Blu Tuesday: “The Holdovers” and More


Paul Giamatti and Dominic Sessa in "The Holdovers"

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: “The Holdovers”

Following the disappointment of 2017’s “Downsizing,” director Alexander Payne makes his long-awaited return with this funny and heartfelt dramedy about a history teacher at a prestigious boarding school who is forced to remain on campus during the Christmas break to babysit the students with nowhere to go. The film starts out promising enough, but it doesn’t truly find its footing until the second act when it becomes a three-hander between Paul Giamatti’s cranky teacher, Dominic Sessa’s troubled student and Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s grieving head cook. Giamatti delivers a vintage performance in the lead role, commanding the screen with one of his best characters in quite some time, while newcomer Sessa more than holds his own alongside the veteran actor. Though it’s hard to imagine “The Holdovers” becoming much of a holiday classic, it’s a warm and comforting movie about the importance of human connection that will go down as one of the year’s best.

Extras include a pair of behind-the-scenes featurettes and some deleted scenes. FINAL VERDICT: BUY

Also Out This Week:

The Marsh King’s Daughter” — Based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Karen Dionne, “The Marsh King’s Daughter” is a rather forgettable crime thriller that wastes the talents of its cast on a subpar script and uninspired direction. There’s nothing for the audience to latch onto; it’s not particularly suspenseful, while the emotional throughline isn’t strong enough to make you care about any of the characters. Though Ben Mendelsohn is usually capable of elevating even the worst material, he’s hamstrung here by a one-dimensional character who isn’t nearly as powerful or intimidating as the movie suggests. Granted, it’s not quite as bad as director Neil Burger’s last film (the woefully dull “Voyagers”), but “The Marsh King’s Daughter” just barely rises above the level of a Lifetime movie of the week. Extras include an audio commentary by Burger and a making-of featurette. FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

Disclosure: Bullz-Eye was provided a copy of the above titles for review purposes.


About Author

In addition to writing for, Jason is a proud member of the Columbus Film Critics Association (COFCA) and the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS).