We kick off the week with the new Ben Affleck film The Way Back. Affleck plays Jack Cunningham, a former high school basketball phenom whose glory days are behind him as he deals with a life destroyed by addiction. Jack gets a chance at redemption when his alma mater asks if he will come back to coach their struggling basketball team. Jack accepts and tries to take the first steps to turn his life around.

The Way Back is directed by Gavin O’Connor who is best known for a couple other great sports films including Miracle and Warrior and the 2016 Affleck thriller The Accountant. The Way Back is an interesting movie as Affleck’s characters seems to be dealing with all the issues Affleck himself has been dealing with in real life. And that makes for a very authentic story being told and an exceptional performance by Affleck. I am not a sports fan but I love a good sports film and The Way Back is up there with some of the best.

Next up this week is the sequel to 2016’s The Boy, Brahms: The Boy II. Liza (Katie Holmes), her husband Sean (Owain Yeoman) and their son Jude (Christopher Convery) leave their home in London to move to a secluded cottage on the property of the abandoned Heelshire Mansion. They hope the solitude will help Liza and Jude get over some emotional scars after a traumatic home invasion. But shortly after arriving Jude finds a hauntingly lifelike porcelain doll in the woods and immediately becomes obsessed with it. Now Liza must discover the history of Heelshire Mansion and the doll called Brahms if she is to prevent any further psychological damage to her son.

Brahms: The Boy II is a smart sequel in that it carries over a location and the doll from the first film, but takes its own route in telling a new story, one that is on a more supernatural note than its predecessor. Holmes, Yeoman and Convery are all excellent here, as well as a great supporting role by Ralph Ineson of The Witch. The atmosphere is heavy, the doll creepy as hell, and the scares plentiful and fun. For a great night of spooky escapism, Brahms: The Boy II is a solid sequel and lots of fun.

Lastly this week is a new screen version of the classic Jane Austen comedy, Emma. Anya Taylor-Joy plays the title character Emma Woodhouse, a beautiful, clever and rich young woman who revels in going against the social rules of her time and has fun in trying to be matchmaker to all of her friends. But along the way Emma must navigate her own romantic mishaps and find a way to find her own happiness in a world that may not be ready for her.

This adaptation of Emma is the feature film debut of music video director Autumn de Wilde who brings all of his unique talents into updating the entire feel of Emma. The film has a fresh, colorful, funny flair to it led by an energetic and charming performance by Taylor-Joy, who is proving to be one of the best young actors working today. She is supported by a stellar cast and surrounded by uniquely beautiful production design that almost looks like it could be an 1800’s version of a Wes Anderson movie. Charming, funny and lighthearted, Emma is a delight.

Also of note this week is the big screen debut of classic video game character Sonic the Hedgehog starring Jim Carrey, a new comedy called Downhill with Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Castle Rock: The Complete Second Season, which is an awesome story revolving around the classic Stephen King character Annie Wilkes from Misery.

Until next week movie lovers, stay safe!

DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday May 19, 2020

Alice in Wonderland (1933)*

American Madness (1932)*

Brahms: The Boy II

Buffaloed

Call the Midwife: Season Nine

Castle Rock: The Complete Second Season

Dance, Girl, Dance (1940)* - Criterion Collection

Danger: Diabolik (1968)*

Days of Thunder (1990) 30th Anniversary 4K

Downhill

Emma.

Enemies, A Love Story (1989)*

Fear the Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season

Flashdance (1983) - Paramount Presents Edition*

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)*

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War

Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)*

Pretty Smart (1987)*

Promare [Limited Edition Steelbook]

Sidney White (2007)*

Sonic The Hedgehog

The Blues Brothers (1980) 4K

The Captive Heart (1946)*

The Evil of Frankenstein (1964)* - Collector's Edition

The Good Place: The Complete Series

The Long and the Short and the Tall (1961)*

The Loud House: Absolute Madness - Season 2 Volume 2

The Night My Number Came Up (1955)*

The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection*

The Postcard Killings (2018)*

The Way Back

The Woman/Offspring Double Feature

Top Gun (1986) 4K

War of the Worlds (2005) 4K

*Catalog Blu-ray debut