Cinemas & Home Entertainment This Week…
GRIM PICKINGS this week includes key dates to dismember with lions roaring on the big screen and jackals howling on home entertainment!
THE LION KING
Jon Favreau (THE JUNGLE BOOK, IRON MAN) helms Disney’s update on their 1994 animated classic THE LION KING with mixed results. While the story for the most part remains the same, the style of animation has transitioned from cell to computer generated imagery and it’s truly awe-inspiring, arguably the most photo-realistic recreation of live animals cinema has ever seen. There is little doubt that audiences won’t be impressed with the sheer spectacle of THE LION KING’s visual aesthetic (and sound design) however where the film tends to fall over is with its emotional connection to the viewer. Lacking the heart, soul and charm of its predecessor, this update struggles to forge its own identity and instead merely feels like a cosmetic upgrade trading on memories of a beloved classic, in other words a needless retread. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother—and former heir to the throne—has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba’s exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.
From a deep dig into the DC Extended Universe comes an origin story of a superhero that is largely unheard of and the mining pays off. From genre director David F. Sandberg (ANNABELLE: CREATION, LIGHTS OUT) comes a wildly entertaining cross-between Penny Marshall’s BIG and SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, SHAZAM! provides as many big laughs as it does enthralling set-pieces, a real heavy weight in the light-hearted superhero department! We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong). Roadshow’s 4K Ultra-HD/Blu-ray and Blu-ray releases contain 5 Production Featurettes, a whopping 37 minutes worth of Deleted & Extended Scenes, a Gag Reel and a Motion Comic!
JACKALS (DVD Only)
Kevin Greutert (SAW 3D, VISIONS) directs this familiar yet suspenseful home invasion horror meets cultist thriller with enough visual flair and jump-scares to entertain you for its brief eighty-five minute runtime. When their oldest son is brainwashed by a disturbing cult obsessed with violence, a family enlists a cult deprogrammer (Stephen Dorff) to extract him. But as they work on reversing the damage to his mind, the family finds themselves under siege, trapped in a remote vacation home deep in the woods and surrounded by ruthless cultists determined to take back their missing member. A vicious battle unfolds, unleashing a bloodbath in which there will be few survivors. Eagle Entertainment’s DVD release contains no supplementary features.
Grim Pickings is written weekly by Jarret Gahan.