All the Movies Coming to DVD and Blu-Ray in January

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All the Movies Coming to DVD and Blu-Ray in January

The past month has seen a lot of looking back at the best movies of 2017, and several of them are coming to DVD, Blu-ray and 4K this first month of 2018. We’ve highlighted our favorites below, and you can also check out our picks from The Criterion Collection each month.

Jan. 2

battle-sexes.jpgBattle of the Sexes (DVD, Blu-ray)
Year: 2017
Directors: Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton
In most sports films—whether based on true stories or not—we always know who we’re supposed to be rooting for. It’s the person or team that the movie spends most of its time chronicling, whereas the film’s villain is often seen only in passing, at a remove, sometimes presented as a distant specter or looming, unholy menace. For all its feel-good, formulaic biopic tendencies, Battle of the Sexes is notable for rethinking this narrative trope. There’s no question that our hearts are with Billie Jean King, the young, talented tennis champion who agrees to a match with the older, bullying Bobby Riggs. But directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton (Little Miss Sunshine) go out of their way to insist that we get to know each participant and understand what drove both of them to that infamous 1973 showdown. We end up with a Battle that’s complicated by our mixed feelings. Emma Stone plays King, who as the movie opens is the world’s most popular female tennis player. She decides to use that clout to push for slightly more equal pay for the women’s game—she and her cohorts receive a fraction of what the men get, even though they sell out their matches—but Jack Kramer (Bill Pullman), the head of American tennis, refuses to budge. Angered, King and her fellow athletes elect to create their own tour, which will become the Virginia Slims, so that they can be better compensated. King always said she accepted Riggs’s challenge because she wanted to strike a blow for feminism. Filmed at the height of the 2016 presidential election—a race in which misogyny was uncomfortably center-stage—Battle of the Sexes marks one small moment in an ongoing fight for equality. Sadly, that victory has yet to be won. —Tim Grierson

Also out Jan. 2:
American Made
Brad’s Status
The King’s Choice
Love Beats Rhymes
A Question of Faith
Rebel in the Rye
The Stolen

Jan. 9

it-2017-movie-poster copy.jpgIt (DVD, Blu-ray, 4K)
Year: 2017
Director: Andy Muschietti
2017 was the year of blockbuster horror, if ever such a thing has been quantifiable before. Get Out, Annabelle: Creation and even would-be direct-to-video gems such as 47 Meters Down turned sizable profits, but they were just priming the box office pump for It, which shattered nearly every horror movie record imaginable. Perhaps it was the uninspiring summer blockbuster season to thank for an audience starved for something, but just as much credit must go to director Andy Muschietti and, especially, to Pennywise star Bill Skarsgård for taking Stephen King’s famously cumbersome, overstuffed novel and transforming it into something stylish, scary and undeniably entertaining. The collection of perfectly cast kids in the Loser’s Club all have the look of young actors and actresses we’ll be seeing in film for decades to come, but it’s Skarsgård’s hypnotic face, lazy eyes and incessant drool that makes It so difficult to look away from (or forget, for that matter). The inevitable Part 2 will have its hands full in giving a similarly crackling translation to the less popular adult portion of King’s story, but the camaraderie Muschietti gets in his cast and the visual flair of this first It should give us ample reasons to be optimistic. Regardless, it’s impossible to dismiss the pop cultural impact that It will continue to have for a new generation discovering its well-loved characters. —Jim Vorel

Also out Jan. 9:
68 Kill
Bullett Head
The Foreigner
Friend Request
Hollow in the Land
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
My Little Pony: The Movie
November Criminals
So B. It

Jan. 16

blade-runner-2049-movie-poster.jpgBlade Runner 2049 (DVD, Blu-ray, 4k)
Year: 2017
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Blade Runner 2049 is undoubtedly the most gorgeous thing to come out of a major studio in some time. Roger Deakins has inculcated Jordan Cronenweth’s lived-in sense of a future on the brink of obsolescence, leaning into the overpowering unease that permeates the monolithic Los Angeles Ridley Scott built. The scale of the film is only matched by the constant dread of obscurity—illumination shifts endlessly, dust and smog both magnifying and drowning the sense-shattering corporate edifices and hyper-stylized rooms in which humanity retreats from the moribund natural world they’ve created. There is a massive world, a solar system, orbiting this wretched city—so overblown that San Diego is now a literal giant dump for New L.A.’s garbage—but so much of it lies in shadow and opacity, forever out of reach. What Scott and Cronenweth accomplished with the original film, placing a potboiler within a magnificently conceived alternative reality, Villeneuve and Deakins have respected as they prod at its boundaries. There’s no other way to describe what they’ve done other than to offer faint praise: They get it. —Dom Sinacola / Full Review

i-daniel-blake.jpgI, Daniel Blake (DVD, Blu-ray)
Year: 2016
Director: Ken Loach
Ken Loach’s outrage hasn’t been so evident in years. Returning to the modern day (and to form) after Jimmy’s Hall and documentary The Spirit of ’45, Loach uses I, Daniel Blake to train his ire on everything that blights austerity Britain: encroaching privatization of public services, a shrinking jobs market, zero-hours contracts, rising poverty and homelessness, and, above all else, the country’s deliberately overbearingly bureaucratic “benefits system.” Loach sets his 24th feature in a location most Americans will have never even seen on screen: Newcastle upon Tyne, the kind of grey working-class city that UK cinema prefers to forget exists. Through the story of Dave Johns’ Daniel Blake, a 59-year-old carpenter who runs the gauntlet of Britain’s byzantine welfare program when a heart attack takes him out of work, Loach gives a gut-churning impression of what it’s like to suddenly fall through the cracks in a country that’s lost patience with the less fortunate. The film is almost thriller-like, with a ticking-clock scenario wherein Daniel must overturn the government’s decision to deny him a disability check before his meager savings run out and his health further deteriorates. —Brogan Morris

