Carl checks out the awesome titles coming to home media in the coming weeks
Although the cinemas are starting to reopen slowly, there is a distinct lack of new movies for us to go and see. Classics like ‘The Empire Strikes Back‘, ‘Blade Runner‘, The ‘Back To The Future Trilogy‘, ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy‘ and ‘Goodfellas‘ are amongst the films now showing at the local multiplexes. But if you’re looking for a new film to go and see, you’re out of luck. Coronavirus has destroyed the release schedule for this year and after the epidemic has hit dangerous new heights in the United States, it is looking highly unlikely that any of the big films we have been waiting for to open will actually make it onto our screens this year. California has closed all cinemas across the entire state until September at the earliest, New York remains closed and the studios won’t dare release a $200million blockbuster in limited release as they know they don’t stand a chance of getting any money back. So, we have to face the fact that we are going to be watching home entertainment releases for the foreseeable future.
There is an abundance of top-quality entertainment either already on or about to hit the disc formats here in the UK. Any of these titles would be an enjoyable night in with the family or once the children have gone to bed. So, why not check out this small selection and maybe grab yourself something you’ll enjoy.
Starting off with the new disc releases, from July 27th, you can bring home the enjoyable ‘Trolls: World Tour‘ The animated sequel to the original ‘Trolls‘ once again features the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake in an all-star second feature for those lovable creatures. The disc includes a dance party edition so the little ones can bop around to the catchy tunes the film contains and will bring joy to them and keep them entertained throughout.
Want something a bit more adult and dramatic as well as being based on a true story? Look no further than ‘Military Wives‘ or ‘Dark Waters‘. Both films will grip the viewer from the off but with differing results. ‘Military Wives‘ is based on the true story of a group of women who while their husbands are serving in Afghanistan, decided to form a choir. The story is well known as they launched themselves to success and were featured on the BBC program ‘The Choir’ alongside Gareth Malone. The film is an inspirational one and one that contains a surprising amount of fun and hilarity within. It could be the feel-good film of the year and will go on to be shown time and again.
‘Dark Waters‘ on the other hand is a gripping courtroom thriller starring Mark Ruffalo. Based on the true story of one of the worst cases of chemical poisonings in the United States, the film is a shocking look at corporations and their attempts to deny any wrongdoing in their actions. What makes the film that much more shocking is the fact that this ACTUALLY happened. Ruffalo gives a masterful performance as the attorney who risks everything-his future, his family, and even his own life as he battles to unveil the truth to an unsuspecting and unknowing country and world. Not to be missed.
Another film that may be of interest to the masses is ‘The High Note‘. Although its release date is yet to be confirmed, the film is a comedy/drama set within the world of the Los Angeles music scene. Dakota Johnson stars as Maggie, an overworked personal assistant to the superstar Grace Davis (a brilliant Tracee Ellis Ross) whose ego and talent have reached heights that even she never imagined. Maggie is stuck running errands for Grace but never gives up on her dream to become a successful music producer in her own right. When the film hits the disc format, it is worth checking out.
‘The King Of Staten Island‘ is a nice little drama starring Pete Davidson as Scott. Scott has been a bad case of arrested development since the age of seven after his father, a firefighter, died in the line of duty. Now as Scott hits his mid-20s, he has achieved virtually zero in his life. His big ambition is to become a tattoo artist, a dream that is so far out of reach, he won’t ever achieve it if he continues going the way he is. Again, the film’s release date is to be confirmed but it is a quirky film that deserves to be seen and discussed.
