Midnight Cowboy, Mishima, Moonrise & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in May 2018

This May, John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy, the era-defining classic of New American Cinema whose sexual frankness helped earn it both an X rating and an Oscar for best picture, will join the Criterion Collection in a new 4K digital restoration. But first, a major rediscovery: Moonrise, the long-unavailable final triumph by neglected Hollywood master Frank Borzage, will appear in a new, restored 4K digital transfer. Then, fresh from its celebrated theatrical run, Aki Kaurismäki’s award-winning The Other Side of Hope, the dryly comic tale of a Syrian refugee and the restaurateur who helps him find a foothold in Finland, arrives on home video. Cristian Mungiu, leading light of the New Romanian Cinema, examines the fine line between faith and fanaticism in Beyond the Hills, and shows how a father’s concern for his daughter draws him into a network of corruption in Graduation, both new to home video. And that’s not all: Robert Bresson’s profoundly compassionate masterpiece Au hasard Balthazar and Paul Schrader’s wildly unconventional biopic Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters will make their first appearances on Blu-ray, in new restorations.

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Night of the Living Dead – The Criterion Collection (Blu-ray Review)

At long last, on the year of its 50th anniversary, Night of the Living Dead has been given the ultimate Blu-ray release it deserves. George A. Romero’s 1968 film, the godfather of modern zombie movies, is one that has received so many different releases due to its public domain status that it was only a matter of time for real justice to be done. Thankfully, The Criterion Collection has once again gone all out for a true classic (‘Night’ was even added into the National Film Registry nearly 20 years ago). This spectacular new release boasts 4K digital restoration, a workprint edit of the film, multiple commentaries, never-before-seen footage, new interviews, and more. It’s practically everything one can want for the perfect release of this film, which I was thrilled to dive into for this review.

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Ready Player Rock – JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE Hits 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 20

The monster hit is coming home. Experience this year’s biggest and best family fun adventure starring some of Hollywood’s most popular actors when JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE debuts on digital March 6 and on 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD March 20 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. In addition, the physical skus will also include digital versions of the movie, redeemable via the all-new Movies Anywhere App. Explore the vast and exciting world of Jumanji with Dwayne Johnson (Fast and the Furious franchise), Jack Black (Goosebumps), Kevin Hart (Ride Along) and Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy franchise) as they work together to beat the mysterious game they were drawn into so they can return to the real world. JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE also stars Nick Jonas (“Scream Queens”) and Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man).

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‘Peter Rabbit’ Has Fun, Big Screen Mischief (Movie Review)

Well, it’s clear the American trailers have done a disservice to Peter Rabbit. Based on the classic children’s stories created by Beatrix Potter, this 2018 cinematic interpretation has the appearance of…well, something like Smurfs. The actual film is much better. It’s no Paddington 2, which came out first and could bury this movie any day of the week, but Peter Rabbit has a lot more cleverness and understated comedy going along with all the slapstick fun and jukebox-like soundtrack selection. Suffice it to say, this rabbit has a few good-natured tricks up its jacket sleeves.

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Play Ball! The Sandlot – 25th Anniversary Collector Edition Arrives on Blu-ray 3/27

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is celebrating a quarter century of laughter and friendship with THE SANDLOT – 25TH ANNIVERSARY Collector Edition, arriving on Blu-ray™ March 27. In this beloved family-favorite, it’s the early 1960s and fifth-grader Scotty Smalls (Tom Guiry) has just moved into town with his folks (Karen Allen and Denis Leary). Kids call him a dork — he can’t even throw a baseball! But that changes when the leader of the neighborhood gang recruits him to play on the nearby sandlot field. It’s the beginning of a magical summer of baseball, wild adventures, first kisses and fearsome confrontations with the dreaded beast and its owner (James Earl Jones) who live behind the left field fence. Soon nine boys have become best friends, Scotty is part of a team, and their leader has become a local legend in this hilarious and warmhearted comedy.

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Prepare Breakfast And Put On Your Nicest Dress, PHANTOM THREAD Comes To Blu-ray April 10

Here’s a film that only gets better the more I think about it – Three-time Oscar® winner Daniel Day-Lewis earns his sixth Academy Award® nomination as Reynolds Woodcock, the fastidious and controlling fashion designer  whose glamorous and carefully tailored life is disrupted by love in Phantom Thread, arriving on Digital and the all-new digital movie app MOVIES ANYWHERE on March 27, 2018 and on Blu-rayTM, DVD and On Demand on April 10, 2018 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Daniel Day-Lewis reunites with multi-Oscar®nominated director, writer and producer Paul Thomas Anderson in this spectacular film praised as a “pure delicious pleasure” (Guardian). The Blu-rayTM, DVD and Digital versions include special bonus features to give viewers a more in-depth look into the behind the scenes of the film. Phantom Thread received six Academy Awards® nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Director, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Original Score and Best Costume Design.

