New Blu-ray Releases Far From Home

This week’s physical media round-up brings home your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. You’ll also have a pleasant time at a midsummer festival, and hang out with not one, but two creepy dolls. These are the new Blu-ray releases you should check out this week.

Spider-Man: Far From Home 

After a rough few days for fans, Spider-Men left the warm embrace of the MCU and went back to Sony. Then he came home again. So, uh, everything’s fine! But while Spidey is now at home in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he’s also Far From Home in his latest adventure. And what an adventure it is. Spider-Man: Far From Home might be one of the silliest blockbusters in recent memory, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his schoolmates head to Europe, but the vacation is short-lived when giant monsters known as Elementals start attacking. Luckily, Spidey has some help from Mysterio, aka Quentin Blake, played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Can Spider-Man save the day with Mysterio, and also woo the girl of his dreams, MJ (Zendaya)? Sure.

Here’s the problem with Far From Home: it never feels like a Spider-Man movie. Instead, it’s just another extension of The Avengers, with Peter haunted by the death of Tony Stark at every turn. Director Jon Watts brought a charming, John Hughes-inspired touch to Spider-Man: Homecoming, but he has real trouble grappling with this large-scale material, to the point where the pacing of Far From Home is abysmal. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its bright spots. Gyllenhaal is a blast as Mysterio, and Zendaya’s low-key, morbid MJ might be the best character in the entire MCU. Still, it would be nice if Spidey’s third MCU adventure took him back to the neighborhood, and stopped obsessing over Iron Man so damn much.

Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray: 

If you’re a Marvel fan, and if you’re reading this site there’s a good chance you are, I’m sure you’ve already made up your mind to snap up a copy of Far From Home. Most of the featurettes here are of the cutesy variety, as is par for the course for the Marvel Studio releases. But hey, nearly everyone involved in this movie is charming as hell, so it doesn’t hurt to spend some time with them behind-the-scenes. There’s even a tribute of sorts to Marisa Tomei and her take on Aunt May. Tomei is sorely underused in the films themselves, so it’s nice to see her get a shout-out in the special features – because she’s aces.

Special Features Include: 

  • New Original Short, Peter’s To – Do – ListPeter has a few errands to run before he can leave on his class trip.
  • Teachers’ Travel Tips: Mr. Harrington & Mr. Dell present a few tips on how to traverse the European continent.
  • Stepping Up: Explore how Spider-Man was introduced in the MCU, the ways Tom Holland transformed the character of Peter Parker, and what the future holds for Spider-Man.
  • Suit Up: The suit doesn’t make the hero – but it does play a big role in who they are and who they can become. This piece examines all of Peter’s different suits in the movie, and with behind the scenes footage, we see why some suits are better than others.
  • Far, FAR, Far from Home: The film’s illustrious locations serve story points and establish tone, but they’re also amazing to travel to! Hear from the cast on their experiences filming on-location.
  • It Takes Two: A special look at the chemistry between Jon Watts and Tom Holland.
  • Fury & Hill: MCU stalwarts Cobie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson are back as Agent Maria Hill & Nick Fury!
  • The Ginter-Riva Effect: A look at the villain sub-plot and how William Ginter-Riva ties Spider-Man: Far From Home all the way back to the beginning of the MCU.
  • Thank You, Mrs. Parker: A look at Marisa Tomei’s reimagining of Aunt May, from Homecoming to Far From Home.
  • The Brother’s Trust: A quick look into some of the amazing work Tom Holland and his brothers have done through their charity, The Brothers Trust.
  • The Jump Off: Interviews with the cast & crew take us through all of the amazing stunts of Far From Home.
  • Now You See Me: We examine the evolution of Mysterio and why Jake Gyllenhaal was the perfect fit for the role.
  • Stealthy Easter Eggs: Allow E.D.I.T.H. to reveal some of the hidden Easter Eggs you may have missed!
  • Select Scene Pre – Vis: A side by side comparison of the Pre-Vis with the film
  • Gag Reel & Outakes
  • Never-Before-Seen Alternate & Extended Scenes

 

 

Midsommar

Ari Aster followed up his dark meditation on death (Hereditary) with a dark meditation on toxic relationships. But wait! Even though Midsommar is a horror movie, and does indeed go to some dark places, it’s also surprisingly funny. In fact, I’d go so far as to say this is funnier than most comedies that came out this year. Aster somehow manages to balance that humor and horror all in a bright, sunny setting as Dani (Florence Pugh, phenomenal) travels with her jerk boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his pals to midsummer celebration in a remote Sweedish village. Everyone there seems nice and friendly…at first. But the longer Dani and company stay, the weirder (and more violent) things get. Some may take issue with Midsommar‘s 147-minute runtime, but Aster makes every minute count, drawing us further into the bright, sunny world of this film. It’s folk horror at its finest, and boy oh boy, what an ending.

Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray: 

Midsommar is one of the best movies of the year, so you absolutely should scoop it up. Still, I have a bone to pick with this release. There’s a longer director’s cut available to be purchased digitally on iTunes – but it’s not included on this disc. I’ve heard from several sources that the director’s cut will eventually be released on Blu-ray (and it already has been released on Blu-ray overseas). That means you can expect some sort of double-dip in the future, which might make you want to wait on plunking down your hard-earned cash. But think of all the fun festivities you’ll miss out on if you wait! Like Skin the Fool!

Special Features Include: 

  • “Let the Festivities Begin: Manifesting Midsommar” Featurette
  •  “Bear in a Cage™” Promo

 

Annabelle Comes Home

The Annabelle franchise has been lopsided, to say the least. The first Annabelle movie, spun-off from The Conjuring, was downright terrible. The sequel/prequel Annabelle: Creation was a vast improvement, but still not quite there. Now, here’s Annabelle Comes Home. And surprise, surprise – it’s the best entry in the series. To be clear: this movie has absolutely nothing to say. It’s not about anything. It just wants to deliver some scares. But it works! And at times it even gets surprisingly emotional. Here, the Warrens (Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson in brief, but welcomed parts) go off on a case, leaving their daughter Judy (Mckenna Grace) in the care of babysitter Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman). Mary Ellen’s best friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) stops by, too, and she just can’t resist breaking into the Warren’s spooky artifact room, full of all sorts of cursed nicknacks, including that evil doll Annabelle. Daniela doesn’t just wake up Annabelle, she also unleashes all sorts of ghosts and ghouls that lurk in the room, resulting in a non-stop spookshow in which one scary thing after another tries to kill our heroines. Gary Dauberman does a great job handling the horror and knows exactly how to build enough tension from scene to scene to land a satisfying, and scary, pay-off.

Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray: 

Of all the Annabelle films, and maybe all the Conjuring spin-offs in general, Annabelle Comes Home is the best. It’s spooky and effective, and surprisingly sweet, making it the perfect addition to your growing horror collection (I’m just assuming you have one of those; doesn’t everyone?). The featurettes included on this disc delve into not so much the making-of the movie, but more the elements that make up the movie. There’s a heavy emphasis on the artifact room, and the new ghosts – including my favorite, the Ferryman.

Special Features Include: 

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Featurettes:
    • The Artifact Room & the Occult
    • The Light & the Love
    • Behind the Scenes: The Ferryman/Demon, The Bloody Bride, The Werewolf

 

Child’s Play

It was never a good idea to remake Child’s Play. The original franchise is still very much alive and in the hands of original creator Don Mancini. And no one can ever top original Chucky voice-actor Brad Dourif. But we got a remake anyway! So how does it fare against its forebearer? Not well! To be fair, director Lars Klevberg brings a good amount of style to the film, and loads it up with gore. He’s also working with a strong cast. Aubrey Plaza is fun, if underused, as the mother of poor, tormented Andy (Gabriel Bateman), who gets a very advanced doll for his birthday. The doll has sophisticated A.I. built-in and thus has the ability to learn. And it does learn…to kill! Weirdly enough, the new Child’s Play tries to make Chucky sympathetic, something the original franchise never did. He’s not a serial killer inhabiting a toy here. He’s more like Pinnochio, a confused puppet that just wants to be a real boy. He can’t help it if he’s also a budding murderer. Mark Hamill voices Chucky, and he wisely doesn’t attempt to copy Brad Dourif. Instead, Hamill gives Chucky an almost childlike voice – soft-spoken, even when he’s bumping people off. Casual horror fans will probably enjoy Child’s Play, but diehards who still hold the original near and dear to their hearts (like me) might be left cold.

Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray: 

While there are shots of CGI Chucky in this new Child’s Play, and they look predictably bad, the majority of the movie features a practical puppet. You have to give the film credit for that, and the best featurette included on this disc is all about bringing the new Chucky to life. There’s also a commentary track from director Lars Klevberg, and I’m always happy when a home media release blesses us with this sort of thing. The commentary track is becoming a dying breed, which is a damn shame because they’re often invaluable. Even in films like this, which are so-so, it’s still fascinating to listen to Klevberg talk about the ins and outs that went into his Child’s Play. It’s clear that the director took this gig seriously, and wasn’t just a hired gun cashing a check.

Special Features Include:

  • Audio commentary with director Lars Klevberg
  • The Making of Child’s Play
  • Bringing Child’s Play’s Chucky to Life
  • Soundtrack Trailer
  • Toy Massacre
  • A.I. Mayhem
  • Gallery
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