On DVD & Blu-Ray: July 9, 2019

As with 2017's IT, this year's adaptation of Stephen King's 1983 novel is an update of an earlier adaptation that has a loyal fan base born of the generation in which King also penned these horror stories. Is this to say those original, filmed adaptations were more in tune with King's stories than today's updates? I couldn't say specifically in regards to IT or Pet Sematary as I haven't had the nerve to open either of those books, but while 1989's Pet Sematary and 1990's IT miniseries undoubtedly share a certain kindred spirit with King’s novels these current re-imaginings operate on a grander scale of sorts-idolizing the source material in a way that translates these stories in more epic terms to the screen. King’s emotionally-driven, character-based work tends to use the horror genre more as a mask for saying what he wants to say which would seem to account for why King’s work has always operated in being more vividly unsettling than straight up scary, but the themes of Pet Sematary are really dark...even for King. Though I have no personal connection or nostalgic ties to either King’s original novel or the original 1989 movie adaptation I tend to be intrigued if not by the premises of King’s works, but for the emotional investment they are able to create through this aforementioned character work. This is why IT ultimately worked so well two years ago for despite having a terrifying clown at the center it was the group of kids and their personal stories as well as the dynamics between them that allowed the movie to work and to be about things besides Pennywise. In directing duo Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer’s new take on King’s material, there is certainly no fear of going as far as is necessary to evoke the grief that comes along with dealing in loss and more specifically-the loss of a child. Kölsch and Widmyer undoubtedly create a sense of dread from the beginning playing the titular location in a way King would be proud as this sense of dread is not only represented in the literal manifestation of this burial ground, but of the reach it has into the lives of those that both live near and/or meddle in it. An interesting concept and fitting approach, no doubt, but while the emotions are as raw as the aesthetic approach it is a lack of connection to these character’s-especially Jason Clarke’s withdrawn nature despite his character’s actions-that give Pet Sematary a strong sense of purpose if not the lasting, devastating impact it seems pre-disposed to possess. Video review here. C+

I've watched about half of writer/director Claire Denis' English language debut, High Life, starring Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, André Benjamin, and Mia Goth and am curious to finish it as soon as I can given the glowing reviews and my rather lukewarm reaction to the first forty or so minutes, but maybe the second half takes a turn for the more engaging and relies less on the meandering contemplation of its set-up. The film takes place beyond the solar system as it follows a group of criminals who accepted a mission in space to become the subjects of a human reproduction experiment. They find themselves in the most unimaginable situation after a storm of cosmic rays hit the ship.

Regina Hall, Issa Rae, and Marsai Martin star in this update on the classic 1988 Tom Hanks comedy now titled Little as Hall's Jordan Sanders transforms into her younger self at a point in her life when the pressures of adulthood become too much to bear. This one didn't get great reviews out of the gate and while I wasn't really sold on Taraji P. Henson's update in What Women Want earlier this year, but I'm a big fan of Hall and curious what this reconfiguration of Big might look like.

Based on Anna Todd's novel, AFTER follows Tessa (Josephne Langford), a dedicated student, dutiful daughter and loyal girlfriend to her high school sweetheart, as she enters her first semester in college. Armed with grand ambitions for her future, her guarded world opens up when she meets the dark and mysterious Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin), a magnetic, brooding rebel who makes her question all she thought she knew about herself and what she wants out of life.

Writer/director Wayne Roberts has directed two films in three years each of which feature incredibly star-studded casts and yet I've never heard of either of them until today. The latter of which, The Professor, starring none other than island-owning Johnny Depp, drops on Blu-Ray today after what seems to have been an inauspicious VOD release early in May. In Roberts' film, Depp plays a college professor who lives life with reckless abandon after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Your guess is as good as mine as to the quality of this thing, but the trailer makes it look like a Hallmark film that's trying to be edgy if not completely devoid of charms.

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