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Sleep With The Fishes in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water On Blu-ray This March

Hey, a new PR for my favorite film of 2017! From master storyteller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER, an otherworldly fairy tale set against the backdrop of Cold War-era America circa 1962. In the hidden, high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment. Rounding out the cast are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg and Doug Jones. Up for 13 Oscars and featuring special features to bring you closer to del Toro’s world, add THE SHAPE OF WATER to your digital collection on Movies Anywhere beginning February 27 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on March 13.

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‘The Cloverfield Paradox’ Is A Challenge For Movie Scientists And Brand Association (Movie Review)

So it turns out Cloverfield is not just the name of a road in Santa Monica, CA, it’s a space station. That’s a spoiler for a premise, but The Cloverfield Paradox seems like a film so bent on throwing surprises at you that this one is not a major reveal to feel that concerned with. More concerning is how J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot Productions plan to use the Cloverfield label. While I’m fully ready to review this third entry, it is, frankly, impossible to evaluate the film without considering the unprecedented nature of its release. What we have is a sci-fi horror film that was suddenly dropped on audiences every, following the Super Bowl, and whether or not that’s a matter for those watching this film years from now, it does play a role in understanding what is making this film tick.

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Jason Momoa Throws Axes In Braven, Which Arrives on Blu-ray This April

Now this is a 90s action throwback that I can get behind. Jason Momoa stars in the slick action-thriller, Braven, arriving on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital), DVD and Digital April 10 from Lionsgate. This film is currently available On Demand. The edge-of-your-seat action film tells the tale of Joe Braven (Momoa) and his father on a remote hunting trip that very quickly goes wrong, forcing them to defend their home and family at all costs. Also starring Garret Dillahunt and Stephen Lang, the Braven Blu-ray and DVD include a never-before-seen featurette and will be available for the suggested retail price of $21.99 and $19.98, respectively.

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‘Winchester’ Summons A Haunted House Misfire (Movie Review)

Fun fact, seeing a spooky film based on the Winchester Mystery House is not my first encounter with this famous site. Before seeing Winchester, I actually visited the San Jose location with my horror-movie-loving mother a good couple decades ago. While my memories of that tour are vague, it feels like I got more out of that strange adventure than I did with this film. It’s a shame, as there is enough in the concept alone to make a meal out of a real-life mansion entirely fit for a haunted house story. Instead, the so-called “House That Ghosts Built” feels more like real estate fraud.

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THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is Available to Shock and Delight this February on Blu-ray

Award-winning actress Frances McDormand (Fargo) delivers a stunningly powerful performance in this darkly comic drama that has been hailed as one of the year’s best films. A murdered girl’s defiant mother (McDormand) boldly paints three local signs with a controversial message, igniting a furious battle with a volatile cop (Sam Rockwell) and the town’s revered chief of police (Woody Harrelson). Add THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI to your digital collection on Movies Anywhere beginning Feb. 13; and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on Feb. 27.

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Molly’s Game Deals It’s Blu-ray Out For Players This April

From Aaron Sorkin, the mind behind The Social Network, Moneyball, and The West Wing, comes the astounding true story of 26-year-old Molly Bloom, who through sheer nerve, wits, and acumen builds an empire and takes over the ultimate boys club: exclusive high-stakes poker in Molly’s Gamearriving on Digital March 27, 2018 and on Blu-rayTM, DVD, and On Demand April 10, 2018 from STXfilms and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Nominated for an Academy Award®for Best Adapted Screenplay, this sensational film is “one of the most radically entertaining things Aaron Sorkin has ever written” (David Ehrlich, Indiewire) and “Unendingly satisfying” (Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair). Molly’s Game on Blu-rayTM, DVD and Digital comes with special bonus content that takes viewers deeper into the life of Molly Bloom and the making of the film.

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Homeland Season Six Heads To New York And Arrives on Blu-ray This February

Another year and another season of Showtime’s hit drama. Emmy® Award winner Claire Danes gives another riveting performance in Season Six of the Emmy®Award Winning Drama Series, HOMELAND. Now living in New York City, Carrie (Danes) gets swept up in the aftereffects of the U.S. presidential election as she struggles to deal with an injury-ravaged Peter Quinn (Rupert Friend) and an increasingly suspicious Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin). When the president-elect battles the CIA during her transition to power, Carrie finds herself caught in the crossfire in the acclaimed series that continues to deliver stunning twists and edge-of-your-seat suspense. Get ready to own the latest season of the Homeland on Blu-ray February 6 and continue on to learn more about this Blu-ray set and the extra features that come with it.

