Blu-ray Releases In December
Universal: Jason Bourne (2016) (**) Matt Damon returns in the latest outing of the ongoing Bourne series but, unfortunately, it’s the least satisfying entry yet in the franchise. Extras include seven featurettes.
Secret Life of Pets (2016) (**) The animated smash from last summer is exactly what the title says. Certain to please the younger audience members but others will find it a bit difficult to navigate. Extras include 3 mini movies and four featurettes.
Warner Brothers: Sully (2016) (***) Director Clint Eastwood’s take on the ordeal of pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger is well executed and anchored by a solid Tom Hanks performance in the lead. Extras include multiple featurettes on the making of the film.
Suicide Squad (2016) (*1/2) The second stab at launching a DC Comics franchise falls flat on its feet as a rag tag band of super villains are recruited to save the world. Extras include four featurettes, an extended cut of the film and a gag reel.
Storks (2016) (**) Kelsey Grammer and Andy Samberg voice a couple of Storks as they relate the tribulations of delivering babies. Typically indistinguishable animated fare. Extras include deleted scenes, music video and two animates shorts.
Paramount: Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) (***) The true story of the New York socialite who yearned for a career as a singer in spite of having no discernible talent. Streep gives the lead role her all and Hugh Grant is fine as her devoted hubby. Extras include deleted scenes, multiple featurettes and Q and A with Meryl Streep.
Ben Hur (2016) (* ½) A remake no one wanted or needed, filled with lifeless battle scenes and bland CGI. At least it’s mercifully shorter than the 1959 version. Extras include multiple featurettes, music videos and deleted/extended scenes.
Lionsgate: American Honey (2016) (***) Shia LeBouf finally proves his worth as a traveling salesman who falls for a young girl as they party and travel across the country. Extras include an interview.
Southside With You (2016) (***) The early courtship of Barack and Michelle Obama is dramatized in this low key but well made film. Extras include commentary and original artwork animations.
Sony: The Hollars (2016) (* ½) Margot Martindale is the only thing worth recommending in this collection of indie film cliches. She’s the terminally ill matriarch of the dysfunctional family from which the film derives its title. Extras include commentary and multiple featurettes.
When the Bough Breaks (2016) (* 1/2) A young couple want a baby but can’t have one. The surrogate they hire turns out to be a psychopath. Derivative in the extreme. Extras include deleted scenes and commentary.
Grant & Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins
Broadgreen: The Dressmaker (2016) (**) Kate Winslet is the dressmaker of the film’s title, who returns to her hometown to deal with her past. Extras include featurettes and a photo gallery.
Criterion: The Exterminating Angel (1962) (***) A group of dinner guests literally can’t leave the party to which they’ve been invited in this celebrated film from director Luis Bunuel. Extras include interviews, booklet, trailer and a documentary on director Bunuel.
Fellini’s Roma (1972) (**) Federico Fellini’s meditation on the days of his youth is a beautiful looking but dramatically inert affair. Basically a travelogue on film. Extras include a still image collection, commentary and new interviews on the legacy of Fellini. Felini purists will be more forgiving.
Olive Films: Cheers for Miss Bishop (1941) (** 1/2) Martha Scott shines in the role of a retired schoolteacher looking back at an unfulfilled life. It’s a decent film but Goodbye Mr. Chips did better justice to the same theme. No Extras
Twilight Time, whose releases are limited to a pressing of 3000 units for each of their titles, has issued a new batch of classics. Their product can only be ordered via www.twilighttimemovies.com and www.screenarchives.com. December releases from the company include: The Bullet Train (1975) In this Japanese import, a passenger train will explode if its speed drops below 80km an hour. Sound familiar? It was the basis for the 1994 American hit, Speed. Extras include isolated music/effects track and a featurette on the movie.
Stardust Memories (1980) (****) One of Woody Allen’s most underrated films is an unjustly critically maligned tale of a filmmaker having a breakdown over the course of a weekend in which a film festival honoring his career is being held. Extras include isolated score track and theatrical trailer.
The Barefoot Contessa (1954) (** ½) Joseph L. Mankiewicz’ (All About Eve) tale of a doomed actress (Ava Gardner) who eventually becomes a contessa has some great moments but is somewhat undone by its overlength. Humphrey Bogart also stars. Extras include audio commentary, still gallery, isolated score track and original trailer.
Keys of the Kingdom (1944) (***) Gregory Peck received an Oscar nod for his performance as a man beset by personal tragedies who joins the priesthood in his quest for spiritual fulfillment. Extras include audio commentary, isolated score track and original theatrical trailer.
The Three Worlds of Gulliver (1960) (***) The Ray Harryhausen special effects are the show in what is probably the best screen adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s celebrated novel. Extras include isolated score track, commentary, multiple documentaries and the original theatrical trailer.
Nicholas Nickleby (2002) (***) Excellent performances abound in writer/director Doug McGrath’s exquisite rendering of the classic Charles Dickens novel. Extras include commentary, several featurettes, isolated score track and original theatrical trailer.
Coming in January: The Accountant, His Girl Friday, Fox and His Friends, Jerry Maguire 20th anniversary edition, Scavenger Hunt, Wait Until Dark, Deepwater Horizon, Ali and The Girl on the Train.
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