It's a delightfuly diverse week of releases as we see classic characters, famous favorites and acclaimed art house headlining this week's DVD, Blu-ray and Digital releases.
Having just debuted on the Disney Channel, "Descendants 3" is the newest chapter in a series that sees the children of notorious Disney villains. This chapter sees Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos returning to the Island of the Lost to pick four new villain kids to travel with them to Auradon. Antics, jealousy and Hades' Ember follow.
I knew little to nothing going into "Pokemon: Detective Pikachu" and by film's end I still didn't really know much about Pokemon, but the audience went crazy for it. Based on a spin-off video game, "Detective Pikachu" sees a young man with a little help from Pikachu reluctantly embark on a journey to uncover the truth behind his father's disappearance.
Twenty-five years after its debut, The Swan Princess franchise sees its ninth film, "The Swan Princess: Kingdom of Music," sees Princess Odette putting massive birthday party for Princess Alise that involved a music competition. Look for a 25th Anniversary edition of the original film to be released later this year.
There are two Batman releases this week: the kid friendly "LEGO DC: Batman - Family Matters" and the PG-13 rated "Batman: Hush." The LEGO film sees outside forces trying to separate Batman from his allies and "Hush" is based on the Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee comic storyline that sees Batman trying to find and defeat the mastermind who has convinced his greatest foes to team up.
"Poms," is purportedly a comedy about a group of women in a retirement home who decide to form a cheerleading squad featuring Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver and Pam Grier.
"Tolkien," a highly fictionalized look at the life of J. R. R. Tolkien before he authored "The Hobbit" featuring Nicholas Hoult and Tolkien and Lily Collins as romantic muse Edith Bratt. I love the story and it features one of the most magical and cinematic dates in the history.
The Conjuring Universe has offered audiences some solid horror films and a few so generic that they'e destined to be completely forgotten. "The Curse of La Llorona," is a watered-down horror yarn from that offers the expected jump scares but fails to capitalize on the Mexican folk tales it is inspired by.
One of the more popular films at this year's Sundance Film Festival was the documentary "Hail Satan?" The press and industry screening was packed with festival programmers who recognized the shock value in the title and had to see if the film itself proved to be equally as interesting. It is and it isn't what you think. The film is more political than religious as the group and its many chapters look for equality and fair representation. It's not about being evil, but the iconography has proven useful.
Brooke Shields made her on-screen debut in Alfred Sole's "Alice, Sweet Alice," a 1976 slasher dominated with Catholic imagery and guilt. Sole's career quickly flat lined, but many regard this film as an overlooked genre classic.
"How Long Will I Love U" is a Chinese romantic comedy about a woman in 2018 who becomes roommates with a man from 1999 due to some spacetime disruption. The premise is something like what we saw (or read) in "The Time Traveler's Wife" without the creepiness. The film was a massive success in China where it earned $135 million against a $6 million budget. The ideas within the film are better than the finished product, but the performances are good and there's some nice cinematography.
I saw "The Souvenir" at the Sundance Film Festival and struggled with it while many of my colleagues responded positively. It's the story of a young female film student (Honor Swinton Byrne) who becomes romantically involved with a self-destructive older man (Tom Burke). It might work as a cautionary tale, but its so incredibly dour. At the festival it was revealed that sequel is in the works and where director/writer Joanna Hogg takes that film might dramatically change how I feel about "The Souvenir."
Jane Campion's "An Angel at the Table" autobiography of New Zealand author Janet Frame explores her impoverished childhood, the time she spent in an institution after a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia and her rise above all her difficulties to become a celebrated author.
"Girls of the Sun" is a war drama that sees a group of Kurdish women who have been separated from their families by extremists form a bat talon and set out to reclaim their homes and reunite their families.
This week's digital highlights include "Brightburn," a dark twist on the superhero story that finds a teen with super powers terrorizing his his hometown; "The Hustle," a gender-swap remake of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson as competitive con artists who are trying to stake their claim to the French Riviera; and "Rocketman," the whimsical, fantasy tale of Elton John's rise, fall and rise as he struggles through worldwide success and drugs in excess starring Taron Egerton as the singer.