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‘Hostiles’ Are US (Movie Review)

You can easily label Hostiles as a revisionist western. Then again, it’s not as though any filmmakers try to make classic westerns anymore, what with the modern emphasis on morally questionable heroes and increased awareness of what certain films tend to glorify and the efforts to subvert certain expectations. So sure, Hostiles is another western that goes after the grey area, more than it attempts to paint things in black and white. The results lead to some strong performances that fit right in with the beautiful landscapes captured on film. I only wish writer/director Scott Cooper found a way to tell a more involving story.

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‘Mary and the Witch’s Flower’ – The Rise Of Broom Girl (Movie Review)

For a story mainly focused on a young girl, her broom, and a cat, there is a lot of action and excitement to be found in Mary and the Witch’s Flower. Here’s an animated film that opens with explosions and a mid-air chase scene involving a witch on a broom and flying fish-like creatures. It also happens to be a delightful coming-of-age story about perseverance and understanding who you want to be. Bringing these two ideas together, Mary and the Witch’s Flower is a colorful blast of adventure, magic, and the sort of thrilling animation one would hope to see from an animation studio that isn’t afraid to embrace the abstract.

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Ingrid Bergman, Sofia Coppola, Jim Jarmusch & More Coming to The Criterion Collection in April 2018

This April, Sergei Parajanov’s masterpiece The Color of Pomegranates, a revelatory film-poem overflowing with sensuous imagery, will join the Criterion Collection, on Blu-ray for the first time and in a stunning new 4K restoration. Also making its Blu-ray debut, Leo McCarey’s genre-defining comedy The Awful Truth stars the irresistible Irene Dunne and Cary Grant as would-be ex-spouses who can’t get enough of each other. The latest entry in our Eclipse line provides an origin story for another one of Hollywood’s most iconic stars: Ingrid Bergman’s Swedish Years collects six of the actor’s earliest performances and showcases her extraordinary range, which spanned crime thrillers, comedy, and melodrama. And there’s more: Dead Man, an ambitious, hypnotic western by Jim Jarmusch that enlists the poetry of William Blake and the music of Neil Young to turn the genre on its head, appears in a new 4K restoration supervised by the director. Plus, Sofia Coppola joins the collection with her debut, The Virgin Suicides, an ominously dreamy coming-of-age reverie adapted from Jeffrey Eugenides’s celebrated novel, appearing in a 4K digital transfer supervised by cinematographer Ed Lachman and approved by the director.

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LEGION Season One Comes to Blu-ray March 27 with Limited Edition Book and Incredible Extras

There’s been one truly spectacular superhero TV show in recent years and it is Legion. Based on the based on the Marvel Comics by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz and featuring a powerful, all-star cast — including DAN STEVENS, AUBREY PLAZA, JEAN SMART and RACHEL KELLER — “LEGION” follows the story of David Haller (STEVENS), a troubled young man who may be more than human. Diagnosed as schizophrenic as a child, David has been in and out of mental hospitals for years. Institutionalized once again, David spends his time with his chatterbox friend Lenny (PLAZA), a fellow patient whose life-long drug and alcohol addiction has done nothing to quell her boundless optimism that her luck is about to change.  But a startling encounter with a new patient (KELLER) forces David to confront the shocking possibility that the voices he hears and the visions he sees may actually be real. A haunted man, David escapes from the hospital and with the help of a nurturing but demanding therapist (SMART) and her team of specialists’ unconventional methods, David embarks on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery that leads to a new world of possibilities…and a new level of unexpected danger.

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The Why So Blu Crew’s Favorite Films of 2017

Now that everyone has put together their Top Ten lists for the films of 2017, I thought it would be fun to assemble a list that combines all those results and determines a Top Ten list for the team as a whole. Usually, we just speak of which films is the Why So Blu film of the year in the comments section, but since we had the combined efforts of myself, Brian, Brandon, Bron, Gerard, Gregg, Jason, and Jordan, it seemed like a fun idea. To do this, I set up a reasonably standard points system. Choices on individual lists for number one would receive 10 points; number 2 would earn 9 points, 3 gets 8 points, and so on. One exception is, of course, Jordan’s list, as he only listed his number one film and didn’t rank the others. As a result, each of his picks, aside from his number one, counted for 5 points each. I hope that makes sense and while there is no commentary to go with each of these entries, please enjoy the Why So Blu crew’s favorite films of 2017.

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