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This week’s DISCussion has some hidden gems, but most of all, it has plenty of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Despite the Governor-heavy lineup, we have chosen Blue Ruin as our Recommendation of the Week.
Blue Ruin (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Transcendence (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Heaven Is for Real (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Sabotage (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Cesar Chavez (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Dom Hemingway (Blu-ray and Instant)
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Insomnia (1997) (Criterion blu-ray)
The Essential Jacques Demy (Criterion blu-ray)
The Last Action Hero (1993) (Blu-ray)
Blue Ruin – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) *Recommendation of the Week*
Directed and written by Jeremy Saulnier
Starring: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves
Blue Ruin is a dark and gripping tale of revenge. Macon Blair stars as the solemn and tormented, Dwight, who returns to his hometown to commit murder. As the film continues, Dwight’s story unveils itself, providing more background information on our non-traditional protagonist. Winner of a FIPRESCI prize in Cannes, this visually-heavy drama is one of the best films of the year.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 95% (Excellent)
Metacritic: 77 (Very Good)
IMDB: 7.2 (Very Good)
Special Features: Commentary with director, Jeremy Saulnier and Macon Blair; “Making of Blue Ruin”; Deletes Scenes; Original Camera Test that coveys the film’s mood to attract actors and producers
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 4 stars(out of 5); Video: 4.5 stars; Audio: 4.5 stars; Extras: 2.5 stars; Replay: 4 stars. Highly Recommended.
Transcendence – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Directed by Wally Pfister
Written by Jack Paglen
Starring: Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany
Transcendence stars Johnny Depp as artificial intelligence guru, Dr. Will Caster. Caster’s life aspiration, is to make a super-intelligent being programmed with all available world knowledge, and capable of having the emotions of human beings. Things take a dark turn after Caster’s ambitions make him the target of a successful assassination attempt. Caster is plugged into his machine to “download” his consciousness into the program. Casters Wife, Evelyn (Hall) and friend, Max Waters (Bettany) are horrified to discover the newly cognizant “Caster” may not be everything they expected.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 19% (Superbly Rotten)
Metacritic: 42 (Very Bad)
IMDB: 6.4 (Good)
Entertainment Fuse: 6/10 (Listen to our episode of The Plot Hole)
Special Features: “What is Transcendence?” brief interviews that discuss the narrowing gap between biology and technology; “Wally Pfister: A Singular Vision”; “Guarding the Threat” the ethical and emotional dangers of developing artificial intelligence; “The Promise of A.I.” feature; Three viral videos, It’s Me, Singularity and R.I.F.T.; Theatrical Trailers
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 2.5 stars(out of 5); Video: 3 stars; Audio: 4.5 stars; Extras: 2 stars; Replay: 2 stars. Rent it.
Heaven Is for Real – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Directed by Randall Wallace
Written by Randall Wallace, Chris Parker (screenplay), Todd Burpo (book “Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back”) and Lynn Vincent (book “Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back”)
Starring: Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Thomas Haden Church, Connor Corum
Heaven Is for Real is the story of a small town father, Todd Burpo (Kinnear), who helps spread his young son’s story of the heaven he experienced when he nearly died. Newcomer Connor Corum plays Todd’s son, Colton, whose knowledge of his life before birth, and detailed depictions of heaven, lend credibility to his incredible story.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 46% (Rotten)
Metacritic: 47 (Very Bad)
IMDB: 5.5 (Bad)
Special Features: Deleted Scenes; “Creating Heaven” blu-ray exclusive short on how Special-Effects Supervisor Dan Levitan depicted heaven; “The Making of Heaven Is for Real”; “Colton Goes to Heaven” an interview with the Burpo family about the events leading up to Colton’s visit to heaven.
Sabotage – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Directed by David Ayer
Written by Skip Woods, David Ayer
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Joe Manganiello, Terrance Howard
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as John ‘Breacher’ Wharton, the head of an elite DEA task force. After his team leads a successful raid against an extremely powerful cartel, members of his team start dying. A race against the clock, Breacher and his team must find the saboteur before he completes his mission.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 20% (Very Rotten)
Metacritic: 42 (Very Bad)
IMDB: 5.9 (Okay)
Special Features: Alternate Endings; Deleted Scenes; “Making Sabotage”
Amazon: $22.99 (Blu-ray); $17.99 (DVD); $4.99/$14.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 3 stars(out of 5); Video: 5 stars; Audio: 5 stars; Extras: 2.5 stars; Replay: 2.5 stars. Recommended.
