The unexpected summer hit “The Mummy” is on Blu-ray, DVD, digital and various streaming platforms this week.
“The Mummy” (Universal, 2017, PG-13, deleted/extended scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, animated graphic novel). Tom Cruise stars in this in-your-face reboot of the familiar story of an ancient mummy that comes to life and goes on a killing spree. Only here, the mummy is female, and she’s much more aggressive and angry and moves like The Flash, thanks to an overabundance of CGI (which also accounts for various zombies, and for Russell Crowe’s Dr. Jekyll transforming into Mr. Hyde).
Cruise is in heroic “Mission: Impossible” mode, especially in the early air-crash sequence that everyone saw in trailers. Fewer North Americans saw the film itself, and critics hated it, but don’t think it was a bomb. This was a worldwide blockbuster and marked the biggest opening weekend of Cruise’s career. The film also marks the debut of Universal’s Dark Universe franchise, which will eventually bring the Mummy, Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man and other Universal classic monsters together. (Think the Avengers or Justice League with fangs.)
“It Comes at Night” (Lionsgate, 2017, R for violence and language, audio commentary, featurette). Joel Edgerton stars in this horror yarn as the head of a household that is holed up in the woods after an Armageddon caused by a highly contagious virus. An intruder shows up and asks for help for his wife and young son, and at first the family helps, albeit reluctantly. But it isn’t long before fearful paranoia takes over in this familiar but well-structured yarn, which boasts a pervasive sense of dread.
“Citizen Jane: Battle for the City” (Sundance Selects, 2017, not rated/probable PG). This engaging documentary chronicles the David-and-Goliath battle between journalist/activist Jane Jacobs and powerful New York construction king Robert Moses in the early 1960s, as Moses was preparing to raze an area of Lower Manhattan for a highway, which would also destroy Washington Square Park and historic Greenwich Village brownstones.
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” (HBO, 2017, not rated/probable PG-13, featurette). This HBO drama tells the story of the real-life title character, who was diagnosed in the 1950s with cervical cancer, and whose cells, without her knowledge, led to medical breakthroughs in the treatment of the disease. Oprah Winfrey stars as Henrietta Lacks’ daughter, Deborah, who enlists journalist Rebecca Skloot (Rose Byrne) to help her investigate the unauthorized harvesting of her mother’s cancerous cells. With Courtney B. Vance and Leslie Uggams.
“Soul on a String” (Film Movement, 2017, not rated/probable PG-13, in Tibetan with English subtitles, short film: “The Rifle, the Jackal, the Wolf, and the Boy”). A young Tibetan hunter is dispatched on a mission to return a sacred stone to the holy mountain of Buddha, hampered along the way by brothers seeking revenge for their father’s death. This stunningly photographed fable plays out like a thoughtful Western, despite being a bit slow and overlong (nearly 2½ hours).
“The Prison” (Well Go, 2017, not rated/probable R for violence and language, in Korean with English subtitles). A Korean police inspector is involved in a fatal accident and sentenced to hard time at a corrupt prison. There, he joins forces with a criminal kingpin who’s running a criminal enterprise from inside: Thugs break out of prison at night to commit crimes, then return to prison for the perfect alibi — a plot element lifted from the 1960 Peter Sellers comedy “Two Way Stretch,” and also used in the current theatrical film “Logan Lucky.”
“Dead Again in Tombstone” (Universal, 2017; R for violence, sex, nudity, language; deleted shots, audio commentary, featurettes). In this straight-to-video horror-Western mash-up, Satan recruits a notorious outlaw (Danny Trejo) by raising him from the dead, and then charges his reluctant servant with protecting the powerful “Devil’s Book” from a gang of Confederate soldiers led by a crazed colonel (Jake Busey).