Comic shop owners know all too well that with weekly release schedules, the rare fifth release day in a month typically means slim pickings, and you can see in this week’s limited home entertainment offerings, which are enlivened fortunately by Alex Garland’s fascinating Annihilation, a new edition of the 1970s horror/mystery The Reincarnation of Peter Proud, and in I’m Dying Up Here, the new Showtime series about stand-up comedy in LA in the 1970s.
There is only one major release this week, but it is a good one for those who enjoy thought-provoking science fiction, Alex Garland’s Annihilation
(Paramount, “R,” 114 min., $29.99, BD $39.99), which stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Gina Rodriguez. Although Annihilation
was a box office disappointment (unlike Garland’s previous film Ex Machina
), it has a stellar 87% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Visually stunning and thematically complex, Annihilation
is not for everyone, but for others it is the most interesting and challenging science fiction film of 2018 so far.
For horror movie fans there is (for the first time in high definition), a Blu-ray edition of the 1975 American International horror film, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud
(Kino Lorber, “R,” 105 min., $19.95, BD $24.98), which was directed by J. Lee Thompson with a great cast that included Michael Sarazin, Margot Kidder, and Jennifer O’Neill. It may not be saying a whole lot, but this is (in my opinion), the best reincarnation movie ever.
TV on DVD
It’s a slim week in all categories including TV on disc. The only contemporary domestic series of note is the Showtime comedy drama I’m Dying Up Here: Season One
(Showtime, 581 min., $29.95), which takes place at an L.A. comedy club in the 1970s as a group of young stand-up comedians strive for the brass ring of success. Those who enjoy stand-up comedy will love this saga about a group of comics all vying for a guest shot on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show
This week’s lone vintage release is the 1980s sitcom Diff’rent Strokes: The Complete Final Season (Shout Factory, 480 min., $22.97), which presents the 1984-1985 tear-stained last gasp of Gary Coleman and company.
Overseas offerings this week include the final season of the quirky BBC comedy Detectorists: Series 3
(Acorn Media, 179 min., $39.99) about tow oddball metal detecting enthusiasts who scour the English countryside for treasure.
Also of interest is East West 101: Series 2
(Acorn Media, 378 min., $39.99), which chronicles some of the cultural clashes and religious tension in contemporary Australia by following the gritty and action-packed adventures of Muslim detective working for Sydney’s Major Crime Squad.
There are just two major releases this week, Show By Rock!!: Season Two + Shorts
(Funimation, “TV-14,” 336 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98), a Sanrio-licensed idol drama with ultra-cute characters that is aimed at an older male demographic. This 12-episode 2016 Bones production is based on the rhythm video game from Geech; and Sword Oratoria: Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side Complete Collection
(Sentai Filmworks, “TV-MA,” 300 min., $39.99, BD $69.98), which collects the 12-episode 2017 series from J.C. Staff that is based on the light novel side story series by Fujino Omori that focuses on the character of Ais Wallenstein from Omori’s Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?