This week’s home entertainment releases include the fifth live-action Transformers movie, the surprise hit underwater survival saga 47 Meters Down, along with a bunch of TV offerings including the SyFy series Channel Zero, and the last gasp of the fantasy-filled Sleep Hollow series.
The pace of releases continues to pick up a bit in the theatrical category, though unlike last week when Wonder Woman
was released, this time around we have to make do with the fifth film in the live-action Transformers
series, Transformers: The Last Knight
(Paramount, “PG-13,” $29.98, BD $39.99, 3D $37.99). Those who have enjoyed the previous loud, brash films in the series, which is notable more for its state-of-the-art effects than for anything else, will likely enjoy The Last Knight
, but everyone else should avoid this hodge-podge, which earned only a 15% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and earned far less here in the U.S. than previous films in the cartoon-based live-action series.
Transformers: The Last Knight
did better overseas than here in North America and ended up with a box office total of $605 million, but it still ended up in the red thanks to a $212 million production cost (and millions more spent on promotion). Tuesday’s other big release 47 Meters Down
(Lionsgate, “PG-13,” 89 min., $29.95, BD $39.99), an undersea survival/horror saga that cost just $5.5 million to produce and ended up earning of $53 million, most of it in the U.S. This film was originally slated to go direct to video, but ended up becoming one of the surprise small scale hits of the year. It earned a mediocre response from both critics (just 54% positive on RT) and audiences (who gave the film a “C” CinemaScore), and yet it was quite successful at the box office, thanks perhaps to its comely stars Mandy Moore and Claire Holt.
For those who enjoy indie films, there is The Little Hours (Gunpowder & Sky, “R,” 90 min., $13.99, BD $19.99), Jeff Baena’s bawdy tale of sex in a medieval nunnery based on first and second tales of the third day of Boccaccio’s Decameron. This is a one-joke movie with a hipster’s perspective on the Middle Ages, but there’s plenty of bawdy potential in source material and Baena didn’t miss many opportunities to get the sexy humor on screen.
TV on DVD
After the flurry of activity that typically accompanies the new TV season, things have started to slow down a bit, though there are some items of passing interest sue in this category on Tuesday including the movie-based Taken: Season 1
(Lionsgate, 440 min., $39.98, BD $44.98), which stars Clive Standen (Vikings) in the Liam Neeson role; Channel Zero--Season 1, Candle Cove
(Universal, 261 min., $29.98), the first story arc of the SyFy anthology series which has narratives based on creepypastas
(Internet versions of urban legends); the excellent Wyoming murder mystery series Longmire: The Complete 5th Season
(Warner Bros., 618 min., $24.98, $39.98), which is based on the mystery novels of Craig Johnson; the final season of the supernatural historical fantasy Sleepy Hollow: Season 4
(Fox, $39.98); and the U.S. comedy/drama Shameless: The Complete 7th Season
(Warner Bros., $29.98, BD $#9.98), which is based on the U.K. series.
Vintage TV releases this week are led by the 1990s sitcom Coach: The Complete Series (Mill Creek, 4000 min., $69.98), and this is the first time that seasons 5-9 have ever been released on disc; the classic Texas high school football saga Friday Night Lights: The Complete Series (Mill Creek, 3,313 min., $69.98, BD $99.98); yet another release of the 1980s superhero action comedy The Last American Hero: The Complete Series (Cinedigm, 2,139 min., $79.97); the 1990s sitcom Ned and Stacey: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, 1,035 min., $44.99), and the 1980s law school drama The Paper Chase: Season 3 (Shout Factory, 570 min., $29.93), which also has never been available on disc before.
Overseas offerings this week include the excellent police procedural Lion of Duty: Series 4
(Acorn Media, 347 min., $39.99), which stars Thandie Newton (Westworld
); and the dark, intriguing Australian legal drama Janet King—Series 3: Playing Advantage
(Acorn Media, 466 min., $49.99), which stars Marta Dusseldorp (A Place to Call Home
There are a number of interesting anime releases this week including Joker Game: The Complete Series
(Funimation, 300 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98), a period adventure series produced by Production I.G. in 2016 and based on Koji Yanagi’s novels about Japanese spies training and operating in the years before World War II. The only problem with this release is that it doesn’t contain the two OVAs that were included with the Japanese Blu-ray.
Also of interest is the music-infused fantasy Dance With Devils: The Complete Series (Funimation, 300 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98), a 2015 Brains Base production that is sort of a reverse harem saga about a teenage girl who is enmeshed in a conflict between hunky devils and vampires at her high school.
For those of the age or inclination to enjoy kid-targeting series like Pokemon and Digimon, there is Puzzle & Dragons X: Part 1 (Funimation, 325 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98), which contains the first 13 episodes of the 2015 series from Studio Pierrot that is based on a spin-off of the mobile game. The series has reached 63 episodes in Japan, and it was being simulcast by Funimation and Crunchyroll (though both appear to have stopped somewhere around episode 38).
This writer is partial to mystery anime, so it’s no surprise that this week’s release of most personal interest is Hyouka: The Complete Series, Part 2 (Funimation, 275 min., BD/DVD Combo $59.98), which includes the final 11 episodes of the 2012 series from Kyoto Animation that is based on Honobu Yonezawa’s novel about the members high school Classic Literature club, who while trying to save their organization, become involved in a fascinating mystery.
Originally schedule earlier, but pushed back by production problems, The Ushio & Tora Premium Box Set (Sentai Filmworks, 975 min., $249.95), contains the previously released 39-episode series (see “DVD Round-Up: Batman & Harley Quinn”) plus a hardcover collector’s booklet, double-sided art cards, PVC Tora keychain, Beast Spear Replica, and a poster.