New Blu-ray & DVD releases for the week include some stuff for kids, some television releases, a rock doc and more.
First we have Disney’s Pete’s Dragon. The film disappointed at the box office and I can’t tell you why. Sure it’s not quite as good as the monster hit A Jungle Book, but this film barely turned a profit in the US. The story is sweet and the kids are adorable. I’m not a huge fan of CG characters, but kids don’t seem to mind them so how didn’t this do hundreds of millions at the box office? The dragon Elliot has a ton of facial expressions and made me laugh. He’ll make your kids laugh for sure. Robert Redford is always great and here he is a story telling grandpa. Bryce Dallas Howard plays a mom easily. I think Karl Urban is an underrated actor and here he is the “bad” guy. It doesn’t have the singing and dancing of A Jungle Book, but if your kids liked that, they’ll like this. Give it as a holiday gift because more people should see it.
Second we have Baked in Brooklyn. I wanted to see this because of two words: Alexandra Daddario. Unfortunately the film is just another fish-out-of-water drug dealing movie that didn’t do much for me. A recent college grad starts dealing weed after losing his job and what a surprise, something bad happens towards the end. I’ve seen it before in The Wackness and Kid Cannabis. I don’t watch Sillicon Valley so I’m not super familiar with Josh Brener who is the lead in this. It’s not really funny and I never really rooted for his character. You know eventually it will all come crashing down and you watch it waiting for it to happen. There’s nothing about his character that makes me want it work out for him. He’s college educated and has a girl way out of his league yet he’s dealing drugs with no idea how to and is way too personal about it. He was doomed from the start. It just didn’t work for me.
Third is Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music. Now this is absolutely awesome. This multi-disc, 400 plus minute series is educational, interesting and entertaining. If you are into music and I don’t mean just listen to the latest top 40, this is a must own. It covers so much territory. It starts off talking about super producers like Phil Spector, George Martin, Sam Phillips and more and then gets into how musicians started producing their own music and writing it as well. It shows the rise of hip-hop and how black artists started producing their own work like Sly and the Family Stone and gets into Dr. Dre and the rise of rap producers. There are stories about The Beatles and how George Martin helped take them from pop artists to using over dubbing and samples to make iconic albums. Roger Waters and David Gilmour discuss making Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Fleetwood Mac talk about Tusk. And that’s just disc 1. Seriously, I could go on and on about this collection, but you’re better off just buying it yourself. You get artists like Johnny Cash, Beck, Radiohead, Elton John, and everyone in between. I enjoyed every single minute of it. Highly recommended!
Fourth is House of Lies The Final Season. It’s funny, as much as I like Don Cheadle, this show has never been one I went out of my way to watch. I’ve seen the show, but never on its regular night and time. The final season starts with Marty back on top. He reluctantly gets back into business with old clients throughout the season. The best episode is when Marty deals with pot growers and Doug finally does his TED talk. The final episode sees them in Cuba. The show mixes drama and comedy well and it is something I watch, I was just never a die-hard. Cheadle is great though and I don’t mind Kristen Bell in it. If you are a fan of the series, definitely add the final season to your collection.
Next is Disney’s The BFG. This was another Disney film that disappointed at the box office, but the difference is, I can clearly see why. The film is one of Steven Spielberg’s few misses and it’s a big miss to me. I think it’s too different for young kids so it limited its audience. It’s based on a Roald Dahl story, but I never read it. It must be a generational thing because people younger than me knew the book and people my age or older didn’t seem familiar with it. It’s a live action film with CG giants. BFG stands for big friendly giant, but there are other giants who aren’t as friendly. I think it might scare some younger kids and it’s nowhere as friendly as Pete’s Dragon or A Jungle Book. It compares more to A Monster Calls than the recent Disney flicks I mentioned. I didn’t like the look of it. I didn’t like the CG. It didn’t really hold my attention. I’m a big Spielberg fan and it’s a rare movie of his that I would never watch again.
Last we have Brief Encounters. It’s sort of The Full Monty meets Weeds. Local women answer an ad to sell lingerie and other personal items and end up growing the business. It’s funny and awkward and has a great soundtrack. I had never heard of it before getting the DVD which has six episodes. It’s like a raunchier Designing Women. Fans of The Golden Girls should like it a lot. Each character has their own quirks and issues and the acting is great. The setting is its own character and adds to the awkwardness. If you like retro 80s stuff, especially, music, you’ll dig it too. Think Calendar Girls and you’ll get the point of this. It’s just a silly good time, but I quite liked it.