A Fall From Grace
In short, it’s nuts.
5 NEW TO NETFLIX
7 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD
I wasn't a particularly huge fan of the first "Deadpool" film, thinking that it tried just a little too hard to be edgy and different while really just being a pretty generic origin story. Believe it or not, I'm here to proclaim the sequel as better, as rare as that is. Freed from the origin story, the hit film is way looser and more fun, helped greatly by a vastly superior supporting cast that includes Josh Brolin and Zazie Beetz. It's too long (as are almost all modern superhero movies) but I was really surprised at how much fun I thought it was, especially when compared to my "meh" response to the original. Maybe my expectations were lower? Possibly, but it doesn't hurt that the 4K Blu-ray looks and sounds awesome, and is loaded with special features. Who knows? Maybe you'll like it more too.
Audio Commentary by Ryan Reynolds, David Leitch, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Theatrical Version Only)
Until Your Face Hurts: Alt Takes
Deadpool's Lips are Sealed: Secrets and Easter Eggs
The Most Important X-Force Member
Deadpool Family Values: Cast of Characters
David Leitch Not Lynch: Directing DP2
Roll with the Punches: Action and Stunts
The Deadpool Prison Experiment
Chess with Omega Red
Swole and Sexy
Deadpool's Fun Sack 2
Stills (28 Images)
Ethan Hawke caused a minor kerfuffle on Twitter recently when he dared to criticize superhero movies—it will never cease to amaze me how many people feel the need to rush to the defense of what are basically billion-dollar corporations—but don't let that distract you from his true accomplishment in 2018, one of the best performances of his career in Paul Schrader's phenomenal "First Reformed." Don't take my word for it. You can read Godfrey Cheshire's 4-star review or even note the fact that it was the most critically acclaimed film of the year at the halfway point according to AwardsWatch. It's a stunning distillation of both the films that inspired Schrader (mostly Bresson) and themes he explored in screenplays like "Taxi Driver" and "The Last Temptation of Christ." It is one of the most essential films of 2018. Don't miss it.
Audio Commentary with Director Paul Schrader
"Discernment: Contemplating First Reformed" Featurette
Optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature
"Gloria" (Twilight Time)
I don't often devote enough space in this column to the wonder of Twilight Time, a fantastic boutique Blu-ray company that often digs some forgotten gems out of the cinema catalog, gives them great transfers, and releases limited edition packages for them. This month, they happened to grab a movie I love, John Cassavetes' "Gloria," with a searing performance from Gena Rowlands in the title role, one that would earn her an Oscar nomination. I feel like history has kind of dismissed "Gloria" in favor of Cassavetes' more personal, less mainstream films, but this movie still hums, anchored by Rowlands' truly phenomenal performance. Rowlands never won an acting Oscar, and this was only her second nomination of two in her career, which I consider one of their greatest oversights. At least they gave her an honorary Oscar in 2015. Part of that was for "Gloria."
Original Theatrical Trailer
Isolated Music Track
"Heaven Can Wait" (Criterion)
Our very own Peter Sobczynski recently wrote eloquently about the Criterion release of "A Matter of Life and Death," and the company has a little something extra this month for those looking for more heavenly humor in Ernst Lubitsch's still-wonderful and still-influential "Heaven Can Wait," released by the company years ago and now upgraded to Blu-ray with a new 4K restoration. With great performances by Don Ameche and Gene Tierney, this is a different film than the Warren Beatty '70s classic (which was a remake of "Here Comes Mr. Jordan"), but it shares the commonality of imagining an afterlife that's not quite as defined as Sunday mass may have you believe. A man tries to talk his way into Hell, and, in telling his story, reveals he probably belongs in "the other place." The disc is a treasure trove for criticism fans in that it includes a conversation between Molly Haskell and Andrew Sarris, and an audio seminar with Richard Corliss.
New 4K digital restoration by Twentieth Century Fox and the Academy Film Archive in collaboration with The Film Foundation, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack (Blu-ray); restored high-definition digital transfer (DVD)
Conversation from 2005 between film critics Molly Haskell and Andrew Sarris
Episode from 1982 of Creativity with Bill Moyers exploring screenwriter Samson Raphaelson’s life and career
Audio seminar with Raphaelson and film critic Richard Corliss recorded at the Museum of Modern Art in 1977
Home recordings of director Ernst Lubitsch playing the piano
PLUS: An essay by film scholar William Paul
Would "RBG" have been such a phenomenon if Hillary Clinton were President? Is it possible so many people turned to this documentary about a pioneering Supreme Court justice as a light of hope in dark political times? Perhaps that explains how this relatively meager Sundance documentary became something truly rare lately, a smash hit non-fiction film. Now, everything is relative. "Avengers: Infinity War" made more in its first hour. But people don't go see docs in theaters as often as they should, and so the $14 million gross for "RBG" is a true outlier. How much so? If you take out nature and music docs, it's the #10 documentary of all time. And it's joined by another smash doc hit of Summer 2018 in "Won't You Be My Neighbor?," another film of hope and perseverance that feels particularly timely.
My initial review was a little mixed about "The Terror," but I would correct that opinion if I could now that it's over. This is a haunting mini-series with remarkable production values and a phenomenal cast. It's one of the better TV shows of 2018, and I expect people will be writing about it more when the year is over. Of course, this makes it a perfect thing for a polished Blu-ray release, something you see less and less for TV seasons (as more people watch TV streaming than they do on physical media). Pick this one up. You won't regret it.
"A Look at the Characters" Featurette
"A Look at the Series" Featurette
"Ridley Scott on The Terror" Featurette
My initial SXSW review of "Upgrade" should have made clearer the conditions under which I saw it. It was a midnight premiere that started 45 minutes late, and THEN Jason Blum and Leigh Whannell went on stage to try and inject a microchip in a man's hand as a stunt (the man doing the "surgery" on a volunteer was a heavily-tattooed fellow named Pineapple). Did I mention it was the start of Daylight Savings Time, adding an hour? So it was roughly 2AM when it STARTED. That's not exactly the best conditions to see a film, and I may have been too hard on it. Critics and audiences seemed to think so when it came out a few months ago, and this is undeniably the kind of thing that picks up viewers on the home market. That's why they got it here so quickly that they couldn't even include a single special feature.
None - this makes no sense
The 2020 Oscar nominations.
A review of Netflix's Dracula, from the creators of Sherlock.
A review of the new Netflix crime docuseries about former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez.
A collection of the reviews given our highest possible grade in 2019.