Blu Tuesday is a weekly column where we review the newest Blu-ray and 4K releases, along with a brief rundown of the included bonus material, to determine whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping.
Pick of the Week: “Haunted Mansion”
Disney’s decision to release “Haunted Mansion” in the summer (only a week after the one-two punch of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”) instead of October, where it likely would have performed better at the box office, will go down as one of the biggest gaffs of the year. That’s a shame because “Haunted Mansion” is a mostly enjoyable horror comedy that, like the theme park ride on which it’s based, strikes a good balance between the silly and spooky. In fact, it’s a pretty respectable adaptation of the iconic Disney attraction that retains the spirit of the ride while squeezing in as many references and Easter eggs as possible. Though the movie drags on a tad longer than it probably needs to (especially in the back half), “Haunted Mansion” keeps you engaged thanks to its talented cast, including some great comedic performances by Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito and Tiffany Haddish, all of whom are clearly relishing their roles.
Extras include a making-of featurette, deleted scenes and a blooper reel. FINAL VERDICT: RENT
Also Out This Week:
“Barbie” — The wild success of “Barbie” this past summer is somewhat surprising considering it’s a pretty flawed existential meta-comedy about gender roles and self-discovery that doesn’t thread the needle quite as well as it thinks. Director/co-writer Greta Gerwig deserves a lot of credit for even making “Barbie” work on a story level, but its attempts at social commentary ring hollow at times, especially when the very corporation responsible for the toy line gets off rather easy. With that said, the movie certainly has its charms, and the whole cast really leans into the film’s general goofiness, especially Ryan Gosling, whose hilarious performance is the main highlight. Margot Robbie, America Ferrara and Will Ferrell also turn in solid work in their respective roles, but it’s Gosling who ultimately makes “Barbie” worth watching. Extras include a behind-the-scenes look at making the film. FINAL VERDICT: RENT
“The Last Voyage of the Demeter” — Based on a chapter of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel “Dracula,” which chronicles the fate of the doomed merchant ship the Demeter during its voyage from Romania to England with dangerous cargo aboard, this horror film from Norwegian director André Øvredal is a lot better than expected. It’s basically “Alien” on the high seas, with the legendary vampire picking off the small crew one by one as it grows in strength. Though it’s incredibly formulaic and lacks the necessary stakes to be truly thrilling, “The Last Voyage of the Demeter” is nevertheless a fairly entertaining genre flick that boasts a killer design for its central monster and some good performances from the likes of Corey Hawkins, Liam Cunningham and David Dastmalchian. Extras include an audio commentary by Øvredal and producer Bradley J. Fischer, as well as a making-of featurette, deleted scenes and more. FINAL VERDICT: RENT
Disclosure: Bullz-Eye was provided a copy of the above titles for review purposes.