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Home Market Releases for August 2nd, 2016

August 3rd, 2016

April and the Extraordinary World

It is the beginning of August, a.k.a., the beginning of TV on DVD season. While there are a few prominent releases in that category, the biggest release is Batman: The Killing Joke, which is still a hot mess, but this time on Blu-ray. There are plenty of smaller releases that are worth picking up, including April and the Extraordinary World. Its reviews are nearly 100% positive and the Blu-ray Combo Pack is the Pick of the Week.


April and the Extraordinary World - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Video on Demand
Pick of the Week. There are several contenders for that title, but this film wins. It is set in an alternative reality Paris of the 1940s. Steam rules technology and Napoleon the V is in charge. April is a young lady whose scientist father was abducted a decade ago. She carries on his work in secret, but becomes aware of a shadowy conspiracy. The reviews are nearly unanimously positive, while the Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic. The only extra is a single featurette, but that’s common for a foreign-language import and while it is a little disappointing, it is not enough to prevent it from being the Pick of the Week.

Batman: The Killing Joke - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Video on Demand
This is the biggest release of the week, just like last week. ... I'm just going to cut and paste what I said before. It’s a disaster. I can’t believe the reviews are almost at the overall positive level. The original comic was made in the 1990s during the GrimDark era of comics and it hasn’t aged well. Worse still, the writers of the animated film said they were going to improve the problematic issues with the comic. (In the comic, the Joker shoots and then sexually assaults Batgirl as a way of getting to Batman and Commisioner Gordon. They don’t actually show the sexual assault, but we see her shot and she’s wearing close, but we learn she was found naked.) They kept that part. It’s one of the worst tropes out there, but they kept it. This was supposed to be balanced, because Batgirl was supposed to be a lot more empowered in this film. Unfortunately, it feels like it was written by someone who hangs out on the internet and uses the term “Females” instead of women.

The Blacklist: Season Three - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Reviews for this show bounced back in season three, and not because a bunch of critics gave up on the show. In fact, there are more reviews for season three than for season two. The extras on the DVD are not great, but the Blu-ray has plenty of exclusives and it is clearly worth picking up.

Blindspot: Season 1 - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Video on Demand
This show got off to a great start both critically and with the ratings. It struggled by comparison in the end, but it still had overall good reviews and was still seen by five million each week. Extras include an audio commentary track on the pilot episode, deleted scenes, outtakes, a featurette, and the ComicCon Q&A session. It is worth picking up, but it is not a contender for Pick of the Week.

The Bronze - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Video on Demand
This is one of the biggest bombs of the year opening in more than 1,000 theaters and earning an average of just $316. It isn’t as bad as its box office numbers would indicate. It’s not great, but if you are fan of R-rated comedies, it is worth a rental.


Confirmation - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Video on Demand
This is a three-part HBO mini-series starring Kerry Washington as Anita Hill. The film has picked up two Emmy nominations, including one for Best Mini-Series and one for Kerry Washington’s performance. Definitely worth checking out and a contender for Pick of the Week.


Difret - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD
Video on Demand
The film is about a 14-year old Ethiopian girl who is kidnapped as part of a cultural wedding ritual. She fights back and kills her attacker, but legally, he wasn’t doing anything wrong, so she’s guilty of murder. A human rights activist / lawyer takes up the case to defend her. The reviews are stunning, but it is a smaller release, so there’s a good chance it will slip between the cracks.

The First Monday in May - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD
Video on Demand
A documentary about the fashion industry that earned over $500,000 at the box office. This is great for the genre. Unfortunately, it is only coming out on DVD and not Blu-ray.

Heathcliff: The Complete Series - No Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD
I remember in elementary school there were heated arguments about which comic strip was better, Heathcliff or Garfield. Simpler days.

High-Rise - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Video on Demand
This movie earned a lot of pre-release buzz, but its reviews were only a little above the overall positive level and it really struggled in limited release. The only extra is a featurette, but that’s enough for a purchase over just a rental.

High Strung - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Video on Demand
This film tried to open in 100 theaters, which is way too many for a limited release. As a result, it bombed hard. That’s too bad, because the reviews are good enough that it is worth seeing. If you like dance movies, then it is certainly worth a rental at the very least.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Normally I would place this in the secondary Blu-ray releases; however, it is a slow week and this is my favorite version of this movie. I previously reviewed the film’s Blu-ray debut, but this is the third time it has been released in High Definition. It looks better than before, but there are no new extras from the second edition. If this were the first time it had come out on Blu-ray, it would be Pick of the Week material, but as a triple dip... Still worth the upgrade.


Keanu - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Video on Demand
One of the best comedies of the year and a prime example of why you shouldn’t rely on internet buzz to sell tickets. I work on the internet and advertisements generate a sizable chunk of our revenue, but I would still advise against relying too heavily on internet advertising. ... Unless you are trying to promote a website. In this case, Warner Bros. thought because the two leads had so many followers on social media, they didn’t need to advertise as much on TV. This was a mistake and despite earning excellent reviews, the film bombed. This led to a DVD / Blu-ray release without a lot of extras, just one featurette, deleted scenes, and outtakes. That said, it is a slow week, so it is still a contender for Pick of the Week.

