Blu-ray Releases For February
February 4, 2016
Sicario (2015) (*** ½) One of the best films from last year, director Denis Villeneuve’s crackling take on the drug war, features arresting performances by Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. Supplements on this Blu-ray release from Lions Gate includes four documentaries on the making of the film.
The Walk (2015) (*** ½) Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis’ thrilling take on the true life tale of Phillippe Petit—the only man to attempt walk on a wire between the World Trade Center towers—is a thrilling experience that deserved to perform better financially than it did at the US box office. It’s one of the best cinematic portraits of obsession that I’ve seen in many a moon. Extras on the Sony Blu-ray include deleted scenes and behind the scenes documentaries.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015) (**) The supposed final chapter of the Paranormal Activity series wraps things up but doesn’t really offer anything new in the way of thrills. Still, fans of the series will most likely lap it up. Extras on the Paramount release include a director’s cut of the film and lost footage.
Irrational Man (** ½) Woody Allen’s latest film is a morality tale in the vein of his previous triumph, Crimes and Misdemeanors. Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone turn in good performances but it feels like the director is treading overly familiar ground here. Extras on the Sony Release include footage of the Red Carpet premiere.
Del Toro, Brolin and Emily Blunt in Sicario
Straight Outta Compton (*** ½) The acclaimed biopic of rap group, NWA, delivers the goods in another knockout film from last year. The film is both massively entertaining and dramatically effective. Extras on the Universal release include a director’s cut and documentaries.
The American Friend (1977) (***) Director Wim Winders’ adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel, Ripley’s Game, is an amusing take on the gangster genre starring Dennis Hopper as a con man whose game is selling paintings whose financial value have been exaggerated. Extras on the Criterion release include interviews with Winders and Hopper and deleted scenes.
Twilight Time’s releases during the month of January were, as usual, a terrific batch or releases. The titles can be found online at www.twilighttimemovies.com and at www.screenarchives.com. They are limited to 3000 units so grab ‘em while you can. The releases are as follows:
The Last Detail/Bound For Glory (1973/1976) (***/*** ½) Two of acclaimed director Hal Ashby’s landmark films from the 1970s have been released as separate releases from the company.
Randy Quaid & Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail
The Last Detail stars Jack Nicholson as a sailor assigned to transport a troubled young buck (Randy Quaid) to military prison. It’s one of Quaid’s best performances. Bound For Glory is the biopic of the life and times of folk singer Woody Guthrie (an excellent David Carradine) and features stunning cinematography by the late Haskell Wexler. Both discs feature isolated music tracks as bonus features.
Hawaii (1966) (***) is one of those road show films that were so prominent in the 1950s/60s. This one is based on a James Michener novel and features Julie Andrews and Max Von Sydow as missionaries attempting to introduce Christianity to the islanders. Elmer Bernstein’s isolated score is featured as a bonus.
From the Terrace (** ½) Real life couple Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward star in this tale of a career climber (Newman) attempting to juggle a difficult wife, a mistress and his emotionally draining parents. Elmer Bernstein’s score is isolated as a bonus.
The Happy Ending (*** ½) Filmmaker Richard Brooks’ (In Cold Blood) character study of an unhappy wife (Jean Simmons) attempting to find herself in middle age is as effective now as it was the first time I saw it. Michel Legrand’s beautifully affecting score is featured on an isolated track.
Coming in February: Truth, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bridge of Spies, Zoolander, Our Brand is Crisis, Crimson Peak, The Emigrants/The New Land, The Graduate, Grandma, Black Mass, Brooklyn and Midnight Run.
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