Howdy and welcome to installment #2 of DVDevelopments, where I look at what’s new to physical and streaming home media in January and give you the best options. This month’s packed, so let’s get to it.
BATMAN VS. THE JOKER
The big dog in January is likely to be the controversial but mega-popular Joker (January 7), whose star Joaquin Phoenix has had Oscar buzz attached to him for months. In the creative synchronicity department, someone at A24 had the amusing idea of releasing their indie thriller The Lighthouse on the same day; the movie co-stars Robert Pattinson, who will soon be the next screen Batman. Fun double feature here, no?
Other comics-related discs this month: Krypton: The Complete Series (January 14); The Addams Family (January 21).
One of the giants on the world stage of film is Pedro Almodóvar. The one-time enfant terrible of post-Franco Spain (I guess that would be niño terrible?) is now 70, and his latest, Pain and Glory starring his old friend Antonio Banderas, hits stores January 21. That’s one of two foreign-language films you’ll likely hear a lot about as the Oscars approach; the other is Bong Joon-ho’s wildly acclaimed Parasite, which comes out on disc a week later. When Oscar nominations are announced on January 13th, you’ll be able to see two probable nominees for yourself.
Way back there in 2001, Kevin Smith swore up and down that his popular characters Jay and Silent Bob (played by Jason Mewes and himself) would be retired after Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. It didn’t stick (the duo were back just five years later in Clerks II, and have never really gone away since. Now Smith comes to the table with Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, which he describes in relation to the 2001 film as “literally the same [expletive] movie all over again.” It lands on January 21. Jay and Silent Bob will never die.
UPHOLDING THE LAWLESS
Between her Xena residuals and being married to one of the more successful producers (Rob Tapert), Lucy Lawless is probably set for life. But she hasn’t slowed down much, and her latest project is an Aussie mystery series, My Life Is Murder, in which she plays a private eye described as “not your average cop.” What that means, you’ll find out on January 27, when the show’s first ten episodes hit DVD.
Other notable TV in January: Big Little Lies season 2 (Jan. 7), Veep season 7 (Jan. 20), Ballers season 5 (Jan. 27).
A couple of releases this month are goodies I personally can vouch for. Chained for Life (January 7) tells the story of a not-quite-romance that develops between an insecure actress (Jess Weixler) and a disabled man (Adam Pearson) working on a movie. It’s one of the rare non-pitying takes on disability. On the same day, there’s Paradise Hills, a feminist piece of eye candy starring Emma Roberts as a young woman sent to a lush island for troublesome girls. Both are worth your time, and Paradise Hills is doubly shiny on Blu-ray (the Millicent Library will stock it).
DREAM A LITTLE STREAM
January is traditionally a slow month, but new stuff continues to pop up on the various streaming services. For instance, HBO will offer a series based on Stephen King’s novel The Outsider on January 12, as well as the sci-fi/comedy show Avenue 5, starring Hugh Laurie, on the 19th; Curb Your Enthusiasm fans will embrace the show’s return on January 19 for its first new episodes in over two years. (It’s not the longest time spent between seasons, though — six years passed between seasons 8 and 9.) Netflix welcomes back Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on January 24 and introduces A.J. and the Queen, starring RuPaul, on the 10th. Hulu drops season 2 of Shrill, based on the memoir by Lindy West, on January 24.
Is February the new Halloween? Find out why I ask in the next column, which will be heavy on horror movies but also previewing fun stuff like The Oscar and Fleabag. Until then, stay warm.
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