Cesar Chavez – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Directed by Diego Luna
Written by Kier Pearson (screenplay) and Timothy J. Sexton
Starring: Michael Peña, America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson
Cesar Chavez is biopic of the life of the eponymous civil rights activist, played by Micheal Peña. The film depicts his rise to becoming a powerful, peace-seeking leader, and supporter of farmers. The film shows a great deal of his personal life, and his struggle between his duties as a husband and father, and being an influential voice in American civil rights.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 40% (Rotten)
Metacritic: 51 (Okay)
IMDB: 6.1 (Good)
Entertainment Fuse: 7/10
Dom Hemingway – (Blu-ray and Instant)
Directed and written by Richard Shepard
Starring: Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Demian Bichir, Emilia Clarke
Dom Hemingway stars Jude Law as the titular character who is freshly out of his 12 year prison stay. An infamous safe-cracker, Hemingway is out to collect what he is owed from his former boss, Mr. Fontaine (Bichir), for keeping his mouth shut while in prison. Hemingway tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Clarke), and must work with his best friend, Dickie (Grant) to get what he’s owed.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 59% (Rotten)
Metacritic: 55 (Average)
IMDB: 6.2 (Avenge)
The Angriest Man in Brooklyn – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Directed by Phil Alden Robinson
Written By Daniel Taplitz (screenplay), Assi Dayan (based on the film “The 92 Minutes of Mr. Baum” written by)
Starring: Robin Williams, Mila Kunis, Peter Dinklage, James Earl Jones
Robin Williams is the angriest man in Brooklyn. After waiting an unacceptable amount of time at his doctors office, he raises a fit, and his doctor (Kunis) tells him he has a brain aneurysm and has 90 minutes to live. He dashes out of the office on a mission to right all of his wrongs, and make amends with friends and family in the tiny amount of time he has left.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 12% (Superbly Rotten)
Metacritic: 21 (I wasn’t aware Metacritic ratings went this low)
IMDB: 5.3 (Bad)
Insomnia – Criterion (1997) (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg
Written by Nickolaj Frobenius, Erik Skjoldbjærg (screenplay)
Starring: Stellan Skarsgård, Maria Mathiesen, Sverre Anker
A Swedish team of murder investigators are brought in to assist the Norwegian police with the murder of a 15 year old girl. The 24-hour daylight takes its toll on the detectives’ minds, ultimately leading to Detective Jonas Engström (Skarsgård), accidentally shooting his partner. After careful considerations are taken to cover up his accidental murder, Engström finds that the killer he has been working to catch, knows his secret. The two engage in a thrilling game of cat and mouse; each desperate to expose the other.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 97% (Excellent)
IMDB: 7.4 (Very Good)
Special Features: 4K digital restoration with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray; Conversation between director Erik Skjoldbjærg and actor Stellan Skarsgård; Two short films by Skjoldbjærg: Near Winter (1993) and Close to Home (1994); Trailer; A booklet featuring an essay by critic Jonathan Romney
Amazon: $33.96 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 4.5 stars(out of 5); Video: 5 stars; Audio: 4 stars; Extras: 2.5 stars; Replay: 4 stars. Highly Recommended.
The Essential Jacques Demy – Criterion (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Box Set)
Directed by Jacques Demy
Featuring: Lola; Bay of Angels; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; The Young Girls of Rochefort; Donkey Skin; and Une Chambre en Ville
Jacques Demy is known for his colorful and fantastically-vivid cinematic “worlds”. One of the more fanciful French New Wave directors, Demy was unconcerned with political subversion or formal experimentation. Demy instead created genre-subverting masterpieces like his famous musical, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Full of richly dense colors and whimsical musical numbers, Demy’s films are beautiful and fun to watch.
Special Features: 2K digital restorations of all six films with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays of Lola and Bay of Angels and 5.1 or 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on the Blu-rays of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The Young Girls of Rochefort, Donkey Skin, and Une chambre en ville; Two documentaries by filmmaker Agnès Varda: The World of Jacques Demy (1995) and The Young Girls Turn 25 (1993); Four short films by director Jacques Demy: Les horizons morts (1951), Le sabotier du Val de Loire (1956), Ars (1959), and La luxure (1962); Jacques Demy, A to Z, a new visual essay by critic James Quandt; Archival interviews with Demy, composer Michel Legrand, and actors Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve, Jean Marais, and Jacques Perrin; Once Upon a Time . . . “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” a 2008 documentary; Episode from Behind the Screen, a 1966 series about the making of Young Girls; “Donkey Skin” Illustrated, a 2008 program on the many versions of Charles Perrault’s fairy tale; “Donkey Skin” and the Thinkers, a 2008 program featuring critic Camille Tabouley; New conversation between Demy biographer Jean-Pierre Berthomé and costume designer Jacqueline Moreau; New interviews with journalist Marie Colmant and film scholar Rodney Hill; Archival audio Q&A with Demy; Archival audio interviews with Legrand and Deneuve; Interview with actor Anouk Aimée from 2012, conducted by Varda; Interview with Varda from 2012 on the origin of Lola’s song; Restoration demonstrations for Lola, Bay of Angels, Umbrellas, and Une chambre; PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by critics Ginette Vincendeau, Terrence Rafferty, Jim Ridley, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Anne E. Duggan, and Geoff Andrew, and a postscript by Berthomé
Last Action Hero – (1993) (Blu-ray)
Directed by John McTiernan
Written by Zak Penn (story), Adam Leff (story), Shane Black (screenplay) and David Arnott (screenplay)
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, F. Murray Abraham, Austin O’Brien
Danny Madigan (O’Brien) is a huge fan of action movies; his all-time favorites feature super star, Jack Slater (Schwarzenegger). When his projectionist friend gives him a magical ticket to the newest action movie, Danny is transported into the cinematic universe of Jack Slater. The villain of the movie gets his hands on Danny’s magic ticket and travels to the real world where he plots to kill the real-life Schwarzenegger. Slater and Danny must travel back to stop him before he completes his dastardly errand.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 38% (Very Rotten)
Metacritic: 42 (Very Bad)
IMDB: 6.1 (Okay)
Entertainment Fuse: 5/10
Amazon: $9.98 (Blu-ray)
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 4 stars(out of 5); Video: 3 stars; Audio: 3.5 stars; Extras: 0 stars; Replay: 4 stars. Recommended.