A quick look at what’s new on home video this week:
Roman J. Israel, Esq.
This Denzel Washington-lead legal drama didn’t light a fire under either audiences or critics when it came out a few months ago, though everyone agreed he was predictably solid in the title role and went on to a Best Actor Oscar nomination for it. The campaign didn’t help matters a whole lot, offering a muddled storyline that never seemed to come together. In some cases the character was presented as a crusading savior, in others a self-interested bender of rules. We’ll see if home video offers any opportunities for reevaluation, otherwise this one fell through the cracks.
On the other end of the spectrum, Wonder connected with just about everyone. Some critics dismissed it as bland, overly-emotional treacle but audiences have made it a $131m+ hit, with weekly grosses only falling under $2m when Lionsgate finally started pulling it from theaters. That’s not surprising given that the campaign highlighted the source material the film was based on and sold people on the promise of an uplifting story about being the best you you can be and loving the family you’re given.
Daddy’s Home 2
Last year’s sequel to the 2015 original hit didn’t quite become the same success, but did do over $100m at the box-office despite coming in for a lashing from many cultural fronts. That criticism wasn’t focused on the continued criminal underuse of Linda Cardellini or from how Will Ferrell just doesn’t seem to be trying anymore. No, it was centered around the casting of Mel Gibson as an alpha male comedic figure at a time when we were really getting going with the #MeToo movement. Neither that nor an overtly sexist marketing campaign deterred some people, though.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.