This week’s home entertainment offerings include the first film in Legendary Pictures’ Monsterverse, a bloody apotheosis of the modern action film, a Japanese-animated series based on the Valerian graphic novels that inspired Luc Besson’s new film, another anime CGI film based on the Resident Evil game that many gamers prefer to the live-action RE films, plus the latest seasons of the Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, and Syfy’s The Expanse.

Theatrical Movies

This week’s big release is Kong: Skull Island (Warner Bros., “PG-13,” $29.98, BD $34.98, 4K $45.98), the first film in Legendary Pictures’ Monsterverse.  While it’s no threat to the original King Kong, Kong: Skull Island features a great ensemble cast that includes Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, and Jing Tian, while director Jordan Vogt-Roberts keeps things moving along breezily enough that this monster movie earned a very respectable 76% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. 

The other major film due on Tuesday is the Armenian genocide film The Promise (Universal, “PG-13,” 267 min., $29.98, BD $34.98).  The entire $90 million budget for the film was funded by American businessman (of Armenian descent) Kirk Kerkorian, and though The Promise is earnest (and historically accurate in its portrayal of the horrible Armenian genocide during World War I, the first major instance of genocide in the murderous 20th Century), and it does feature a fine cast, but the film’s central love story is somewhat overshadowed in the difficult balancing of the personal and historical elements of the movie.

For those adventurous souls who like dark, action-packed comedies there is Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire (Lionsgate, “R,” 90 min., $19.98, BD $24.98), which pleased the critics (67% positive on RT), but bombed at the box office where it took in just $1.7 million.  Action movie fans who don’t mind lots of blood and cursing might want to check out this Tarantino-light shoot-em-up, which essentially takes the climatic gun battle from a typical R-rated action film and stretches it out over 90 minutes.


With the new Valerian movie from Luc Besson debuting on Friday, this week’s most interesting release is Time Jam: Valerian and Laureline (Sentai Filmworks, 1000 min.,Dubbed $69.98), which collects the 40-episode 2007 French/Japanese co-production based on the graphic novel series by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres that is also the source for Besson’s film.  This Valerian TV series was written in France and animated in Japan by Satelight.

Also new this week is a Blu-ray edition of the classic 1990-1991 13-episode Record of the Lodoss War OVAs + Chronicles of the Heroic Knight (Funimation, 1000 min., BD/DVD Combo $84.99), which also includes the 1998-2000 Chronicles of the Heroic Knight, which is also based on the Record of the Lodoss War fantasy novels by Ryo Mizuno.

Those who play the Resident Evil video games and who don’t necessarily enjoy the Mila Jovovich-starring live action movies, should check out Resident Evil: Vendetta (Sony, “R,” 97 min., Dubbed Only, $25.99, BD $26.99, 4K $34.99), the third (and best) of the computer-animated films based on the popular game franchise.  The film was produced by Marza Animation Planet, written by Makoto Fukami (Psycho-Pass), and directed by Takanori Tsujimoto (The Next Generation: Pat Labor), and is set in the same universe as the video games between the events in Resident Evil 6 and Resident Evil 7, and it features game characters Chris Redfield, Leon Kennedy, and Rebecca Chambers.


There aren’t a lot of releases this week, but a few of them are choice including the D&D influenced animated series Adventure Time: The Complete 7th Season (Warner Bros. $24.99) includes episodes 200 to 225 of the show created by Pendelton Ward that has spun-off Eisner and Harvey Award-winning comic books as well as numerous game products.

Also of great interest, especially for science fiction fans is the SyFy series The Expanse: Season 2 (Universal, 568 min., $39.98, BD $49.98), which contains all 13 second season episodes of the series that is set hundreds of years in the future when mankind has colonized the solar system.

Other contemporary series due out on Tuesday include the post-apocalyptic CW series The 100: The Complete 4th Season (Warner Bros., $24.98); and the MTV horror/fantasy series Teen Wolf: Season 6, Part 1 (Fox, $29.98).

The most interesting vintage TV release is Coronet Blue (Kino, 650 min., $49.95), which collects the 13-episode cult espionage series from 1967 about an amnesiac secret agent who escapes being murdered and has to discover his identity and that of the group that is trying to kill him—in other words, the template for the entire oeuvre of Robert Ludlum (just kidding).  CBS treated this series like dirt (it has no conclusion), continually pre-empting episodes, and shelving the show in spite of the fact that it developed a following.  Here’s a chance to reevaluate.

Other vintage series include the echt-1950s patriarchal sitcom Father Knows Best: Season 6 (Shout Factory, 840 min., $$34.99): the William Shatner-starring cop drama T.J. Hooker: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, 4410 min., $79.97); and The Untouchables: The Scarface Mob (Paramount, $16.99), the pilot episode for the classic ABC series that starred Robert Stack as Elliot Ness and Neville Brand as Al Capone, who appeared only in the 2-hour pilot and in a 2-part episode.

The only offering from overseas is the BBC drama, currently appearing on PBS, Grantchester: The Complete Third Season (PBS, 420 min., $39.99, BD $49.99).  James Norton and Robson Green appear in this well-produced period mystery drama set in a picturesque village near Cambridge.