‘Fantasy Island‘ is a reboot/reimagining of the classic 1970s and 1980s dramatic TV show that has been turned on its head and changed to become a horror movie instead. Michael Pena (who is always watchable) stars as the mysterious Mr. Roarke, the man who runs the island. He is tasked with making all the dreams and fantasies of his guests come true but at a price on a luxurious but remote island. But as the guests’ dreams turn into their worst nightmares, they must solve the riddle of the island and escape with their lives before their dreams and the island ends up taking them instead. The unseen version that is contained on the disc is the version the viewer should aim for as it contains some nastier shocks than the main cinematic version has ready for the home audience. Although the cinema version does contain some nasty and scary sequences in it, it is still suitable for a family audience, despite the ’15’ certificate. The unseen version, however, is suitable only for an adult audience so please bear that in mind before you put it on in front of young children.
On the TV boxset front, here are six titles that should be considered. We start off with ‘Succession: Season 2‘ which hits disc on the 14th of September. Once again starring the brilliant Brian Cox, the second season picks up exactly where the first season ended. The Roys family once again struggle to keep control of their media empire as both external and more importantly, internal threats continue to haunt them. Once again, the season shows the family’s traits of backstabbing, lying, and all other sorts of chicanery as it zips along at a decent pace and leaves the audience breathless for more.
Releasing on July 27th, the opening season of the impressive ‘Gangs Of London‘ makes its bow. Starring the talents of Joe Cole, Sope Dirisu, Lucian Msamati, Michelle Farley, and the legendary Irish actor, Colm Meaney, the series takes us on a violent and immersive journey into the heart of the capital. This is certainly not something for the family or for your granny as the violence and language contained in the show more than earns it an ’18’ certificate. It is not for the faint-hearted or the easily offended or the squeamish as some of the violence shown on screen is bloodthirsty and raw. If the series gets a second season, it will be interesting in seeing where it goes next and if it will answer to the fates of some of the main characters that seemingly met nasty, violent ends at the climax of the season.
‘The Luminaries‘ is currently being shown on BBC1 but if you’re in the mood to buy and keep the series, it emerges onto the disc market from Monday 20th July. Starring the drop-dead gorgeous Eva Green (Yes, I have a small crush), Eve Hewson, and Himesh Patel, the series follows the character of Anna Wetherell (Hewson) who has traveled to New Zealand in an attempt at forging herself a brand new life. The series is a woven tale of magic, love, revenge, and murder set during the 1860s gold rush on the west coast of New Zealand’s south island. Any fan of period drama and of suspenseful fare such as this will get a kick out of the show and will be reaching for it during those cold winter months as well as keeping themselves entertained during the ongoing crisis.
For the DC fans out there, you can pick up and watch ‘Batwoman: Season 1′ from the 17th of August. Ruby Rose stars as the title character and her alter-ego, Kate Kane. With her passion for social justice and a sometimes dangerous flair for speaking her mind, Kane takes to Gotham’s skyline as Batwoman, her mission to put an end to the surge of crime and criminal activity that has suddenly swept the city’s streets. Those that keep an eye on the entertainment news already know that Ruby Rose has stepped down from the role after this debut season and will be replaced in the second series by Javicia Leslie as a new character, Ryan Wilder, who will be taking over the mantle of the Scarlett Knight. But those of us who love the show and the first season of it or just those of us in general who decide to grab the disc set for the entertainment value will get a kick out of this.
Already out on disc now to pick up, Ashley Jensen returns once again as the titular detective in ‘Agatha Raisin: Series 3′. Based on the best-selling novels by M.C Beaton, these four feature-length mysteries once again showcases Ms. Jensen’s talents as Agatha Raisin and her own private detective agency in the lovely Cotswolds. Once again, fans of the show or just those looking for some decent, quality entertainment can’t go wrong here with this impressive two-disc set.
Those of you out there who love top quality BBC drama and like a good old fashioned cry from time to time can’t go wrong with a purchase of the third series of ‘The A Word‘. The hugely popular and emotional series is out now to buy for your collections. The third series picks things up two years later. Things have certainly changed for the family. Joe is now 10 and is having to cope with living in two places at once seen through the filter of his autism. And Alison and Paul are now divorced and are living 100 miles apart from each other. The acting involved in the series is once again top-notch and this two-disc set will keep you entertained and occupied for hours on end.
