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June '24 Digital Week II

In-Theater Release of the Week
Israeli writer-director Savi Gabizon remade his own touchingly offbeat 2017 feature, setting it in Canada and starring Richard Gere as a hotshot NYC executive who, after discovering he fathered a child with a long-ago ex two decades earlier, tries to make amends for being ignorant of his son’s existence.
Virtually nothing about this character study is plausible or rendered sympathetically—except for Gere, who gives a persuasively mournful performance under the circumstances—and several other good performers are wasted, particularly poor Diane Kruger, who has little to do as the teacher his son was infatuated with and who disappears midway through. The rest is taken up with narrative twists of tortured dramatic irony that fail miserably. 
4K/UHD Release of the Week
Godzilla + Kong—A New Empire 
(Warner Bros)
The latest chapter of this monsterverse mashup finds Kong finding more of his own species in the Hollow Earth as Godzilla irradiates himself to prepare for an upcoming battle royale—while Dr. Andrews (Rebecca Hall) and her adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle) go on an expedition to Hollow Earth where they discover a tribe of Iwi (it was thought that Jia was the last member of the tribe).
Director Adam Wingard has the sense to let the creatures take over (much of the dialogue is embarrassingly self-conscious or unfunnily glib), and if that means CGI dominating the movie, so be it. Of course, Godzilla curling up and sleeping it off inside the Roman Colosseum is an admittedly memorable image. The film looks pristine if too antiseptic in UHD; extras include several making-of featurettes and Wingard’s commentary.
Streaming Release of the Week 
This six-episode history of the punk band the Sex Pistols according to hyperactive director Danny Boy is an entertainingly relentless attack of loud, careening but at times very funny interactions on the level of Boyle’s earliest films like Shallow Grave and Trainspotting. 
Boyle’s over-the-top attack is appropriate to this material, unlike such abominations as Slumdog Millionaire and The Beach, and the acting follows suit: there are vivid portrayals by Toby Wallace as Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, who’s the focus of the story, and Sydney Chandler as Chrissie Hynde, Jones’ sometime girlfriend who went to found the Pretenders.
Blu-ray Releases of the Week
Creation of the Gods I: Kingdom of Storms 
(Well Go USA)
In Chinese director Wuershan’s alternately engrossing and hokey epic fantasy—the first part of a trilogy based on a 16th-century novel—the gods must intervene after an evil monarch connives with a demon to consolidate unlimited power. To try and save the world, the gods enlist a mere mortal to serve as their brave hero…but will he be up to the task?
The capable actors are secondary to the often enticing visuals, especially watching the massive armies that include horse-mounted soldiers in battle. There’s an impressive Blu-ray transfer; lone extra is a making-of featurette.
Into the Blue 
John Stockwell’s 2005 underwater adventure is as soggy as they come, with a script that does little more than get the supremely attractive cast—led by Paul Walker, Ashley Scott, Josh Brolin and Jessica Alba—into their swimsuits and under the sea for some frolicking.
Of course, villains on land and sharks in the water provide the melodrama, but it’s all inert, glistening bodies notwithstanding. There’s a fine hi-def transfer; extras are Stockwell’s informative commentary, deleted scenes with more Stockwell commentary, a making-of featurette and screen tests.
CD Release of the Week
Debussy—Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien
French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was known for music of great elegance, even in such full-length works as his gorgeous (and only completed) opera, Pelléas et Mélisande, a gossamer work of infinite subtlety.
An anomaly in the composer’s career, Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien is Debussy’s incidental music for Italian author Gabriele D'Annunzio's five-act play, a large-scale score that features an orchestra, a chorus, a narrator, and vocal soloists. It’s loaded with sumptuous music, as this topnotch 2005 recording, led by conductor Sylvain Cambreling and featuring singers Heidi Grant Murphy, Nathalie Stutzmann, and Dagmar Peckova; narrator Dorte Lyssewski; the SWR Symphony Orchestra; and Collegie Vocale Gent chorus, demonstrates.

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