Best Actor nomination for his turn as Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist, the movie adaptation of the book by Greg Sestero which told the story behind The Room, the wildly popular bad movie that has become a cult phenomenon. Then Franco’s past bad behavior came to light and possibly dashed his Oscar chances. (It’s unlikely as the allegations leveled against Franco came when there were only a few days left of nomination voting.)
The Disaster Artist did earn one Oscar nomination for the screenplay by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, losing to the aforementioned Call Me by Your Name. Awards aside, The Disaster Artist is a fun look at the deranged dreams of Tommy Wiseau and how he willed an unbelievably awful movie into existence.
James Franco co-stars alongside his brother Dave Franco, who plays Sestero, and the film features a robust cast of famous faces, including Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Nathan Fielder, Paul Scheer, and many, many more.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment is releasing The Disaster Artist on Blu-ray with an audio commentary track with the two Franco brothers joined by the two men they played, Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero. There are also three featurettes on the film and its subject as well as a gag reel.
The Age of Innocence
Martin Scorsese has made so many masterpieces that some of his masterworks wind up getting overlooked. One of those overlooked masterworks, The Age of Innocence, finally lands on Blu-ray thanks to a new edition from the Criterion Collection. The 19th century drama with its lush production design, phenomenal performances, and impeccable direction by Scorsese finally will be available in true HD with a new 4K transfer.
The romantic drama, which I haven’t seen in many, many years, stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Winona Ryder, each working at the height of their powers and physical allure. The adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel was written by Scorsese and Jay Cocks, whom Scorsese would also work with on Gangs of New York and Silence. Bringing the lush scenery to life is the work by legendary cinematographer Michael Ballhaus.
The new Criterion edition of The Age of Innocence features new interviews with Scorsese and Cocks, as well as interviews with production designer Dante Ferretti and costume designer Gabriella Pescucci. There’s also a featurette about the movie and an essay from critic Geoffrey O’Brien. Hopefully entering the Criterion Collection will mean that The Age of Innocence will no longer be an overlooked Martin Scorsese masterwork, but one of many masterful works from one cinema’s greats.
Sorry kids, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment isn’t going to #ReleaseTheSnyderCutPhoto. But they are releasing Justice League on Blu-ray, so there’s that. What has been known as the DC Extended Universe has had its share of problems, and those issues pretty much culminated in Justice League. After the massive success of Wonder Woman, Justice League was a big step back for Warner Brothers’ comic book universe. It’s a film that where the behind-the-scenes production issues appear on the screen but at least it’s not a relentlessly grim movie that is punishing to sit through, such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and the Flash (Ezra Miller) unite to take down an emerging evil that is after a square MacGuffin that will end the world as we know it. Also appearing in the film credited to director Zack Snyder with reshoots and rewrites overseen by Joss Whedon.
There are an array of special features on the Blu-ray for Justice League, mostly featurettes and scene breakdowns. Those looking for deleted scenes that might’ve been part of Zack Snyder’s original vision will be sorely disappointed as there’s only one deleted scene on the disc and that involves the resurrected Superman. This is an odd edition of a movie because Justice League the movie isn’t good enough to appeal to average movie lovers and the special features aren’t what die-hard DC fans are yearning for. I guess that kind of sums up Justice League.