New in Home Entertainment – February 16, 2016

Steve Jobs

New in Home Entertainment

February 16, 2016

Steve Jobs
Rated R for language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In 2013, director Joshua Michael Stern gave us version 1.0 of the life of Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher, and while the promise was there, the product failed to deliver. With version 2.0 though, Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle and Oscar-winning writer Aaron Sorkin deliver up Michael Fassbender as the iconic tech idol and the result is a brilliant, elegant story that is as engaging as it is enlightening. Rather than a chronological step-by-step, Sorkin opted for a three act play with each act taking place solely at one of the major, now infamous, launch meetings. The acting by Fassbender and fellow cohorts Seth Rogan, Kate Winslet and Jeff Bridges is inspiring and the movie flows like a beautiful symphony. The only thing that doesn’t make sense is the lousy results at the box office. Almost everything Steve ever touched in life, including his official biography, has turned to gold. Could it be that folks have finally lost interest in the once-invincible tech god? A

Black Mass
Rated R for brutal violence, language throughout, some sexual references and brief drug use
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Johnny Depp here disappears into the role of James “Whitey” Bolger, the once-powerful Boston gangster who was recently the FBI’s #1 most wanted until his capture a few years ago. The story itself is fascinating enough, as they kept to the saga of the far-reaching corruption exhibited by a multitude of real-life villains. Unfortunately the makeup was tremendously distracting. What should have been Oscar-worthy transformations, looked like something from a bad church play. I would suggest, rather than picking this one up on blu-ray with awesome resolution, opt for the DVD and watch on an old tube TV so that the lousy makeup won’t be as offensive. C+

The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Series
Available on DVD
It seems like this has been released before, but now officially, comes the entire series in a new box set on 39, count’em, 39 DVDs. All 8 seasons from the 60’s featuring 249 episodes (why couldn’t they have gone for an even 250?) in one set. While this sounds like an unimaginable binge journey, it sure is fun revisiting Mayberry with Andy, Ron Howard and Don Knotts. The show is completely dated, in a good way, and one of the best special features in the set are the original sponsor ads included on the season 2 and 3 discs. A

New in Home Entertainment – February 9, 2016


New in Home Entertainment

February 9, 2016

Crimson Peak
Rated R for bloody violence, some sexual content and brief strong language
Rotten Tomatoes Score 69%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In Guillermo del Toro’s latest horror fantasy, Mia Wasikowska plays a young heiress who marries a handsome young businessman, Tom Hiddleston, after her father’s mysterious death. Once at her new husband’s strangely beautiful estate, Crimson Peak, she must deal with the home’s many secrets, as well as her new sinister sister-in-law, played by Jessica Chastain. As you’d expect with a del Toro ghost story, the film is macabre yet mesmerizing. What it lacks in scares it more than makes up for in aesthetics. Unfortunately, the project falls flat due to an unworthy script that even these fantastic actors have trouble navigating. C+

99 Homes
Rated R for language including some sexual references, and a brief violent image
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
As a great companion piece to the Oscar-nominated The Big Short, 99 Homes shows us the battle between Spiderman and General Zod (not really, but the same actors at least: Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon). Here Garfield plays an out of work and homeless construction worker who goes to work for Shannon, the very person who evicted him from his home, in order to make money kicking people out of their homes. There is a great social commentary to be found here although the story could have been stronger, especially the inorganically dramatic ending. Still, the performances are terrific and it leaves lots of food for thought. B-

Rated R for language and some drug use
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Here Lilly Tomlin plays a mean old grandma who attempts to help her teenage granddaughter raise enough money to pay for an abortion. From a surface-level viewpoint, the film is a nice adult comedy about an old dog learning new tricks. But the very subject of the film is a distracting and uncomfortable albatross around its own neck. I wanted the heroes to win on their journey and yet I really desired a deeper discussion about the prize. B-

New in Home Entertainment – February 2, 2016


New in Home Entertainment

February 2, 2016

Bridge of Spies
Rated PG-13 for some violence and brief strong language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
This one I can’t figure out. Of all the great projects Steven Spielberg could tackle, he goes for this cold war picture which places Tom Hanks as a lawyer who, upon representing a captured Soviet spy, tries to broker a deal to trade prisoners in East Germany. There’s nothing wrong with the film. It’s well-acted, well-written and well-made. But it just isn’t sexy. There is nothing that yells “Spielberg” at all. The story is irrelevant and honestly it’s a bit of a bore. I really wanted to like it but ultimately it’s just too forgettable. C

Our Brand is Crisis
Rated R for language including some sexual references
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 33%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Based the 2005 documentary of the same name, Sandra Bullock plays a political consultant who is hired by a Bolivian presidential candidate to help him win an impossible election. There is much to like about this project. Sandra is a good choice for the lead here and Billy Bob Thornton is perfect as her nemesis, a consultant working for the top candidate in the election. The film is timely and unfortunately similar to our own political circus we are currently watching. I just wish there weren’t so many eye-rolling moments throughout and that the film could have been less predictable. There is a great story here but when it’s all over you feel like you’ve been preached to just enough and that you’ve seen the whole sermon before. C+

Man Up
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
This British import stars Lake Bell as a lovable loser who pretends to be another man’s blind date when she runs into Simon Pegg looking for love. If you’ve been missing good English rom coms this one should satisfy your craving. It’s cute, overly dramatic, funny and only the slightest bit annoying. Pegg and Bell provide here some nice chemistry and though the cheese is laid on thick at times, it ends up being a rather enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes. B