New Blu-ray Releases Grand Budapest

Hello, everyone still stuck at home! Are you in search of new forms of entertainment to free your mind from existential dread? Well, you’ve come to the right place. These are the new Blu-ray releases (and digital releases, too) you should check out this week.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Is The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson‘s best movie? Sometimes I think it is. But even if it’s not, it’s definitely the film that’s the perfect encapsulation of his talents. Combining his eye for detail with his penchant for melancholy whimsy, Grand Budapest is a story within a story within a story. The filmmaker uses three different framing devices to tell this story, and while that may seem excessive, it’s all part of the charm. At the center of it all is Ralph Fiennes, who is phenomenal as Gustave H., concierge of the Grand Budapest Hotel. Gustave and his new lobby boy, Zero (Tony Revolori), get mixed up in a plot involving a priceless painting, espionage, and the rise of fascism. Anderson assembles his usual players and some new ones too to tell a tale that makes you laugh just as much as it makes you wistful.

Own or Rent? 

This is a purchase, without a doubt. This new release comes from The Criterion Collection, which immediately makes it a must-have. This edition comes with a new commentary track, a new making-of featurette, video essays, and more. If you’re an Anderson fan, this is a must-have.

Special Features Include: 

  • 2K digital transfer, supervised by director Wes Anderson, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New audio commentary featuring Anderson, filmmaker Roman Coppola, critic Kent Jones, and actor Jeff Goldblum
  • Selected-scene storyboard animatics
  • “The Making of ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’” a new documentary about the film
  • New interviews with the cast and crew
  • Video essays from 2015 and 2020 by critic Matt Zoller Seitz and film scholar David Bordwell
  • Behind-the-scenes, special-effects, and test footage
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: A 2014 essay by critic Richard Brody and a collectible poster, along with (on the Blu-ray) excerpts from an additional 2014 piece by Brody, an 1880 essay on European hotel portiers by Mark Twain, and other ephemera

 

 

Bad Boys For Life

I had very low expectations for Bad Boys For Life. The movie took so long to get made, and there was plenty of talk about behind-the-scenes issues involving massive rewrites, that I was prepared for the worst. But wouldn’t ya know it, this is actually the best film in the Bad Boys franchise. Sure, it doesn’t have the utter insanity of Bad Boys II, or the ’90s charms of the first film. But Bad Boys For Life gets by with a little help from Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, who continue to have great chemistry together. But what makes this film really sing is the way it lets its characters grow. Detectives Mike Lowrey (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) are both older now, and life is catching up with them. And rather than have the characters regress, Bad Boys For Life is smart enough to let them grow the hell up, and start maturing a bit. It’s refreshing! As for the plot, it’s nothing to write home about, but it does involve a character who is revealed to be a witch. And that’s pretty wild.

Own or Rent? 

I’m going to say this is worth a purchase, even if you don’t happen to own the other two films in the franchise. Sure, it’s a sequel, but it stands well on its own. And I also think this is the most rewatchable of all the films, because it’s not nearly as aggressive and exhausting as the other two.

Special Features Include: 

  • Extended & Alternate Scenes (Including an Alternate Ending)
  • Outtakes & Bloopers
  • Ride or Die: Making Bad Boys for Life
  • Partners in Crime: Behind-the-Scenes
  • It’s About Time: Go through 25 years of Bad Boys history with Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the cast and crew
  • Easter Eggs: Directors Adil and Billal take us on a tour of a few of the Easter eggs and callbacks to earlier Bad Boys films
  • And more

 

 

The Rhythm Section

The Rhythm Section was a huge flop. In fact, it had the worst wide opening weekend of all time. That’s not a great sign, but when I sat down to watch it, I was hoping that this would turn out to be an unsung gem – a genuinely good movie that everyone slept on. Alas, my wish didn’t come true. To be fair: The Rhythm Section isn’t a terrible movie. It’s not even bad, really. It’s just…average. Pacing is a huge problem here – the film takes forever to kick into gear. But it’s clear that director Reed Morano has the goods, and she’ll hopefully bounce back with something better. Blake Lively plays an ordinary woman who loses her entire family in a plane crash. The crash is said to be an accident, but as it turns out, terrorism is what brought the plane down. And after falling on hard times, Lively’s character decides to seek violent revenge. Lively is good here, fully committing to a very physical role. But The Rhythm Section takes so damn long for her character to get on with her mission that by the time it happens, it feels like too little, too late. And then the credits roll.

Own or Rent? 

This is a rental. Again, I was really hoping to find an underrated treat here. But it just wasn’t to be. The Rhythm Section is worth seeing once – there’s a really great car chase! – but then you can forget all about it and never revisit it again.

Special Features Include: 

  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Featurettes
  • Over 40 minutes of Bonus Content

 

The Gentlemen

After several attempts at crafting big, expensive blockbusters, Guy Ritchie returns to what he does best – the UK gangster movie. The Gentlemen has Ritchie treading familiar ground, but he’s surprisingly restrained here. He doesn’t resort to his old tricks – he doesn’t resort to constant speed-ramping, for instance. But that doesn’t mean The Gentlemen is a slam-dunk. In fact, it’s rather convoluted, to the point where it begins to grow tiresome. The main story involves a marijuana kingpin (Matthew McConaughey, in a part he was born to play) who wants to get out of the biz. His inevitable retirement triggers all sorts of shenanigans in the criminal underworld, resulting in a body count. The Gentlemen is loaded with style, and there are some fine performances here, especially Hugh Grant, playing a sleazy tabloid journalist. But the movie ultimately fizzles when it should explode, and that’s a problem.

Own or Rent? 

This is another rental. Sure, you’re going to want to watch this to see Colin Farrell have the time of his life. But I can’t imagine this is the type of movie that inspires much revisiting. Just go rewatch Snatch instead.

Special Features Include: 

  • Behind-the-Scenes of THE GENTLEMEN – Get up close with the talented cast of THE GENTLEMEN as they give an inside look at the making of the film and share their experiences working with legendary director Guy Ritchie.
  • Best Gentlemanly Quips – A selection of some of the funniest lines from THE GENTLEMEN that spotlights the witty writing behind the film.
  • Glossary of Cannabis – Viewers are given a fun educational montage highlighting the numerous nicknames of Marijuana shown throughout the film.
  • Photo Gallery
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