We’re getting to the halfway point of the year, and as unbelievable as it may seem, my two favorite movies so far came out on the same weekend in February, and now both come out on Blu-ray today. Yes, Jupiter Ascending and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water are the two most imaginative, joyful, cosmos-spanning, eye-stimulating and mind-bulldozing cinematic entertainments of 2015 so far, and if you’ve allowed any naysayers to dissuade you from seeing either, don’t. SpongeBob is a lot weirder and trippier than you’d expect, and the CG/live-action stuff they promote in clips is only a small part of the tale. Jupiter Ascending, meanwhile, is like a more crowd-pleasing take on Dune, with three aristocratic, space-vampire siblings jockeying for supremacy while secret princess Mila Kunis strives to save earth from becoming their food, with the help of air-skating wolf-man Channing Tatum.
Eddie Redmayne gets a lot of grief for supposedly overacting in a role that’s written as an immortal version of King Joffrey who never grew up, but it seems to me a note-perfect portrayal of a spoiled, crybaby legacy child who’s never had to do any work for millennia because he became a decadent immortal cannibal. If anybody knows a real one who behaves differently, I shall retract that statement.
And if you have a 3D TV and a prescription for a certain recently decriminalized “medication,” you should run out and buy both of these now – but since running isn’t likely to be in your future any more than getting off the couch is, just use Amazon Prime.
Apollo 13 20th Anniversary Edition – If you have the 15th anniversary edition of Ron Howard’s real-life space adventure, I don’t think you’ll be missing much, as those commentaries and featurettes remain intact. It’s more a question of whether you don’t yet own the movie, and want to – now it’ll be available in Walmart again for a while. As much as I appreciate the zero-gravity stuff that was actually shot in zero gravity, and dig Ed Harris’ all-night workhorse routine, it is my recollection that the crux of the plot comes down to “You need to build this thing!” and then, moments later, “Okay, we built it!” How? Doesn’t matter. But I was seriously burning out on Tom Hanks at the time, so maybe that was a factor.
Monsters: Dark Continent – Sequel in-name-only to Gareth Edwards breakthrough movie that featured hardly seen giant space octopi as metaphors for illegal aliens from south of the border; this time, the monsters are in the Middle East and standing in for the locals who tend to scare and confuse us. So it sounds just as heavy-handed, but from what I understand it at least has a lot more creature action.
Killing Jesus – Adaptation of Bill O’Reilly’s attempt to tell the tale of the historical Jesus in a realistic fashion…so who is it for, exactly? Secularists looking for something realistic probably won’t be interested in buying it from Mr. War-on-Christmas, while Fox News fans are already complaining that it doesn’t hew to the correct interpretation of Scripture. Best Amazon comment, on the casting of a more regionally appropriate Christ, “I felt he was the guy from which I get my Slurpee.”
Scarecrows – Featuring the impressively perverse tagline, “Tresspassers will be violated,” Scream Factory’s latest ’80s horror revival features mercenaries and robbers who hijack a plane, get double-crossed, and land in a field full of deadly…Girl Scouts! (Just kidding. It’s scarecrows.)
Falling Skies: The Complete Fourth Season – Noah Wyle versus aliens, executive-produced by Steven Spielberg. Is this any good?
The Taking of Tiger Mountain – I’m just going to leave the trailer here…
What else is worth picking up today?