Key & Peele: The Complete Series - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
This is a great show and it is definitely worth owning; however... The first three seasons have already been released, so if you want seasons four and five, you have to buy the complete set. That’s a prick move. $35 for two seasons isn’t a terrible deal, but it is still annoying to have to do. Secondly, there’s no Blu-ray, which is also annoying. Had they had the option to buy seasons four and five separately and given a Blu-ray option, then this would have been a Pick of the Week contender.

The Knick: The Complete Second Season - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
It appears the second season will be the last season. Even if it does come back, it won’t be with the original cast. This is too bad, as the first two seasons earned good reviews. Extras are excellent and if you are a fan of the show, it is absolutely worth picking up. On the other hand, I was never able to get into the show.

Last Days in the Desert - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD
Video on Demand
Ewan McGregor plays Jesus during his 40 days in the desert, where he was tempted by the devil, also played by Ewan McGregor. It’s a Bible-based movie that isn’t solely aimed at churchgoers, which in itself is an interesting concept. However, the reviews are only good and not great. It is worth checking out, but start with a rental.


The Lobster - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Video on Demand
This movie is set in a dystopian future where if you are single past a certain age, you are taken to a hotel with other single people and if you can’t find love within 45 days, you are turned into an animal. This is one of the best films on this week’s list and it did extremely well in limited release, especially for a film with such a strange premise. Unfortunately, there’s only one featurette on the DVD / Blu-ray. It is still a Pick of the Week contender, but a fully-loaded Blu-ray would have put it on top.

Meet the Blacks - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Video on Demand
A parody of the The Purge franchise starring Mike Epps. The film’s reviews were bad and it bombed in theaters and its home market sales look even worse.

Mother’s Day - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Video on Demand
Garry Marshall created a lot of amazing TV and movies, but this is not one of his best works. In fact, one could argue it ranks very near the bottom. I would skip this and watch Pretty Woman again.


Murdoch Mysteries: Season 9 - No Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A Canadian murder mystery show set in the early 1900s when forensic science was in its infancy. It’s lasted nine seasons, so clearly is has an audience. It’s actually selling really well on Amazon.com, which is vary rare for a Canadian TV show. If you liked the show but missed the past few seasons on DVD / Blu-ray, then you can buy a Seasons 5-8 Box Set.

Paw Patrol: Sports Day - No Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD
This is in the top ten new releases for the week? It is a really slow week.

Real Murders: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery - No Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD
Video on Demand
There have been a lot of these coming out over the past few weeks. None of them have any reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but you likely know if you are part of the target demographic or not. If you are, $6 for a rental or $10 for the DVD isn’t a bad deal.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon:
Bite - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Dough - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Girlfriend Experience: Season One - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Gourmet Girl Graffiti - No Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Gundam Build Fighters: Complete Collection - No Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Lazer Team - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The Mark of Zorro - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Manhattan Night - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Puerto Ricans in Paris - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Rawhide - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Requiem for the American Dream - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Rolling Girls: The Complete Series - No Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Traded - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
The Trust - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Viral - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
World Break: Aria of Curse a Holy Swordsman - No Review - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
The Mark of Zorro is the best of the secondary Blu-ray releases, especially if you love old school swashbuckler movies.

4K Releases - Buy from Amazon:
Humpback Whales - Reviews - Buy from Amazon: 4K Combo Pack
The only 4K release this week is an IMAX Edutainment release. They are worth seeing at the highest quality you can, but for a lot of people, there’s not a great enough difference between 1080p and 4K to spend the money on a 4K system.

Video on Demand - Buy from Amazon:
A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits - No Reviews - Video on Demand
The Huntsman: Winter’s War - Reviews - Video on Demand
I am JFK, Jr. - Reviews - Video on Demand
Louder Than Bombs - Reviews - Video on Demand
Ma Ma - Reviews - Video on Demand
The Mind’s Eye - Reviews - Video on Demand
Odd Squad: The Movie - No Reviews - Video on Demand
Schneider vs. Bax - Reviews - Video on Demand
Sea Fog - Reviews - Video on Demand
Suicide Note - No Reviews - Video on Demand
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is clearly the biggest VOD release of the week, but it deserves a rental, at best. On a side note, A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits is the fourth film in the franchise, which is impressive longevity considering the first film barely made $50 million at the box office.

Filed under: Video Releases, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Last Days in the Desert, Louder Than Bombs, The Bronze, Humpback Whales 3D, The Lobster, Viral, Keanu, Puerto Ricans in Paris, Mother’s Day, Ma Ma, The Mind’s Eye, Lazer Team, Meet the Blacks, Manhattan Nocturne, Avril et le monde truqué, The Trust, Bite, The First Monday in May, Batman: The Killing Joke, A Cinderella Story: If the Shoe Fits, Traded, Confirmation, Sea Fog, I am JFK Jr., Schneider vs. Bax, Suicide Note, Odd Squad: The Movie, Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues, Rawhide, The Purge, A Cinderella Story, Ewan McGregor, Marion Cotillard, Mike Epps, Garry Marshall, Kerry Washington, Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key