Ah the days are warming up, finally! Even in a pandemic is it nice to get outside, even if it is only the backyard. We kick off this week pretty much the first major studio release to get a premiere home release, Wonder Woman 1984. Princess Diana of Themyscira (Gal Gadot) has been staying under the radar since saving the world during World War II. She now works as an archaeologist at the Smithsonian Museum and comes across a mysterious citrine gemstone that also catches the eye of a power hungry entrepreneur, Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal). When Lord gets his hands on the stone, he gains the power to grant wishes to anyone who desires them, but the result causes catastrophic events to ripple throughout the world. Now Diana must find a way to restore order while also dealing with her past when it literally comes back to meet her.
Wonder Woman 1984 has a lot going for it in that director Patty Jenkins once again creates some stunning action sequences that showcase the full on awesomeness of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. The supporting cast also put in solid turns with Kristen Wiig as the shy gemologist turned vicious wildcat and Pascal, hot off The Mandalorian, as the crazed, dare I say Trump-esque, Lord. The action scenes are huge and exciting but there is an element of heart that made the first movie so memorable missing here. There is also the strange exclusion of 80s music in the film. I assumed a movie called Wonder Woman 1984 would have been chock full of nostalgia, but it kind of felt like modern day throughout except for some great comedic moments involving Chris Pine, who is also a much welcome returning cast member. There are some missed opportunities in Wonder Woman 1984 but still plenty to enjoy. And if your home theatre is equipped with 4K, absolutely go that route. The 4K picture and sound on Wonder Woman 1984 is one of the most impressive releases in recent memory with stunning clarity and bombastic audio that will test the limits of your system. Just a beautiful sight to behold! Very highly recommended for 4K aficianados!
Next up this week is a new Criterion Collection edition of one of my favorite comedies of all time, Defending Your Life. Albert Brooks stars as Daniel Miller, a 40-something man going nowhere who dies in a car accident and finds himself in Judgement City, a waiting area for the newly deceased where you must go through a courtroom style process that reviews your life to see if you are worthy of proceeding to the next phase of existence or return to Earth to try again. While in Judgement City Daniel meets Julia (Meryl Streep) and falls in love. But will they both move on together or will Daniels decisions on Earth cost him his true love.
Defending Your Life is written and directed by Brooks himself and is a truly perfect blend of heartfelt romance and laugh out loud comedy. All of his set ups for Judgement City like the fact that you can eat all you want and all the food is the best food you have ever eaten is just priceless, not to mention the actual courtroom scenes that review Daniels choices on Earth are just fantastic and not only provide great humor, but make the viewer introspective as well. The chemistry between Brooks and Streep is perfect as well making this comedy also a wonderful romance. The new Criterion Collection edition features the movie in its Blu-ray debut with a new 4K digital restoration and some great new special features. If you have not seen Defending Your Life, take this opportunity and check it out.
Also of note this week is a sweet new Steelbook edition of John Landis’ masterpiece An American Werewolf in London, the new BBC docuseries Perfect Planet on 4K, which is stunning, and the Blu-ray debut of the 1976 comedy classic The Bad News Bears.
Until next week movie lovers, stay safe!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday March 30, 2021
55 Steps (2017)
A Perfect Planet 4K
A Scream in the Streets (1973)*
Amazons (1986)/Barbarian Queen (1985) Double Feature*
An American Werewolf In London - Steelbook Edition
Defending Your Life (1991)* - Criterion Collection
Falcon Rising (2014) – MVD Marquee Collection
From The Holocaust To Hollywood: The Robert Clary Story
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Jungle Trap (2016)*
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016)*
Lust, Caution (2007)*
Meryl Streep 8-Movie Collection
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series [Third Edition]
Mr. Jealousy (1998)* - MVD Marquee Collection
Nosferatu in Venice
Perdita Durango a.k.a. Dance with the Devil (1997) 4K
Secrets & Lies (1996)* - Criterion Collection
Shark Encounters of the Third Kind
Sharks' Treasure (1975)*
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness
The Bad News Bears (1976)*
The Big Bust-Out a.k.a. Io monaca... per tre carogne e sette peccatrici (1972)*
The Day of the Beast (1995) 4K
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)*
The Projectionist (2019)
The Ten Commandments (1956) 4K
The Toll (2020)
The Widow (2020)
Vampire in Venice (1988)*
Wonder Woman 1984
WWE: Elimination Chamber 2021
*Catalog Blu-ray debut