Blu-ray and DVDMovies

BLU-RAY INVASION Weeks of 2/23 & 3/1

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February 23 releases

The Good Dinosaur

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The Good Dinosaur asks the question: what if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely, and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? In this epic journey into the world of dinosaurs, an apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.

This is a bit of a step back from the quality that we’ve all come to know from Pixar, but that doesn’t mean that this is a bad movie. Far from it in fact, but it does feel like a very vanilla film that your kids will enjoy, but won’t get a lot of replay value from adults the way the timeless Pixar films would. The generic nature of The Good Dinosaur unfortunately does extend to the special features as well. There’s a lot of them, but they’re not of any substance. Skip it* *(unless you have kids. They’ll love it.)

Spotlight

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Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams lead a critically acclaimed cast in this gripping true story about the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation that uncovered a scandal that rocked one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. Delving into allegations of child abuse within the local Catholic Archdiocese, a tenacious team of Boston Globe reporters exposes a decades-long cover-up that reaches the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment.

For some, this might have been a surprise choice for Best Picture, but it is an absolutely worthy selection of that honor. It is masterfully edited, written and performed. It would have been nice if there were more special features that highlight the real life personas of the characters we see on screen. There are a few of them, but not nearly enough. Despite the lack of special features, Buy This.

The Secret In Their Eyes

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A tight-knit team of rising investigators Ray (Ejiofor), Jess (Roberts) and their supervisor (Kidman) – is torn apart when Jess’s teenage daughter is brutally and inexplicably murdered. After obsessively searching for the elusive killer every day for 13 years, Ray finally uncovers a new lead that he’s certain will resolve the case. No one is prepared, however, for the shocking secret that will reveal the enduring, destructive effects of personal vengeance on the human soul.

This is an example of a time in which a supremely talented cast comes together in a film that is ultimately a fairly forgettable one. The cast puts forth an admirable effort, and it’s hard to pin down why exactly The Secret In Their Eyes doesn’t feel like it ever excels to the level of the talent of its cast, you just know that it should be better than it is. This disk includes a nice featurette of Julia Roberts discussing her role and another discussing how this American adaptation was made. Queue It

My All-American

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From the writer of Hoosiers and Rudy, My All Americantells the true story of Freddie Steinmark. Although deemed too small as an athlete, Freddie (Finn Wittrock) dreams of playing football and brings a fight to the game that is noticed by legendary coach Darrell Royal (Aaron Eckhart), leading to a scholarship to play college football. With dedication and grueling practices, a victorious season is within reach, but Freddie then receives a shocking diagnosis and discovers what it truly means to have the heart of a champion.

As far as sports movies go, this one is perfectly fine. It hits all the right beats and the football scenes are filmed pretty well. But there are tons of other sports movies that are leaps and bounds better than My All-American. There is a featurette that is all about the man the film is based on, ultimately if you didn’t already know Freddie’s story, this one might not interest you. Skip It

Extraction

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When a terrorist group kidnaps retired CIA field operative Leonard Turner (Bruce Willis), his son, Harry Turner (Kellan Lutz) – a government analyst who has been repeatedly turned down for field service – launches his own unsanctioned rescue operation. While evading highly skilled operatives, deadly assassins, and international terrorists, Harry finally puts his combat training to the test in a high- stakes mission to find his father and to stop a terrorist plot.

There’s almost 45 minutes of behind the scenes material on this disk and that’s way too much for a movie like this. The fact that there are that many minutes of material is nice, but you don’t need to watch actors insincerely talk about how great this movie is when really it’s just another generic action movie. That being said, it’s really well shot and the performances are good. Gina Carano is even pretty good here, but there’s not much of a need to own this. Queue this.

March 1 releases

The Danish Girl

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Past Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne and 2016 Best Supporting Actress Alicia Vikander star in this remarkable love story inspired by true events from Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper. When Gerda (Vikander) asks her husband Einar Wegener (Redmayne) to fill in as a portrait model, Einar’s long-repressed feelings surface and she begins living her life as a woman. Embarking on a groundbreaking journey that’s only made possible by the unconditional love of her wife, Einar fights to become the person she’s meant to be, transgender pioneer Lili Elbe.

Alice Vikander had a huge breakout year in 2015 and this is arguably the best work she did during it. One could argue that she is actually the lead of this film as she has just as much screen time as Redmayne, and even manages to outperform him throughout pretty much the entire film. Overall the film isn’t as strong as the premise leads you to believe it could be, but this is still absolutely worth a viewing. Queue this.

Strike Back: The Complete Fourth Season

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For all of the ways a generic action film like Extraction fails, Strike Back delivers tenfold, and with nearly 8 hours of content per season. This is a show strictly for adrenaline junkies and those that feel like some of the more PG-13 blockbusters hold back being as gruesome as they could be.

Any extra features are severely lacking as is the case with a lot of HBO/Cinemax releases, sadly. Queue this.

Sunshine Superman

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A heart-racing documentary portrait of Carl Boenish, the father of the CASE jumping movement, whose early passion for skydiving led him to ever more spectacular – and dangerous – feats. Experience his jaw-dropping journey in life and love, to the pinnacle of his achievements when he and wife Jean broke the BASE jumping Guinness World Record in 1984 on the Norwegian “Troll Wall” mountain range. Incredibly, within days, triumph was followed by disaster. Told through a stunning mix of Carl’s 16mm archive footage, well-crafter reenactments and state-of-the-art aerial photography, Sunshine Superman will leave you breathless and inspired.

This plays like a documentary that could have been on ESPN’s award winning 30 for 30 series. There are so many exhilarating shots here it could get your blood pumping enough to try some of this insane stuff (please don’t). Queue this.

 

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The Author

J.C. De Leon

J.C. De Leon

Hailing from Austin, Tx. J.C. is maybe the biggest fan of sports movies you'll ever see. He's got an affinity for great writing and two of his favorites are Aaron Sorkin and Shane Black. When he's not watching movies at home, he can be found watching movies at the Alamo Drafthouse. He occasionally tries to play video games, but he's not very good at them. Follow him on Twitter for witty tweets and pictures of his cats.