The latest Lego-rific, er, blockbuster kicks off a diverse and fantastic week of Blu-ray and DVD new releases that also sees everything from recent chillers to classics from the Warner Archives. Clear your schedule, as you’re going to want to be watching these in the week ahead!
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
Exciting computer-animated sequel to the 2014 toy-based hit finds the town of Bricksburg turned into Apocalypseburg thanks to the invading Duplo aliens. Can the ordinary Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), his love, Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), and the adventurous Rex Dangervest (also Pratt) stop the seemingly sinister Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi (Tiffany Haddish) from carrying out a plan that somehow involves marrying Batman (Will Arnett)? Stephanie Beatriz, Charlie Day, Alison Brie also supply voices.
Young Miles Blume (Jackson Robert Scott) had always been precocious…but by the time he turned 8, he was exhibiting violently deviant behavior (and speaking Hungarian in his sleep), to the grave concern of parents Sarah (Taylor Schilling) and John (Peter Mooney). Is there a restless and corrupt soul fighting for control of their son’s body…and do any of them have a chance at survival if it wins? Creepy effort co-stars Colm Feore, Brittany Allen, Oluniké Adeliyi.
Passed over for promotion at her firm, driven sports agent Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) decided to drown her sorrows…but did it with spiked herbal tea from an oddball psychic (Eryka Badu). She came out of it with the ability to read men’s thoughts…and while this new gift turned around her workplace leverage, will it compromise things with her new single-dad guy (Aldis Hodge)? Gender flip on the 2000 Mel Gibson farce co-stars Tracy Morgan, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tamala Jones, Josh Brener.
With class attendance down and the board looking to pasture her, veteran music teacher Malvina Adams (Elizabeth Risdon) sought to prove she still had it by writing a school fight song. The composition finds its way into the hands of bandleader Bob Crosby (as himself)–and can she deal with the crush of celebrity when he makes it a novelty hit? Charmer scripted by Nathanael West co-stars Jean Rogers, Joyce Compton; score includes “The Big Noise from Winnetka,” “Central Park.”
The Heiress (Criterion Collection)
Olivia de Havilland won an Oscar for her portrayal of Catherine Sloper, a plain spinster of 19th century New York romanced by handsome but poor young Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift), a suitor that her emotionally abusive physician father (Ralph Richardson) believes to be an unscrupulous fortune hunter eyeing the money Catherine inherited after her mother died. William Wyler’s adaptation of Henry James’ novel “Washington Square” also stars Miriam Hopkins, Ray Collins, Mona Freeman.
Having frittered away his gas rations, lingerie magnate F. Farrington Fowler (Leon Errol) gets told he’ll have to take on car poolers if he wants to refuel. His too-helpful butler (Richard Butler) recruits a showgirl (Veda Ann Borg) as a rider–but he also gives her gorgeous colleagues the run of the mansion–and that won’t sit well with the prudish fabric maker (Clarence Kolb) whom Fowler’s trying to court! Frisky wartime farce co-stars Michael St. Angel, Elaine Riley, Ann Shoemaker, Lydia Bilbrook.
Bored Palm Beach retiree Seton Mansley (Charles Coburn) happened upon cashiered and crying clerk Kathleen Brown (Anne Shirley), out of a job just because rakish shoe magnate Johnny Kerrigan (James Craig) had flirted with her. It isn’t long before this avuncular advocate wheedles her position back…and pushes her playboy pursuer on a path of respectful courtship. Charmer adapted from the Eric Hatch novel co-stars Renee Godfrey, Ernest Truex, Russell Gleason, Astrid Allwyn, Jed Prouty.
In this fantasy/thriller based on “The Strange Case of Mr. Pelham” by Anthony Armstrong, Roger Moore plays Harold Pelham, a business executive who is seriously injured in a car accident. After undergoing an operation to save his life, Pelham awakens to find that a “double” has been living his life, making financial decisions for him, and entering into an affair with a woman he barely knows. Also stars Hildegard Neil, Alastair Mackenzie, Thorley Walters, Freddie Jones.
To mark the centenary of the First World War’s end, and convey the story of its human toll, director Peter Jackson took surviving black-and-white footage of British troops taken at the Western Front, and utilized cutting-edge remastering, colorization, and sound synchronization–combined with vocal performances based on the observations of veterans–to give hundred-year-old moving images a stunning immediacy. The end result is an absorbing technological triumph that’s not to be missed.
After an audacious–and fatal–brokerage robbery on his beat, Chicago cop Bill Mason (Dennis O’Keefe) was determined to track the ring responsible to New York, and personally haul in the mysterious mastermind called “Slade.” He never suspected that the scarred charwoman (Judith Anderson) at the scene of the crime was who he was looking for…and she’s out to prove what they say about the female of the species. Offbeat crime story co-stars Frances Neal, Eric Blore, Marc Lawrence.
As they carpool together to their aircraft factory shift, a quintet of defense workers individually reflect upon their pasts–as chanteuse/resistance fighter (Margo), auto racer (Robert Ryan), prison warden (James Bell), Miss America (Amelita Ward), and vagrant (John Carradine)–and how they were brought to their current moment. Flag-waving anthology of Americana from RKO, co-scripted by Arch Oboler, also stars Wally Brown, Alan Carney, Harry Davenport, William Terry, Charles Arnt.
Brutal, sensual drama, set as a “prequel” to Henry James’ “The Turn of the Screw,” stars Marlon Brando as Peter Quint, a drunken lout hired by a Victorian family as a gardener. He proceeds to seduce the governess (Stephanie Beacham) and gives the children some very unusual lessons on loving others. Thora Hird, Harry Andrews, Verna Harvey, Christopher Ellis also star; directed by Michael Winner.
The Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2
Odds are that they were an integral part of your childhood…and you’ll understand the whole story of how they wound up in your hands, courtesy of this affectionate and informative Netflix documentary series that examines the rise (and sometimes the fall) of Star Wars, Barbie, G.I. Joe, He-Man, Transformers, Hello Kitty, LEGO, and more of the most popular toy lines of the late 20th century, with insights from the manufacturers responsible for their creation as well as devoted fans.
This adaptation of Eugene Ionesco’s seminal Theatre of the Absurd comedy reunited “The Producers” stars Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel (reprising his Tony Award-winning role), with the two playing residents of a town where a mysterious virus may or may not be turning people into rhinoceri. Satire of conformity and its dehumanizing aspects also stars Karen Black, Joe Silver, Robert Weil, Percy Rodrigues.
When young gunslinger Philip Wermeer (Alberto Dentice) finds himself falsely accused of murdering Ebenezer Saxon, the man who had killed his father, it’s up to Sheriff Clayton (Lee Van Cleef) to look out for him and set things right. To do that, Clayton may have to shoot it out with Saxon’s three vengeful sons. Lots of action and gunplay, European-style, with Horst Frank, Klaus Grünberg Dominique Darel. AKA: “Hell’s Fighters,” “Storm Rider.”
Forrest Gump (25th Anniversary)
Winner of six Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, and Actor, Robert Zemeckis’ modern-day “Candide” stars Tom Hanks as the simple-minded but good-hearted Forrest, whose life is a series of accidental encounters with the memorable people and pivotal events of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. Endearing mix of comedy and drama also stars Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field as Mama Gump.
Click here for an overview of all this week’s new releases.