New Blu-ray & DVD releases for the week include some television releases, some horror, action and suspense.
We’ll start with probably the biggest release of the week, The Girl on the Train. I’ve never read the book, but heard comparisons to Gone Girl, which I loved (the film version, never read that book either). Unfortunately I was very disappointed in this Emily Blunt thriller. Blunt plays a woman who is devastated by her divorce. She fantasizes about a couple she sees while riding the train. One day she sees something bad and tries to get involved. I guess the twist of who the killer is should be surprising, but it’s not. If you can’t figure out who it is, give up on life. It’s clear as day and is a total cop out as well. I won’t spoil anything and say who it is, but who it is is lame. There’s a much better story/movie in there if they did it right and didn’t go with the generic story arch. There’s nothing creative or original about it. Blunt plays a wife who couldn’t get pregnant so her marriage falls apart. She becomes an alcoholic and starts stalking her ex-husband’s new family. She’s also fascinated with the new couple she sees on the train. All of that could work along with the murder if the killer wasn’t who it is. You lay out this ground work just to go with an old standby? Snore. The 4K looks amazing though and has some solid bonus features I just wish the movie was more creative and went with originality instead of a played out story.
Sticking with trains, next is Train to Busan. This Korean zombie flick is easily the best new release for the week. I had a ton of fun with this one. I’m a big zombie fan, but it’s a genre that has been really played out over the years. This doesn’t bring anything new to the zombie table, but’s it’s fun and full of action so I can accept that. A father is taking his daughter to her mother when a virus breaks out and the infected turn into the murderous undead. Trapped on a train, the passengers must fight zombies on the train while trying to find safe passage at stops that aren’t infected. Think Snowpiercer but with zombies. The zombies here are the fast zombies like in World War Z or 28 Days Later. It takes a little bit to get into, but they want you to know who these people are before they thrust them into danger and I can respect that. Once all Hell breaks loose it’s a lot of fun with some good action on the train. If you don’t think you like Asian films, watch this. If you like zombie films, watch this. Highly recommended.
Third is I Love Lucy Superstar Special #2. This collection includes full length episodes of Lucy Visits Grauman’s and Lucy and John Wayne. Both episodes come in black & white and colorized. We here at The Nerds Templar are big fans of both Lucy and John Wayne so to have this come our way was pretty fantastic. Lucy is arrested for stealing The Duke’s footprints from the Hollywood Walk of Fame and John Wayne himself steps up to keep her out of jail. These two episodes are classic Lucy storytelling, Lucy thinks she’s being harmless (the footprints were loose after all) and gets herself into trouble. If you aren’t a fan of the show or have never watched an episode and don’t know where to start, this is a good collection to start with. It’s just classic comedy from one of the best of all time with a cameo from an icon. Can’t go wrong with it.
Sticking with TV next is The Love Boat Season 3 Volumes 1 & 2. I’m actually not sure if The Love Boat has been on DVD before. I know the first two seasons are available, but I’m not sure if this is the first time season 3 has been available or not. Each volume has 4 discs and combine for all the episodes of season 3. I remember watching the show as a kid (probably in reruns), but it’s been ages since I’ve seen an episode. Rewatching it now, it holds up pretty well. The show was all about its cast and cameos. In this season alone you see everyone from Mark Harmon to Lorne Greene to Buddy Hackett to Don Knotts, Julie Newmar and more. If you grew up with the antics of Captain Stubing, Vicki, Doc, Gopher, Isaac and Julie, then definitely add this to your collection.
Aaron Paul has a new movie out this week and it’s pretty good. Come and Find Me stars Paul and Annabelle Wallis as a couple living together when Claire (Wallis) disappears. One day she just isn’t there and Paul frantically looks for her. As time passes he realizes there was much more to his girlfriend than he knew. It turns into an action/thriller and like every other Aaron Paul project, he takes a beating in it. No, seriously, I can’t think of anything I’ve seen him in that he doesn’t get beaten up and I even asked him about that in an interview before. Both leads are very good and the royally underrated Garret Dillahunt is also in it. It’s a nice little thriller that could have easily outsmarted itself, but doesn’t. It all makes sense as the pieces unfold. I can see it becoming pretty popular when it goes to Netflix and it gets more eyes on it. If you like Aaron Paul definitely check it out. I recommend it.
Unfortunately what wasn’t very good was Death Race 2050. Roger Corman produced this latest version with Manu Bennett. Bennett plays Frankenstein, the best driver in the races, but that’s about the only positive. It’s super CGI and cheesy and looks terrible. I know it’s supposed to be somewhat cheesy, but this is more a mix of Wacky Racers and The Hunger Games than anything associated with a Death Race movie. If you thought the Luke Goss Death Race: Inferno was bad, wait till you see this. The Perfectus character is terrible. I couldn’t wait for pop sensation Minerva to die. Same for the religious character. I usually can enjoy so bad they are good movies, but this is just bad. I called Asst Editor Rocky Maxwell to discuss previous versions of the film to make sure this one was as bad as it is. It is. Really disappointed in this.
The lone documentary on the list is Zero Days. This talks about the Stuxnet computer virus that effected Iranian nuclear facilities and spread elsewhere. It talks about who might have created the virus and why. It pretty much says the US did with Israel to take down Iran’s nuclear program. It was the biggest cyber-attack of all time yet is not considered an act of war yet is also highly classified. There are experts from Israel, the US, and other intelligent agencies saying what they can, but also dodging a lot. Security companies had never seen anything like it and it pretty much changed cyber warfare. Ultimately it didn’t do what it was intended to do and Iran grew their program before agreeing to a 10 year hiatus. At first it makes George Bush look bad, but eventually shows how President Obama was just as bad if not worse when it came to the use of cyber warfare by the US. He knew all about what was happening, but wouldn’t say anything. Pretty fascinating documentary on how war is changing and how cyber attacks happen without our knowing. Recommended.
Last is the family friendly Surf’s Up 2: Wavemania with a cast of WWE superstars. Obviously this is for a younger audience, but we here at The Nerds Templar are big wrestling fans so it’s cool hearing the likes of John Cena, The Undertaker, Vince McMahon, Paige and Triple H. It’s not going to beat out films like Zootopia or The Secret Life of Pets, but I gotta say, it’s fun. I can see the kids having a blast with it. It’s safe and full of animals and surfing and adventure. If your kids love penguins, they’ll love this. The WWE stars are playing penguin versions of themselves and it’s funny seeing a penguin John Cena lifting boulders to work out with. I can’t remember if I actually saw the first film, but watching this today, it doesn’t matter if you saw it or not. It’s colorful and fun with some music and your kids will like the characters. Definitely a good, safe watch for the film to sit down and enjoy together.