'Guardians' and 'Alien' sequels lead off this week's new video releases
Posted August 23
The sequel to “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the latest in the Alien franchise land on Blu-ray, DVD and online streaming sites this week.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (Marvel/Disney, 2017, PG-13, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, bloopers). After years of searching, a godlike creature named Ego (Kurt Russell) tracks down Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), says he’s his father and offers to help him ignite his inherited abilities. But, of course, he actually has a darker agenda. That’s just one of several storylines in this sequel to the fast and funny 2014 original, and this one is also pretty fast and funny, if a bit too self-important, cluttered and overlong. Still it’s fun much of the way, and, of course, is one of the year’s biggest box office blockbusters.
“Alien: Covenant” (Fox, 2017; R for violence, language, sex, nudity; deleted/extended scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, art/photo gallery, trailers). This second in a planned trilogy of prequels to Ridley Scott’s 1979 horror-in-space flick “Alien” follows a ship with 2,000 colonists hoping to build a new world on a distant planet. Along the way, they are waylaid by a distress signal, but the planet to which they are lured will, of course, bring them face-to-face with less-than-friendly extraterrestrials. Michael Fassbender and Katherine Waterston star. This is the sixth film in the Alien franchise, or the eighth if you include the two “Alien vs. Predator” flicks.
“Wakefield” (Shout!, 2017, R for language and sex). An unhappily married New York lawyer (Bryan Cranston) is walking home when he follows a raccoon into the attic of his detached garage, where he watches his wife (Jennifer Garner) and children from a window. He plans to go into the house later but falls asleep in the garage, and the next morning is reported to police as a missing person. So, he decides to chuck work and family life, and live like a homeless man in his own garage. This odd, arguably cruel, exploration of a midlife crisis gets a boost from Cranston’s fine performance, but is decidedly not for everyone.
“Kill Switch” (Lionsgate, 2017, R for language and violence, audio commentary, featurette). An astronaut (Dan Stevens) is tasked with getting a mysterious box into an energy-saving device, but when things go wrong he finds himself in an alternate universe. Once again he must get the box where it needs to go, but to get there this time he has to battle soldiers, drones and natural catastrophes. This low-budget effort boasts good special effects but suffers from a confusing narrative.
“Bluebeard” (Well Go, 2017, not rated/probable R for violence, in Korean with English subtitles). A disgraced Korean doctor, now working in a depressed town at a medical clinic, is performing a colonoscopy on his landlord when, in a drugged-out stupor, the guy seems to confess to being a serial killer. Or did he? This one’s a slow-going thriller that excels — to a fault — in convoluted misdirection while striving for a Hitchcock-style aesthetic.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at www.hicksflicks.com and can be contacted at email@example.com.