First up this week is the newest film in the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant. The deep space colonization vessel Covenant carries more than 2000 people in cryogenic hibernation to their new planet, Origae-6. But when a rogue transmission alerts the crew to a nearby planet that closely resembles Earth and may prove to be a better habitat choice, they divert and explore the newly discovered potential home. But there is much more in store for them than future possibilities as their colonization mission may have just turned into a rescue mission none of them may survive.
Following years after Prometheus, it is nice to see Ridley Scott once again behind the camera for a new Alien film. And Alien: Covenant does seem to try and please fans of both Prometheus and the original Alien films. Michael Fassbender puts in an incredible double performance as David, the synthetic from Prometheus, as well as a newer model synthetic, Walter. The great cast is rounded out with Katherine Waterson, Billy Crudup, and Danny McBride in a rare dramatic role, which he nails by the way. Some of the story elements seem a little bit repetitive from previous films but Alien: Covenant is still a fun sci-fi rollercoaster with great effects and lots to enjoy.
Next up are a couple of classic films getting the special edition treatment. First up is Missing in Action. Chuck Norris already had a solid following in the early 80s but it was 1984?s Missing in Action that really catapulted him to superstardom. Norris plays Colonel James Braddock, an American officer who spent seven years in a Vietnamese POW camp and escaped. Now 10 years later Braddock returns to Vietnam with a government investigation team to look into reports of American prisoners still being held captive. And once their fears are confirmed, Braddock will stop at nothing to free every last man.
Missing in Action is pure 80s gold. It was the first in a five picture contract with Cannon Films and really started a new era of 80s action films. Norris is his usual stoic self but it works like gangbusters here with some great intrigue, fantastic action sequences and the added bonus of M. Emmet Walsh and James Hong supporting Chuck. And this new Shout Factory Collector?s Edition has a killer new audio commentary with director Joseph Zito and a new interview with writer James Bruner. A welcome addition for all 80s action fans.
The other great new edition of a classic this week is John Frankenheimer?s Ronin from 1998. An international crack team of professional thieves led by Sam (Robert DeNiro) is summoned by a shady crime syndicate fronted by Deirdre (Natascha McElhone). Their task is to steal a heavily guarded briefcase from a large group of armed mobsters. But the routine mission quickly turns to a chaotic mess as the group confronts a series of double crosses and shifting allegiances.
Ronin is a bonafide modern crime classic. Frankenheimer knows his stuff having also directed classics such as Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, Black Sunday, and 52 Pick-Up. And Ronin holds up with all of them. Tense suspense, astounding action set pieces, fantastic writing and cast chemistry between DeNiro, McElhone, Jean Reno, Stellan Skarsgd, Sean Bean and Jonathan Pryce. This one is a winner. And this new special edition from Arrow is loaded with a brand new 4K transfer, audio commentary with Frankenheimer, a Paul Joyce documentary on DeNiro, and TONS of other behind the scenes featurettes. Action fans, get rid of that older edition, this is the new definitive edition of Ronin.
Also of note this week is the new drama A Case for Christ, the Netflix show Riverdale: Season One, and the new Antonio Banderas thriller Security.
Until next week movie lovers.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday August 15, 2017
After the Storm
Billions: Season Two
Bull: Season One
DC?s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Second Season
Digimon Adventure tri.: Determination
Don?t Torture a Duckling*
Duel in the Sun*
Hopscotch* - Criterion Collection
How to Be a Latin Lover
Meantime* - Criterion Collection
Missing in Action: Collector?s Edition
Murdoch Mysteries: Season 10
NCIS New Orleans: The Third Season
Once Upon a Time: The Complete Sixth Season
Police Story: Season Two
Rhoda: Season Four
Riverdale: Season One
Ronin: Special Edition
The Blacklist: The Complete Fourth Season
The Case for Christ
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: 50th Anniversary
The Lincoln Lawyer 4K
The Noose Hangs High*
*Catalog Blu-ray debut