SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — High drama, suspense and more than a bit of horror highlight this week's DVD, Blu-ray and digital releases.
Recent Series and Movies
- After So Many Days - This documentary follows newly married couple and music duo Jim Hanft and Samantha Yonack as they attempt to perform a show every day for an entire year. Their journey takes them around the world.
- The Great - Writer Tony McNamara is the mastermind behind this loose adaptation of the life of Catherine the Great (she was the Empress of Russia once upon a time in the 1700s). Elle Fanning stars as Catherine and Nicholas Hoult as Peter III, her husband. Like McNamara's "The Favorite" (which he co-wrote with Deborah Davis), "The Great" is a dark satire with fantastic performances, cinematography and writing. Hulu renewed the series for a second season
- Quiz - This film tells the true story of Charles Ingram, a former British army officer, who cheated to win on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." The three-episode series is based on James Graham's stage play and stars Matthew Macfadyen as Ingram and Michael Sheen as television personality Chris Tarrant. The legendary Stephen Frears ("The Queen," "Dangerous Liaisons") directs. You must see this.
- The Secret We Keep - Looking to put the horrors of World War II behind her, Maja (Noomi Rapace) married an American doctor, immigrated stateside and started a family in the suburbs. One afternoon while Maja is in the park with her child when she recognizes the sound of a man's whistle. Convinced that he was one of her captors from a decade before, Maja plots her revenge.
- Tremors: Shrieker Island - Jon Heder (my former classmate, nice guy and Napoleon Dynamite) joins Michael Gross in the umpteenth film in the Tremors franchise. This one takes place on an island where a wealthy hunter intends to hunt Gaboids. Sounds like a cross between "Jurassic Park" and "Hostel."
- Amulet - Carla Juri, Alec Secareanu, and Imelda Staunton star in this bizarre, heady horror film about a homeless ex-soldier who is given a place to stay in exchange for his help in repairing the dilapidated home of a young woman and her ill mother. Highly recommended.
- The Haunting - Paramount gives the Jan de Bont adaptation of Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House" with cues taken from the 1963 film adaption "The Haunting." The film stars Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, and Lili Taylor.
- The Owners - A group of friends break into an elderly couple's home only to find themselves trapped inside when the homeowners return. Maisie Williams stars as the girlfriend who really doesn't want to be there. Its violence is brutal and frequent and the story is rife with political commentary.
- Spree -"Stranger Things" star Joe Keery as a rideshare driver who is desperate to establish a social media presence that he'll do anything to attract followers. Absolutely anything.
- Scare Package - This anthology film was overseen by writer/director/producer Aaron B. Koontz ("The Pale Door"). Koontz's concept was to get horror directors to subvert traditional horror tropes in (mostly) comedic ways.
- Adaptation. - Written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze, "Adaptation." The film stars Nicolas Cage as Kaufman and his (fictional) twin brother and explores Kaufman's experiences while trying to adapt "The Orchid Thief." It's a bizarre concept that works incredibly well. The cast also includes Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, Ron Livingston, Tilda Swinton, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
- Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy - One of the greatest trilogies of all time, "Back to the Future" makes the jump to 4K. Rather than simply repurposing the scans that were used for the Blu-ray set five years ago, Universal has given all three films new scans, new audio mixes and have included all bonus features from the previous sets and have added a few new ones as the original film celebrates its 35th anniversary. I've yet to see it myself, but early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.
- The Gunfighter - Gregory Peck stars in the 1950 Western from director Henry King. Peck stars as Jimmy Ringo, an infamous gunslinger, whose fame makes him a target of every up-and-coming gunfighter. Forced to frequently relocate, Ringo finds himself back in his hometown. He hopes to reconnect with his wife, meet the son he's never known. Where Ringo goes, trouble is close behind.
- The Hit - Director Stephen Frears makes his second appearance in this week's column with his 1984 thriller about Willie (Terence Stamp). a former gangster who has become an informant. This has put a target on his back and Braddock (John Hurt) and Myron (Tim Roth) intend on cashing in. This forces Willie to go on the run. What follows is one of the best British thrillers you'll ever see.
- Shout! Factory Steelbooks - This week also sees limited SteelBook releases of the fantastic Hayao Miyazaki films "Princess Mononoke" (which was the first Miyazaki I saw in theaters) and "My Neighbor Totoro" (which was the first Miyazaki film I ever saw) and the cult favorite "Pumpkinhead," the 1988 directorial debut from legendary special effect wizard Stan Winston.