This week’s home entertainment offerings include one of 2017’s most interesting comic book adaptations, the second season of the wildly bizarre Preacher TV series, the full tenth season of the revived Doctor Who, one of this year’s best crime films, and the fourteenth installment of the Gundam mecha franchise.
Not all “comic book movies” are superhero sagas as this week’s top release will attest. Atomic Blonde
(Universal, “R,” 115 min., $29.98, BD $34.98) is based on the graphic novel The Coldest City
by Anthony Johnston and Sam Hart, which was published in 2012 by Oni Press. Charlize Theron, who stars in the film, developed the project and hired John Wick
co-director David Leitch to helm the project, which features lots of hyper-kinetic, well-shot action sequences in which Theron’s character unleashes all sorts of mayhem on a legion of Cold War spies and operatives. Tighter plotting might have created a better film, but it might also have gotten in the way of the “ass-kicking,” which is the main feature of Atomic Blonde,
a movie that is just about the polar opposite of realistic Cold War espionage stories like John LeCarre’s The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
. Whatever the failings of its script, Atomic Blonde
thrives on the powerful charisma of its star and the relentless brutality of its action scenes.
This week’s other top release is Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River
(Lionsgate, “R,” 107 min., $29.98, BD $34.98), which stars Elizabeth Olsen as an FBI agent tracking down a killer on the Wind River reservation in Wyoming in mid-winter. Sheridan wrote Hell or High Water
, which was one of 2016’s best movies, and Wind River,
which also features another strong performance from Jeremy Renner, is clearly one of the best crime films of 2017. Wind River
is no family movie. It earns every bit of its “R” rating with plenty of violence and brutality, but it is easy to see why this character-driven mystery has an 87% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and has earned over $34 million at the box office (versus a cost of just $11 million).
Also due on Tuesday is The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature (Universal, “PG,” 92 min., $29.98, BD $34.98), one of many animated feature films that disappointed in 2017. Produced for $40 million, The Nut Job 2 is typical of the mediocre animated films that have tarnished the once lustrous genre. Though many critics actually preferred this sequel to the original Nut Job, NJ2, supposedly the better of the two films, could manage only a 10% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. There is no shortage of excellent animated films from the past ten years, this is one to avoid.
TV on DVD
This week’s top geek-centric release is Preacher Season 2
(Sony, 588 min., $35.99, BD $45.99), which collects the 13-episode second season of the adaptation of the Vertigo comic series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. This series manages to capture the genre-bending insanity of this wildly imaginative saga, and the second season, which aired this summer, received a 90% positive rating from TV critics surveyed by Rotten Tomatoes.
Although it has been released earlier this year in two parts, many dedicated Doctor Who
fans hold out for the complete series, and on Tuesday they will be able to pick up Doctor Who: The Complete 10th Series
(BBC, 540 min., $74.99, BD $89.98), which includes all 12 episodes of the tenth season of the revived Doctor Who
series, the final outing for Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor.
Also of interest is 24 Legacy: Season 1 (Fox, $39.98), a 12-episode spin-off of the post 9/11 hit Fox series 24. Like 24, Legacy, which stars Corey Hawkins, uses “real time” narration, but unlike the original series, which lasted eight seasons, Legacy could only manage one before cancellation.
The top non-Whovian overseas offering this week is Rake: Series 4
(Acorn Media, 461 min., $39.99), the latest collection of the Australian legal comedy/drama about a brilliant, but self-destructive barrister.
All the rest of Tuesday’s offerings are “complete series” sets of previously released material that has been packaged for holiday gift-giving. This week’s offerings include: the classic “good old boys” saga The Dukes of Hazard: Complete Collection (Warner Bros., $189.99); the long-running family drama 7th Heaven: The Complete Series (Paradox, $179.99); the 1980s political satire, mixed media (puppets and people) series, D.C. Follies: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, 945 min., $34.99); and the forensic-themed police procedural, C.S.I.: Miami—The Complete Series (Paramount, 10,159 min., $111.99).
Iron-Blooded Orphans, Ltd. Ed.
This week’s releases include the latest installment in Japan’s longest running mecha series, Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, Season 1, Part 1
(Funimation, “TV-MA,” 325 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98, Ltd. Ed. $149.95), which includes the first 13 episodes of the fourteenth Gundam
series. Produced by Sunrise, Iron-Blooded Orphans
aired in Japan in 2015 and 2016, and its far-ranging narrative takes on a number of issues of contemporary interest including child soldiers, corruption, neo-colonialism, and slavery. Also due on Tuesday is Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans, Season 1, Part 2
(Funimation,”TV-MA,” 300 min., BD’DVD Combo $64.98) which includes episodes 14-25 of the 50-episode series. The Limited Edition
comes in a decorated chipboard box, which has enough room for the entire 50-episode series, and also includes an exclusive metallic finish version of the Gunpla mobile suit model kit, plus an artbook and an HG 1/144 Gundam Barbatos + Smoothbore Gun.
Also of considerable interest is 91 Days: The Complete Series
(Funimation, “TV-MA,” 325 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98, Ltd. Ed. $84.98), which collects the 13-episode 2016 anime gangster saga from Shuka that is set in Chicago during Prohibition. This action-packed crime series was simulcast on Crunchyroll. The Limited Edition
comes with a 40-page companion guidebook with character profiles, a history of Chicago crime, and period weapons, plus a special rigid box featuring series art, and six art cards.
Re-priced re-releases include Rosario + Vampire: The Complete Series (Funimation, “TV-MA,” 650 min., BD/DVD Combo $69.98), and Haikyu!! Season 1 Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, “TV-14,” 625 min. , $89.98, BD $99.98). These series were released previously in multiple parts and are now available in lower priced editions.