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Here’s this week’s Entertainment Fuse’s entry for DISCussion, where we look at the home video releases for the week. The Recommendation of the Week comes from the world of independent cinema, in the form of the release of Fruitvale Station, a movie about the tragic true story of Oscar Grant.
– Lee Daniels’ The Butler (DVD and Blu-ray)
– You’re Next (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Fruitvale Station (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Short Term 12 (DVD and Blu-ray)
– The Spectacular Now (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Riddick (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Carrie (2013) (DVD and Blu-ray)
– 20 Feet from Stardom (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Gasland Part II (DVD)
– Rififi (1955) (Blu-ray)
– Thief (1981) (Blu-ray)
– In the Heat of the Night (1967) (Blu-ray)
– Buffalo ’66 (1998) (Blu-ray)
Fruitvale Station (DVD and Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*
Written and directed by Ryan Coogler
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Kevin Durand, Octavia Spencer
Fruitvale Station was one of the most critically acclaimed and considered one of the important movies of 2013, winning the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance and Best First Film at Cannes.
Fruitvale Station follows Oscar Grant III (Michael B. Jordan, Chronicle), a 22-year-old man during the last day of his life as he resolves to be a better man, son and father before being shot by BART police officers.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 94% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating: 85/100 (excellent)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 8.0/10 (read our review)
DVD Special Features: Fruitvale Station: the story of Oscar Grant; Q&A with cast & filmmakers
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4 stars, Video 4 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 2.5 stars, Replay 4 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.
Independent fare is the name of the game of this week as many critically acclaimed dramas, dramedies and documentaries are being released. Whilst there are three crime movies being re-released onto Blu-ray.
Lee Daniel’s The Butler (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by Lee Daniels
Written by Danny Strong (screenplay), Wil Haygood (article ‘A Butler Well Served by This Election’)
Starring: Forest Whittaker, Oprah Winfrey
Lee Daniels’ The Butler was seen as one of 2013’s early Oscar contenders and be 2013’s answer to The Help. Directed by Lee Daniels of Precious fame, “The Butler” is loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen.
Forest Whitaker stars as Cecil Gaines, an African-American who joins the White House household staff, raising up to the rank of head butler, serving eight American Presidents whilst America goes through the Civil Rights Movement.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler has an ensemble cast, featuring the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Robin Williams, Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 73% (good)
Metacritic Rating: 66/100 (good)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 6.0/10
DVD Special Features: Lee Daniels’ The Butler: an American story; The original Freedom Riders; Deleted scenes; “You and I Ain’t Nothin’ No More” performed by Gladys Knight and Lenny Kravitz; Gag reel
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4 stars, Video 3.5 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 2.5 stars, Replay 3.5 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.
You’re Next (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by Adam Wingard
Written by Simon Barrett
Starring: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, A. J. Bowen, Joe Swanberg
You’re Next is considered one of the best horror movies of 2013, earning a 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes which is excellent for a movie in that genre.
The Davison family reunite to celebrate Aubery (Barbara Crampton) and Paul’s (Rob Moran) wedding anniversary where they are attacked by a gang of mysterious killers. But one of the Davison’s guests may be one of the best killers of them all.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 74% (good)
Metacritic Rating: 66/100 (good)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 7.5/10
DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; “No ordinary home invasion: the making of You’re Next” featurette; Audio commentary with director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett; Audio commentary with director Adam Wingard, writer Simon Barrett and actors Sharni Vinson and Barbara Crampton; Theatrical trailer
Short Term 12 (DVD and Blu-ray)
Written and directed by Destin Cretton
Starring: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, Keith Stanfield
Short Term 12 is a critically acclaimed drama by Destin Cretton, based on his short film of the same name. Premiering at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival, winning both the Grand Jury Narrative Feature Award and the Narrative Audience Award.
Grace (Brie Larson, 21 Jump Street) is a counselor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers. She is passionate about her job and in love with her boyfriend, Mason (John Gallagher, The Newsroom). But her relationship is tested due to her own past, her fierce independence and a distraught new girl at the facility.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 99% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating: 82/100 (very good)
DVD Special Features: OVER 60 MINUTES OF BONUS FEATURES INCLUDE: Deleted Scenes; Behind-the-Scenes Featurette; Making the Music Featurette; Cast and Crew Screening Featuring The Shivers; SHORT TERM 12: The Original Short Film; Trailers, Teasers and Outreach Partners
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4.5 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 5 stars, Extras 3.5 stars, Replay 5 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.
The Spectacular Now (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by James Ponsoldt
Written by Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber (screenplay), Tim Tharp (novel)
Starring: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kyle Chandler
Another movie from the American independent scene is The Spectacular Now. Based on a novel by Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now follows Sutter Keely (Miles Teller, 21 & Over), a philosophizing, aimless high school senior whose life changes when he meets the not so typical nice girl Aimee (Shailene Woodley, The Descendants).
