This week’s new DVD and Blu-ray releases include another film in the “Transformers” franchise and a film that is a serious contender for worst movie of the year.
“Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” Grade C: It is saying nothing new that “Transformers: Rise of the Beasts” is a movie heavy on action and light on story and acting. That has been the general format through most of the seven offerings in the franchise except for the first and the most recent, “Bumblebee.” The Autobots are on autopilot as they once again go from lamenting about not being able to get home and saving their adopted planet.
The battle between the Autobots with their new animal-looking Maximals allies against the evil Terrorcons and the world-devouring Unicron focuses almost entirely on the CGI characters.
Nothing in this film stands out. The action unfolds in the mid-90s but except for the mention of O.J. Simpson and selections in the soundtrack, the film could have taken place in almost any year. There is a slight link to other films but even those moments are weakened by knowing what happened in the movies that took place in time periods after this one.
It would just be nice if the franchise is going to continue that the effort does not look like such a Prime mistake.
“Strays” Grade D-: This profanity-soaked tale follows Reggie (voiced by Will Ferrell), an overly optimistic Border Terrier who sees efforts by his owner (Will Forte) to abandon him as just an extended game of fetch. When that game leaves Reggie wandering the streets of an unfamiliar town, he gets some help from a spunky Boston Terrier named Bug (Jamie Foxx) who has been living on the streets for years.
They team with a Great Dane named Hunter (Randall Park) and the Australian Shepherd Maggie (Isla Fisher) to go homeward bound. The only obstacle is figuring out a series of clues to reunite Reggie and Doug.
There is nothing wrong with crass and vulgar humor. The problem with strays is that writer Dan Perault takes the approach that as long as the audience is giggling like a group of 4-year-olds who have just learned a new curse word then he has done his job. That kind of juvenile approach works for a short time but then becomes an exercise in redundancy.
“Strays” would have been weak even if it had gone directly to video or one of the endless streaming services gobbling up even worthless entertainment to fill their schedules.
After watching “Strays” you will be able to relate to that worker who fell into the sea of poop. It is a stink that doesn’t go away quickly.
Also new on DVD and Blu-ray as of Oct. 10
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”: This is the first time that the classic animated film has been made available in 4K UHD.
“The Boogeyman”: Two sisters reeling from their mother’s death are visited by a person who leaves behind a deadly entity.
“Jules”: Man’s mundane life changes when an alien spaceship crashes in his backyard.
“Yellowjackets: Season Two”: The Yellowjackets barely made it through summer in the woods and now must face a very cold winter.
“Flying Boat”: The film looks at the few remaining individuals who have had various experiences from years of flying these aircraft in exotic and iconic locations around the world.
“The League”: The film celebrates the journey of Negro League baseball’s triumphs and challenges through the first half of the twentieth century.
Available through digital platforms
“Leopard Skin”: Fleeing a botched diamond heist masterminded by crooked Judge LaSalle, a criminal gang seeks shelter in the remote paradise of Playa Perdida, Mexico.
“Shortcomings”: Ben spends his time obsessing over unavailable blonde women when he’s not managing an art house movie theater as his day job. Will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on Oct. 17.
“Fremont”: Donya’s loneliness and longing drive her to send a message out in a fortune cookie.
“Mercy Road”: A man covered in blood leaps into his work truck and races against the clock to save his daughter.
“Miranda’s Victim”: Film is based on the true story of how those arrested for a crime must be told their rights.