Also out Jan. 16:
Beyond Skyline
Crooked House
Gangster Land
Happy Death Day
Loving Vincent
The Snowman

Jan. 23

sacred-deer-movie-poster.jpgThe Killing of a Sacred Deer
Year: 2017
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
In the uncanny valley of a Yorgos Lanthimos film, characters resemble human beings…but not entirely. In movies such as Dogtooth and The Lobster, the Greek writer-director has become a maestro of the queasy/funny horror-comedy, turning our universal anxieties into psychologically rich satires in which life’s mundane surfaces give way to dark, often bloody realities we don’t want to acknowledge. His movies are funny because they’re so shocking and disturbing because they’re so true. But for them to really soar, their provocations need to be grounded in recognizable behavior, which gives Lanthimos a foundation to then stretch his extreme stories past their breaking point. With his latest, we see what happens when his underlying ideas are not as complex as the intricacies of his execution. The Killing of a Sacred Deer reunites Lanthimos with his Lobster star Colin Farrell, who plays Steven, a cardiologist, who’s married to an ophthalmologist, Anna (Nicole Kidman). They have two children, teen Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and her younger brother Bob (Sunny Suljic). It would be hard to describe their personalities because, in typical Lanthimos fashion, they don’t really have any. Quickly, Sacred Deer introduces us to the fly in this particular ointment. His name is Martin (Barry Keoghan), a moody teen who seems as lobotomized as the other characters. There’s one crucial difference, though: He has befriended Steven for reasons that feel sinister but will only eventually become clear, and he keeps insinuating himself into the man’s world. It wouldn’t be much fun to reveal where Sacred Deer goes from there, but Sacred Deer may be Lanthimos’s most visually and sonically ambitious work—technically, it’s pristine—clever without ever quite deciding precisely what it’s about. —Tim Grierson / Full Review

Also out Jan. 23:
Chasing the Dragon
Earth: One Amazing Day
Goodbye Christopher Robin
Thank You for Your Service

Jan. 30

marston-wonder-women-movie-poster.jpgProfessor Marston and the Wonder Women
Year: 2017
Director: Angela Robinson
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women tells the story of two married psychology professors at Radcliffe College, Bill Marston (Luke Evans) and Elizabeth Marston (Rebecca Hall), a couple who grew up together and are deeply in love but also restless and eager for discovery. While attempting to invent a lie detector test—they eventually create one but never patent it—they meet an eager, beautiful student named Olive (Bella Heathcote) who’s the daughter of a feminist icon and as desperate for knowledge and new experiences as they are. They eventually all fall in love and live together as a menage a trois before their university finds out, fires the couple and forces them to all go live together, now with their children, to find some sort of work. The work turns out, we learn in an unnecessary narrative flash-forward sequence, to serve as the basis of Bill’s increasing interest in comic books, creating a character, based on the two women in his life and based in his feminist ideals, who is strong, smart, truthful, heroic and, well, into bondage. The love story of this family turns out to be the origin story of Wonder Woman herself. This is a fascinating story, particularly as we see little moments in the lives of the Marston clan reflected in the Wonder Woman mythos. (Olive wears metal wristbands all the time, the lasso is like the lie detectors Elizabeth and Bill invent, so on.) But writer-director Angela Robinson makes sure to keep it focused on the emotions involved, which is especially tricky considering all three characters are all so academically oriented—not to mention obsessed with deciphering the human mind and why we make the decisions we do—and are thus constantly questioning their own value systems. We really do believe that these three people love each other, and that they’re all better off together, but Robinson never tries to make this overly prudish and sanitized. The movie isn’t buttoned-up and restrained, but it isn’t brash and in your face either; it’s affably sexy, if such a thing is possible. And it never loses sight of its central premise of equality and acceptance—this movie’s heart is firmly in the right place. —Will Leitch / Full Review

square-ostlund-movie-poster.jpgThe Square
Year: 2017
Director: Ruben Östlund
The Square starts with a hangover and ends with a headache, but don’t feel too bad for the well-meaning fool suffering from them. His ailments are entirely his own damn fault. This is what happens when you try to shoulder the combined weight of the world’s problems by yourself without shrugging: You buckle. In the case of our well-meaning fool, Christian (Claes Bang), that burden is made heavier by hubris, pomp, the kind of commodifiable liberal arrogance that dupes people into thinking they’re helping by responding to mass shootings and natural disasters with hashtags. Christian’s intentions are good—grand even—but he’s just one person. One person can’t wash away humanity’s woes, especially when that person is an inveterate asshole. If you know the movies of Ruben Östlund, though, this won’t come as a surprise: Crummy examples of manliness are his bread and butter. Östlund’s last movie, 2014’s superb Force Majeure, a biting satire of disgraced masculinity, is all about dissecting gender roles and finding sympathy for its protagonist following an act of humiliating cowardice. The Square explores similar thematic pursuits but couches them in an equally biting satire of the art world, and if you’re taking the mickey out of the art world, you’re taking the mickey out of the world at large. Art, after all, is innately political, and The Square has politics in its DNA. —Andy Crump / Full Review

Also out Jan. 30:
Boo 2! A Madea Halloween
Death Race: Beyond Anarchy
God’s Own Country
Last Flag Flying

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