This week’s home entertainment releases include the action-packed Pacific Rim: Uprising, a Steven Soderbergh film that was shot entirely on a iPhone, and my favorite film of the year so far, a wickedly dark satire from the creator of Veep that is based on a French graphic novel about the power struggle following the death of Stalin, plus the final season of the sci-fi series Dark Matter, and a new high-def restoration of the classic Tom Baker Doctor Who episodes.
This week’s highest grossing release is Pacific Rim: Uprising
(Universal, “PG-13,” 111 min., $29.98, BD $34.98, 3-D $37.98), the sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 mecha vs. Kaiju extravaganza. While Uprising
is not nearly as accomplished as Del Toro’s original Pacific Rim
, it does deliver plenty of mecha versus Kaiju action, just don’t expect much in the way of plot or characterization. Uprising’s
poor box office performance was supposedly due to “sequel fatigue,” but that was before the success of Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2
, and Incredibles 2
The second biggest box office attraction this week is the Bible-based, Paul, Apostle of Christ (Sony, “PG-13,” 108 min., $25.95, BD $34.98), which stars the talented Jim Caviezel as the letter-writing disciple formerly known as Saul.
Stephen Soderbergh’s Unsane
(Universal, “R,” 99 min., $29.98, BD $34.98, 4K $37.98) is a thriller that was shot entirely with an iPhone 7+. Critics loved Unsane
and all its eager filmmaking flourishes, and they gave the film a sterling 73% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, but the film only made $7.7 million here in North America. Those who love arty thrillers will likely enjoy Unsane
, while those who enjoy more standard genre films will likely be dismayed.
Also due this week are Midnight Sun (Universal, “PG-13,” 92 min., $29.98, BD $34.98), the story of a tragic teen romance that is based on a 2006 Japanese film about a girl who cannot be exposed to sunlight; the 2017 slice-of-life drama Flower (Lionsgate, “R,” 90 min., $19.95) about a teenage girl who blackmails a sexual predator: and the arty French erotic thriller Double Lover (Sony, Not Rated, 107 min., $25.95, BD $34.98) about a woman whose psychiatrist has a twin brother (there ought to be a law against that).
The most interesting release of the week (and this critic’s personal favorite) is Armando (Veep)
Iannucci’s political satire The Death of Stalin
(Paramount, “R,” 107 min., $29.98, BD $34.98), which features a great cast including Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, Rupert Friend, and Jeffrey Tambor in a very funny adaptation of a French graphic novel (Le Mort De Staline
by Fabian Nury and Thierry Robin). This dark, satirical comedy is a true cynic’s delight—and it’s been banned in Russia, so you know it’s historically accurate.
TV on DVD
This week’s TV releases include the final season of the Canadian science fiction series Dark Matter
. Dark Matter: Season 3
(Funimation, “TV-14,” 560 min., $44.98, BD $49.98) includes all 13 final season episodes for the SyFy series that is based on a Dark Horse comic book series created by Joseph Malliozzi and Paul Mullie.
Of even greater interest, at least to hardcore Whovians, is Doctor Who: Tom Baker The Complete First Season
(BBC, 1200 min., BD $69.99), which contains 20 classic episodes featuring the fan favorite fourth Doctor Tom Baker, who began his tenure on December 28, 1974 and took on Cybermen, Daleks, Sontarians, the Insect Wirm, a Giant Robot and other assorted challenges.
For fans of classic English drawing room mysteries there are The Best of Agatha Christie, Vol.3
(Acorn Media, 363 min., $39.99), and The Best of Agatha Christie Vol. 4
(Acorn Media, 386 min., $39.99), which together contain seven feature-length mysteries featuring Miss Christie’s detectives Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, and the team of Tommy and Tuppence Beresford.
This week’s top anime releases include Dragon Ball Super: Part 4
(Funimation, “TV-PG,” 325 min., $39.98, BD $44.98), which includes episodes 40-52 of the first new Dragon Ball
series in 18 years, the sequel to Dragon Ball
from Toei Animation, and Re: ZERO-Starting Life in Another World: Part 1
(Funimation, “TV-MA,” 325 min., DVD/BD Combo $64.98, Ltd. Ed. $84.98), which includes the first 13-episode fantasy adventure based on the light novels by Tappei Nagatsuki (published here by Yen Press) about a hikikomori
who finds himself transported into another world, one in which he has to play an important role. The Limited Edition
comes in a chipboard box and includes a 40-page art booklet, 6 chibi bookmarks, and a standard size pillowcase with the images of Rem and Emilia.
Also of interest are The Royal Tutor (Funimation, “TV-14,” 300 min., DVD/BD Combo $64.98), which contains the 2017 series from Bridge based on the faux historical manga by Higasa Akai about a diminutive tutor assigned by the King to educate his four young sons, who have driven out every previous tutor, and Seven Mortal Sins: Season One (Funimation, “TV-MA,” 300 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98), a 12-episode, 2017 series from Artland based on a series of fantasy figures from Hobby Japan.
For those who enjoy J-Pop there is Bang Dream! Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, “TV-14,” 350 min., $59.98), which contains the 12-episode 2017 series from OLM that is part of a multi-media franchise created by Bushiroad about an all-girl rock band (Poppin’ Party) and their quest for the “Star Beat.”