New DVD and Blu-ray releases for May 3, 2016
(KUTV) This week sees a handful of choice releases along side an interesting selection of catalog titles.
Director David O. Russell reunites with Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper for "Joy," a based-on-true-events film about a woman who rises from nothing to command a business empire. It's not nearly as good as "Silver Linings Playbook" or "American Hustle," but it is an enjoyable film with fine performances.
"The 5th Wave" may not have set the box office on fire, but it was able to make $108 million against a $38 million budget. J Blakeson's film wants to be more realistic than the other dystopian films as its action takes place in a world very similar to our own. Unfortunately the script reduces the narrative into a sci-fi soap opera that feels too juvenile to really be taken seriously. I wanted a whole lot more from a film that features Chloe Grace Moretz and Maika Monroe
Benjamin Walker and Teresa Palmer star in "The Choice," the latest Nicholas Sparks novel to be adapted into a movie. The film has the distinction of being the least profitable Sparks adaptation yet with domestic numbers bottoming out at $18.7 million. I love Palmer, but between this and the equally abysmal "Point Break" one has to wonder what is guiding her film decisions as of late. This one is for only the die-hard Sparks fans.
Chinese blockbuster "Mojin: The Lost Legend" is a little more goofy than I'd like, but the high production values and fairly interesting story are nearly enough to overcome the comedic pitfalls. Carved from the same adventure tropes as "The Mummy" and "Indian Jones" franchises "Mojin: the Lost Legend" is a fun film, even if the script feels like it exists to service the CGI and action sequences when it should be the other way around.
"Emelie" finds the generally pleasant Sarah Bolger playing psychotic babysitter in the effective, but rather derivative, horror thriller. Bolger offers a solid performance and director Michael Thelin squeezes out as much tension as he can from Rich Herbeck's simplistic script.
Elsewhere is Christopher Plummer stars in "Remember" a film about an Auschwitz survivor with dementia that is trying to track down the man responsible for his family's death. The film doesn't quite live up to its potential, but Plummer is always a joy to see on the screen.
We also have the second season of "The Last Ship." Based on William Brinkley's novel, "The Last Ship" is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the crew of U.S. Navy warship desperately searches for a cure to the pandemic that killed 80% of mankind. In a world overrun with post-apocalyptic stories this one manages to be interesting and different enough to keep my attention.
Moving on to catalog titles we have the stand-alone release of the Criterion Collection's "Easy Rider." Previously included in the excellent box set "America Lost and Found: The BBS Story." "Easy Rider" stars Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson in the road-trip film that captures the rebellious counter culture of the late 1960s.
Based on Ira Levin's celebrated novel, 1956's "A Kiss Before Dying" is a classic noir film (though shot in color) with fine performances and wonderful sense of suspense. Those only familiar with the 1991 remake will certainly be surprised by how effective the story is. Likewise, those who are familiar with this version might be shocked to see the story handled so poorly in the remake.
We're getting a new "20th Anniversary Edition" of "Independence Day" (including a 4K Blu-ray version) to celebrate the release of the film's upcoming sequel. I was living overseas when the first film was released and welcomed warmly as "that film where we watch America get blown up." Oddly enough Americans seemed to get a kick out of watching our landmarks explode as well.
We're also getting a "30th Anniversary Edition" of "Top Gun" that comes in a SteelBook case along with the bonus features that were included on the "25th Anniversary Edition" release. It doesn't include the 3D version of the film, which is a shame because it was a film that actually looked quite good with the added dimension, but is a highly recommended release for anyone who doesn't own the previous release.
Joining in on the re-release party is Warner Bros. with "American Sniper: The Chris Kyle Commemorative Edition." This new release adds an additional 60 minutes of bonus features spread out over two new documentaries: "Chris Kyle: The Man Behind the Legend" featuring home videos and "Navy SEALS: In War and Peace" which looks at the "secret world of America's elite fighting force."
If you're looking for a little more Clint Eastwood to go with your "American Sniper" you could always pick up the Blu-ray debut of "True Crime." Directed by and starring Eastwood the film finds a journalist trying to prove a man on death row is innocent.
Other titles released this week include the Warner Archive release of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the Mike Nichols directed "Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf?" (which just so happened to win 5 Academy Awards); "Arabian Nights," a three film collection based on the structure of "One Thousand And One Nights" to explore modern Portugal; "Steel Justice," an all-nonsense action film that pits a Vietnam Vet against a South Vietnamese drug lord and "Assassination" a 1987 romp that finds Charles Bronson playing bodyguard for the First Lady of the United States.
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