“The Front Runner” and “Nobody’s Fool” are also new to Blu-Ray this week.

I’m a sucker for meta moments. I can’t help myself. At one point in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” director Bryan Singer’s biopic about rock band Queen’s front man Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), the band meets with a producer at EMI records. The producer is Ray Foster, and he is played by a heavily disguised Mike Myers. It’s 1975, and Foster tells the band that their new single, titled “Bohemian Rhapsody,” can never be played on the radio since it’s six minutes long (three minutes is the max for pop radio hits). Foster also tells them that it’s not the kind of song teens in cars will crank up and bang their heads to. I hooted with the laughter the instant he said it, thinking about the classic moment in 1992’s “Wayne’s World,” featuring Myers, where he and his friends are in a car doing exactly that. Too funny.

While that scene is one of the many highlights of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” it also illustrates the issue with it. During the discussion, Foster questions the band’s references and made up words, chiefly “Bizmillah!” Foster doesn’t know what it means, and frankly, neither do I. There’s a moment there where it looks like Mercury will explain it, but he doesn’t. My only conclusion is that the word is indeed nonsense and has no deeper meaning. This is fine—it is what it is--though a bit disappointing.

Read moreBlu-Ray Pick of the Week: Bohemian Rhapsody

"Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” is also new to Blu-Ray this week.

Not only was 2018 a great year for lead roles for women, it could be argued that it was too good. In addition to the five Best Actress Oscar nominees, there are other exceptional, stand out performances that didn’t make the cut. The one for me that stings the most is Toni Collette not getting nominated (I loathe use of the word “snub”—sounds way too entitled) for “Hereditary” in what I consider to be a career best performance. I also consider the performance of Rosamund Pike in her role as fearless war correspondent Marie Colvin in “A Private War” to be her career best—even better than “Gone Girl,” for which she was nominated four years ago.

“A Private War” opens with voice over from an interview with the real-life Marie Colvin playing over a swooping bird’s eye aerial shot of the blown out buildings in Homs, Syria,  in 2012. I use the word “fearless” very purposely in the above paragraph, because Colvin describes a state of being that is exactly that when she is in horrendous life or death situations. As she says: “Fear comes later.”

Read moreBlu-Ray Pick of the Week: A Private War

"The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is also new to Blu-Ray this week.

As a fan of Dario Argento’s strikingly colorful 1977 horror fairy tale “Suspira,” I went into the 2018 remake by Luca Guadagnino with cautious optimism. Guadagnino in interviews has stated that he wanted to create a modern day experience similar to what he experienced when he first saw Argento’s movie. A daunting task indeed. One of the reasons that Argento’s movie has stood the test of time is because it taps into primal fears and has some genuine surprises guaranteed to shock first time viewers, no matter what decade they’re watching it in.

On both of these points, Guadagnino succeeds—some would even say that he succeeds to excess. I think he hit the shock and gore level just right, without going to excesses. That said, there is a fair bit of it as the movie kicks into overdrive for its sixth and final act (as we’re told at the opening, “Suspiria” is told in six acts and an epilogue).

Read moreBlu-Ray Pick of the Week: Suspiria

“The Hate U Give” is also new to Blu-Ray this week.

The engine strains as it’s pushed to its limit. The thin steel shell of a vehicle shakes and buckles under the pressure. Inside, a mortal man tries to remain cool, calm, and collected, monitoring various indicators that ensure him that all is well and he is not going to suddenly die in a fiery heap.

Yes, I am describing what it was like to drive my first car over 50 miles per hour. However, I am also describing the experience of test pilot/engineer/future astronaut and American hero Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) as he pilots the experimental X-15 jet through the various layers of the Earth’s atmosphere in the opening moments of “First Man.” I was luckier than Neil in that I wasn’t 140,000 feet from the ground and didn’t have to worry about “bouncing” off of said atmosphere. For a perspective in how sickeningly high up this is, note that commercial jet liners cruise at an average altitude of 30,000 feet. Neil was up to nearly five times that height.

Read moreBlu-Ray Pick of the Week: First Man
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