Luckily, during those dog days of summer when it’s too hot to go outside you can stay inside and enjoy some of the new releases on DVD/Blu-ray or a variety of channels for streaming or download. Here’s a small sampling to get you started for movies on DVD summer 2018.
A fitting movie for the dog days of summer is the quirky but entrancing “Isle of Dogs” by visionary director Wes Anderson, who returned to the intimate world of stop-action animation for his latest movie. After an outbreak of canine flu, the mayor of Megasaki, Japan, exiles all dogs to a barren island. His nephew Atari rescues the family dog and the brave duo lead a rebellion against the mayor and his corrupt cronies.
Fans of the Marvel Avengers series can now freeze-frame “Avengers: Infinity War” and search for clues for the next installation in the saga (still unnamed, but slated for release in April).
On a lighter note, there’s “Deadpool 2.” Ryan Reynolds stars as the foul-mouthed superhero in tight red spandex. The movie features the first explicitly LGBT characters in the Marvel cinematic universe: the mutant Negasonic Teenage Warhead (played by out actor Brianna Hildebrand) and her mutant girlfriend Yukio (Shioli Kutsana). Reynolds has confirmed that his character is pansexual but is currently committed to his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin).
There’s also the campy “Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel” which stars co-writer/co-director Vincent J. Roth as Surge, cinema’s first out gay superhero. Surge heads to Las Vegas in his robotic Surgemobile to battle his nemesis Metal Master and the mysterious Augur (a delightful Eric Roberts). There are great cameos from such minor Hollywood luminaries such as Gil Gerard, Bruce Vilanch, Linda Blair, Nichelle Nichols, Lou Ferrigno, Walter Koenig and Richard Hatch. Identifying them could make a great drinking game.
Set in an Orthodox Jewish enclave in London, “Disobedience” stars Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams as childhood lovers who are reunited as adults. Directed by Sebastián Leilo (“A Fantastic Woman”), the movie also stars Alessandro Nivola as their childhood friend.
The popular “Love, Simon” was the first Hollywood rom-com to feature gay teens. Nick Robinson (“Jurassic World”) is charming as the closeted student who is trying to track down the real identity of his virtual boyfriend. Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel are terrific as Simon’s sympathetic parents and Natasha Rothwell nearly steals the show as Simon’s fiercely supportive drama teacher who is directing a lackluster high school production of “Cabaret.”
Traditional gender roles are challenged in two new home releases. In “A Kid Like Jake,” Alex and Jake Wheeler (Claire Danes and Jim Parsons) are forced to reevaluate their roles as parents and spouses when their 4-year old son’s teacher (Octavia Spencer) points out that Jake likes to engage in “gender-expansive” play. In the fascinating “Every Day,” 16-year old Rhiannon (an excellent Angourie Rice) falls in love with “A,” a mysterious entity who inhabits a different body every day.
On a much darker note, recent DVD releases include Toni Collette in “Hereditary.” She plays artist Annie Graham, whose family is threatened by sinister family secrets which come to light following the death of her creepy mother. Although the movie received mixed reviews from critics and audiences, Collette’s intense performance received universal praise.
Sinister extra-terrestrials are the threat in the joyously delirious “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” the latest offering from John Cameron Mitchell (”Shortbus” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”). Based on a short story by Neil Gaiman, the movie stars newcomer Alex Sharp as Enn, a London lad who discovers there is something unusual about his new girlfriend Zan (Elle Fanning) and her friends. Nicole Kidman offers a wild performance as Queen Boadicea, a punk promoter who helps defeat the hungry aliens.
Now streaming on Amazon, the new documentary “Gay Hollywood Dad” tracks the first six weeks in the life of Casper Lee, whose father is openly gay independent filmmaker Quentin Lee. The movie opens as Quentin cuts his son’s umbilical cord in a hospital in Ohio and tracks the pair as Quentin balances the demands of being a single father with his responsibilities as a working artist.
The naughty novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” becomes the catalyst for personal change in “Book Club,” a romantic comedy starring noted LGBT icons and allies Candice Bergen (“Murphy Brown”), Mary Steenburgen, Jane Fonda (“Grace and Frankie”) and Diane Keaton and features Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Craig T. Nelson and Richard Dreyfuss as the men in their lives. (Coincidentally, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has recently been released as a DVD box set.)
Other releases of note include the wildly popular documentary “RBG” about Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ava DuVernay’s bold adaptation of the classic “A Wrinkle in Time,” the nearly silent thriller “A Quiet Place,” and Tully, featuring a bravura performance by Charlize Theron.