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes: 92% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating: 82/100 (very good)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 7.0/10
DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; Deleted scenes; “Then To Now: making The Spectacular Now”; 4-part featurette: ; “Inception” – defying hollywood; “Cast” – finding the voice; “Aesthetic” – authenticity counts; “Real” – bringing it all to life; Audio commentary with director James Ponsoldt
Riddick (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by David Twohy
Written by David Twohy (screenplay), Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat (characters)
Starring: Vin Diesel, Jordi Mollà, Matt Nable, Katee Sackhoff, Dave Batista, Bokeem Woodbine, Raoul Trujillo, Karl Urban
As well as the “Fast and Furious” series, the other franchise in Vin Diesel’s arsenal is “Riddick” series. This second sequel sees Riddick (Vin Diesel) left for dead on a sun-scorched, lifeless planet. But soon Riddick has battles mercenaries who are after a bounty on his head and a even worst threat of a predatory alien.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 59% (average)
Metacritic Rating: 49/100 (average)
DVD Special Features: Vin’s Riddick; Meet the mercs; Riddick: blindsided
Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Unrated director’s cut The world of Riddick Riddickian tech The twohy touch
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 2.5 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 5 stars, Extras 2 stars, Replay 1 stars (out of 5). Recommended.
Carrie (2013) (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by Kimberly Peirce
Written by Lawrence D. Cohen, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (screenplay), Stephen King (novel)
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday, Alex Russell, Gabriella Wilde, Juilanne Moore
Carrie was Stephen King’s first novel and was successfully adapted by Brian de Palma in 1976. Kimberly Peirce of Boys Don’t Cry fame took on this new adaptation, based on a screenplay by comic book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.
Chloë Grace Moretz stars as Carrie White, a shy, bullied girl with a abusive religious mother, Margaret (Julianne Moore). When Carrie has a first period at school she soon develops telekinetic powers. After her humiliation, one girl Sue (Gabriella Wilde, The Three Musketeers, 2011) tries to make amends to Carrie by getting her popular boyfriend, Tommy (Ansel Elgort) to take the shy girl to the prom. But school bully Christ (Portia Doubleday, Youth in Revolt) wants revenge against Carrie.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 49% (average)
Metacritic Rating: 53/100 (average)
DVD Special Features: Closed Caption; Creating Carrie; Telekinetic coffee shop surprise
Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Alternate ending not shown in theaters; Deleted/alternate scenes; The power of telekenesis; Commentary by director Kimberly Peirce
20 Feet from Stardom (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by Morgan Neville
Starring: Darlene Love, Judith Hill, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Táta Vega, Jo Lawry
20 Feet from Stardom is a documentary that looks at the lives of back-up singer being some of music greatest acts.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 99% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating: 83/100 (very good)
DVD Special Features: Deleted scenes; Short film: The Buddy System; Q&A with Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer & director Morgan Neville
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4.5 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 5 stars, Extras 3 stars, Replay 4.5 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.
Gasland Part II (DVD)
Directed by Josh Fox
Gasland Part II is the documentary sequel to critically acclaimed 2010 documentary Gasland, focusing on the environmental damage the gas drilling process of fracking causes.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (excellent)
DVD Special Features: Deleted Scenes; Interviews
Amazon Price: $25.46 (DVD)
Directed by Jules Dassin
Written by Auguste le Breton, Jules Dassin, René Wheeler
Starring: Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel, Jules Dassin, Janine Darcey, Magali Noël
The French crime movie Rififi is one of two movies to be re-released by the Criterion Collection. Rififi is considered one of the best movie in the film noir genre as the movie focuses on a group of retired criminal attempt one last big score in Paris.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes: 93% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating: 97/100 (excellent)
DVD Special Features: New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; Interview with director Jules Dassin from 2000; Set design drawings by art director Alexandre Trauner; Production stills; Trailer; Optional English-dubbed soundtrack; One Blu-ray and one DVD, with all content available in both formats; PLUS: a booklet featuring an essay by critic J. Hoberman
Amazon Price: $35.96 (Blu-ray)
Thief (1981) (Blu-ray)
Directed by Michael Mann
Written by Michael Mann (screenplay), Frank Hohimer (novel ‘The Home Invaders’)
Starring: James Caan, Tuesday Weld, Robert Prosky, Willie Nelson
The other movie being re-released from the Criterion Collection is the crime flick Thief. Based on a novel by Frank Hohimer, Thief was Michael Mann’s directional debut as it follows Frank (James Caan), a safecracker who is asked to do one last job for the Mafia before he plans to retire.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 95% (excellent)
DVD Special Features: New digital restoration from a 4K film transfer of the director’s cut, approved by director Michael Mann, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD master audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray; Audio commentary featuring Mann and actor James Caan; New interviews with Mann, Caan, and Johannes Schmoelling of the band Tangerine Dream, which contributed the film’s soundtrack; Trailer; One Blu-ray and one DVD, with all content available in both formats; Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by critic Nick James
Amazon Price: $24.99 (Blu-ray)
In the Heat of the Night (1967) (Blu-ray)
Directed by Norman Jewison
Written by Stirling Silliphant (screenplay), John Ball (novel)
Starring: Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant
The detective mystery movie In the Heat of the Night was an Oscar winning movie, winning five awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor. Sidney Poitier stars as Virgil Tibbs, a African-American police detective who is asked to investigate a murder in a racially divided town in the Deep South.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 93% (excellent)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 8.0/10
Amazon Price: $13.39 (Blu-ray)
Directed by Vincent Gallo
Written by Vincent Gallo, Alison Bagnall
Starring: Vincent Gallo, Christina Ricci, Ben Gazzara, Mickey Rourke, Rosanna Arquette,
Before Vincent Gallo made the notorious The Brown Bunny he was seen as the darling of the American indie scene with his directional debut Buffalo 66 which he also starred in and co-wrote. Gallo stars as Billy, a man just released from prison who kidnaps a teenager girl and gets her to pretend to be his girlfriend so he can impress his parents.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes: 78% (very good)
Metacritic Rating: 68/100 (good)
Amazon Price: $12.08 (Blu-ray)