Two animation titles are due for release shortly. We explode out of the gates with DC’s ‘Deathstroke: Knights And Dragons‘ which hits the disc format on August 17th. The feature follows the super-assassin Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke as he tries to face up to a mistake he made ten years ago. A mistake that made his wife and son pay a heavy and terrible price. Now, a decade later, Slade’s family is once again threatened, this time by the terrorists of H.IV.E and the deadly and murderous Jackal. Slade must atone for his past indiscretions or else his family will pay the price again, this time it will be the ultimate price. Now I love the animated DC feature films. They have the guts to show the stuff from the graphic novels and comic books that the live-action films dare not go near. Just by looking at the front cover will show the consumer that the film is not for kids and will certainly be for adults only. I’m sorry children but I much prefer these kinds of animated fare than the ones you watched on Disney+ or Nickelodeon!
However, it’s not all bad news for the young ones as shortly, they will be able to be entertained by ‘Thomas And Friends: Marvellous Machinery‘. Our beloved Thomas discovers there is to be a technology fair on Sodor and he decides to go all out with his new friend, Ruth to prove once and for all that the invention of the steam engine was the greatest idea ever. And along the way, Ruth will bring along great and new exciting technology and wonderful adventures. There is no release date set in stone for the disc yet but once there is, the youngsters out there will have a terrific time sitting down and enjoying the charming tales and adventures the disc is sure to bring.
If none of these new and upcoming releases tempts you, why not take a trip back in time as two old favorites get a welcome re-release once again. First of all, we have a 4K release of the Oscar-Winning drama ‘Whiplash‘ which is available from September 22nd. The film tells the story of Andrew, an ambitious young jazz drummer who is desperate in his pursuit of rising to the very top of the elite East Coast Conservatory. With the memory of his father and his failed career as a writer, Andrew is single-minded in his quest to become of the all-time greats on the jazz circuit. Miles Teller turned in a terrific performance as Andrew but his co-star, J.K Simmons deservedly won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal as the ruthless Jazz instructor Terence Fletcher, the conductor, and bandleader of the Shaffer Conservatory Studio Band where Andrew is invited to join the ensemble. A truly engrossing dramatic tale.
Lastly though, for those of you and especially myself, who enjoy a camp, glossy, neon-tinged cult classic, what better way to waste some enjoyable time than by grabbing ‘Flash Gordon: 40th Anniversary Edition‘ which launches itself into our world on the 10th of August. The film has been gloriously given a 4K restoration for its fortieth birthday and now looks better than ever. Ok, so the film itself is an acquired taste but don’t be fooled, the film is a cult classic and has millions of fans around the globe. The soundtrack by Queen is still one that is fantastic to this day and the legacy the film gave us cannot be ignored. Even now, somewhere, sometime, you can hear someone screaming ‘Gordon’s Alive?!’ out loud. The list of extras is exhaustive and includes a behind the scenes look at the film, 35th-anniversary featurettes and even episode 24 of Flash Gordon (1979-1982). For the collector though, there is a set that will blow their minds. This collector’s set comprises of five discs which include the Queen soundtrack, the ‘Life After Flash’ feature-length documentary, a 32-page booklet, a Titan mini-book, an original Flash Gordon comic strip, a ‘Flash’ logo sew on patch, four art cards plus a huge bunch of new extras dedicated to the film. The complete package for the complete collector.
These are but a handful of the entertainment that is either out now or will be coming soon. Hopefully, these titles have whetted your appetite for what looks to be our source for entertainment for the foreseeable future. I have already made my choices for what I shall be buying. The question remains though…Have YOU?.
Anyone wishing to buy any of the titles featured in this list can do so via FindAnyFilm.com
The Future of the Force. The future of pop culture writing.
Carl Roberts is a Senior Staff Writer and Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!
Editor’s Note: All videos and information have been supplied by Find Any Film and used under authorization.