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Welcome to a new week of DISCussion! A new week means new releases and some re-releases! We have some solid offerings this week and it was a close race, coming down to two 3-disc sets. One of lofty, contemporary ideas driven by tremendous heart, the other with a more unique mix of conventions, driven by the richness of characters. When the smoke cleared up here, we were left with the André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films Blu-ray Criterion Collection as our pick of the week.
The Lazarus Effect
Run All Night
Beyond the Reach
Blomkamp3 Limited Edition Collection (District 9, Elysium, Chappie)
A Master Builder (2014)
An Eye for an Eye (1981)
Andre Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films
André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films – (DVD/Blu-ray) *Recommendation of the Week*
Directed by Louis Malle (My Dinner with André – 1981, Vanya on 42nd Street – 1994)
Directed by Jonathan Demme (A Master Builder – 2014)
When actors work on a project once, it can sometimes be a rare occasion to work on successive projects given the nature of the business of making movies. Actors do not always get to work with their friends. Consider some of the pairings of actors that have great chemistry and a genuine camaraderie that permeates the screen, allowing us to feel as if we’re in on this special, layered dynamic. Walter Mathau and Jack Lemmon. Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. We add another couple to the list: André Gregory and Wallace Shawn.
Critics Ratings (Rotten Tomatoes): 90% (excellent), 88% (excellent), 81% (excellent)
IMDB: 7.7/10 (very good)-7.4/10 (very good)-5.8/10 (average)
Chappie (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja, Yolandi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman
Neil Blomkamp’s third sci-fi offering touches on big questions of the meaning of life and what it means to be human. When Chappie (Sharlto Copley) develops the ability to feel and think for himself, mankind begins to see him as a threat and will relentlessly peruse him until Chappie is destroyed.
Critics Ratings (Rotten Tomatoes): 31% (poor)
Metacritic: 41% (poor)
IMDB: 7/10 (good)
Entertainment Fuse: 7.5/10 (Read our review)
The Lazarus Effect (DVD, Blu-ray and Instant)
Directed by David Gelb
Written by Luke Dawson and Jeremy Slater
Starring: Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Donald Glover, Evan Peters, Sara Bolger
A group of young medical students have discovered a way to being their dead patients back to life. In an attempt to recreate this experiment and bring back his dead fianceé, a man will unwittingly pay a terrible cost to have his wife back.
Critics Ratings (Rotten Tomatoes): 13% (very bad)
Metacritic: 31% (poor)
IMDB: 5.2/10 (poor)
Entertainment Fuse: 5.0/10 (Read our review)
Run All Night (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Written by Brad Ingelsby
Starring: Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Common, Ed Harris
An aging hitman (Liam Neeson) is tortured by the sins of his past. When his estranged son unwittingly becomes the target of a hit, he must do whatever it takes to make sure his son is safe. Unfortunately this puts him the dangerous crosshairs of his friend and former mob boss (Ed Harris). He and his son will have to trust each other if they are to survive the night.
Critics Ratings (Rotten Tomatoes): 61% (good)
Metacritic: 59% (average)
IMDB: 6.7/10 (decent)
Entertainment Fuse: 7.0/10 (Read our review here)
Unfinished Business (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by Ken Scott
Written by Steven Conrad
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, Sienna Miller, Nick Frost, James Marsden
A struggling small business owner (Vince Vaughn) and his associates engage in a last ditch Hail Mary effort traveling to Europe to seal the deal of their careers after losing it to a competitor. However, this is no ordinary business trip, as hi-jinx of the most unusual kind ensue.
Critics Ratings (Rotten Tomatoes): 11% (very bad)
Metacritic: 32% (poor)
IMDB: 5.3/10 (poor)
Beyond the Reach (DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by Jean-Baptiste Léonetti
Written by Stephen Susco (based on the 1972 novel Deathwatch)
Starring: Michael Douglas, Jeremy Irvine, Ronny Cox, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence
In this adventure thriller, a hunting accident involving a corporate shark and his young guide quickly becomes a deadly game of cat and mouse. Who will be the last man standing?
Critics Ratings (Rotten Tomatoes): 34% (poor)
Metacritic: 33% (poor)
IMDB: 5.5/10 (poor)
Blomkamp3 Limited Edition Collection (District 9, Elysium, Chappie) (Blu-ray)
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Matt Damon, Sigourney Weaver, Hugh Jackman
Neill Blomkamp burst onto the scene rather surprisingly with the 2009 sleeper-hit District 9, a heady science fiction piece that dealt with themes of xenophobia, social segregation and what it means to be a human. Moving with the great Peter Jackson’s blessing, one had to see what this film would be about. Once the dust settled from District 9, we all eagerly awaited either a sequel or his next project, which would be Elysium. While commercially successfully, many considered it not to be as strong as his first-feature. Then came Chappie, the sort of spiritual sequel to District 9. Regardless of your opinions of Blomkamp’s oeuvre, there is no denying the man has the ability to capitalize on his ideas. Fan’s of his universe will appreciate this set.
Critics Ratings (Rotten Tomatoes): 90% (excellent), 68% (good), 31% (poor)
Metacritic: 81% (very good), 61% (good), 41% (poor)
IMDB: 8.0 (very good), 6.7 (average), 7.0 (good)
A Master Builder (2014) – (Criterion Edition DVD and Blu-ray)
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Written by Henrik Ibsen and Wallace Shawn (based on the play A Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen)
Starring: Wallace Shawn, Julie Hagerty, André Gregory
A young woman tries to convince a gravely ill and well-renowned architect (Wallace Shawn) that he once seduced her a decade before, but he has absolutely no recollection of any previous encounter with her.
Critics Ratings (Rotten Tomatoes): 81% (very good)
Metacritic: 67% (good)
IMDB: 5.7/10 (average)
Special Features: High-definition digital master, supervised by director of photography Declan Quinn, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray; New interview with director Jonathan Demme, stage director-actor André Gregory, and writer-actor Wallace Shawn, conducted by film critic David Edelstein; New conversation between actors Julie Hagerty and Lisa Joyce; New program featuring Gregory, Shawn, and their friend the author Fran Lebowitz in conversation Trailer; PLUS: An essay by film critic Micahel Stragow
An Eye for an Eye (1981) (Blu-ray)
Directed by Steve Carver
Written by James Bruner and William Gray
Starring: Chuck Norris, Christopher Lee, Richard Roundtree, Matt Clark, Mako Iwamatsu, Maggie Cooper
The great Chuck Norris stars as Sean Kane, a San Francisco narcotics cop who is forced to step down from his post after losing his composure following the murder of his partner. He decides to go rouge and before long, unexpectedly follows the bad guys to some very serious places. Though, this is Chuck Norris. We’re not worried.
IMDB: 5.4/10 (mediocre)