Produced in secrecy, Blair Witch follows the iconic 1999 viral hit with a new found footage tale involving the sibling of an original documentarian and others venturing into the spooky Black Hills of Burkittsville, Maryland to see what they find. The writer and director of You're Next and The Guest serve up this untimely sequel whose true identity was only recently revealed. Our review.
The third film in the British romantic comedy series, Bridget Jones's Baby checks in with the unlucky-in-love TV reporter (Renée Zellweger) as she turns 43 and then becomes pregnant with the child of either a wealthy one-night stand (Patrick Dempsey) or her on-again, off-again flame Mark Darcy (Colin Firth). Sharon Maguire returns to direct, while Emma Thompson joins the franchise as both a screenwriter and supporting actress. Full review.
Finally, Snowden, Oliver Stone's delayed biopic about CIA agent turned whistleblower Edward Snowden, stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the deep-voiced title role. Co-starring Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Rhys Ifans, and Nicolas Cage, this R-rated drama has divided critics and raised questions about its veracity. Read our review.
September 14, 2016 - The upbringing of sharpshooting perennial NBA all-star Kevin Durant is dramatized in the Lifetime TV movie The Real MVP: The Wanda Durant Story. Wanda (Cassandra Freeman) works nights for the post office and gives hair cuts on the side to provide for her two sons on her own outside of Washington D.C. Available next Tuesday, Lionsgate's DVD includes a digital copy. Full review.
September 13, 2016 - Hitting Blu-ray and DVD today, The Conjuring 2 presents another family haunting for paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) to tackle. This time, it's a divorced mother and her children who are tormented by demons in 1976 England. Warner's Blu-ray includes deleted scenes, five making-of featurettes, and Digital HD with UltraViolet. Full review.
September 11, 2016 - Our coverage of Tuesday's new discs continues with a review of the Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + Digital HD Collector's Edition release of Captain America: Civil War, the #1 film of the year by worldwide box office. Chock-full of superheroes including Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, War Machine, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, and Vision, this epic adventure divides those powerful forces into two groups for an epic battle as part of a continuing storyline involving Captain America and his brainwashed best friend Bucky Barnes. The two-disc set includes deleted/extended scenes, four making-of featurettes, an audio commentary, gag reel, and exclusive sneak peek of Doctor Strange. Full review.
September 10, 2016 - Today's review covers this week's Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD release of Now You See Me 2. A domestic underperformer but worldwide blockbuster, the follow-up to 2013's surprise hit sees magician-thief team the Horsemen (Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, and Lizzy Caplan) enlisted by a death-faking tycoon (Daniel Radcliffe) to steal a computer chip. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine reprise their supporting roles in this entertaining bit of escapism. The Summit/Lionsgate combo pack includes an audio commentary by director Jon M. Chu and three lengthy making-of featurettes. Full review.
September 9, 2016 - Expanding today, the independent comedy The Hollars looks at life for a family that comes together when the matriarch is found to have a brain tumor that requires surgery. John Krasinski directed and stars in this PG-13 Sony Pictures Classics movie alongside Richard Jenkins, Margo Martindale, Sharlto Copley, Anna Kendrick, Charlie Day, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Full film review.
September 8, 2016 - Now in theaters, Sully tells the true story of the Miracle on the Hudson. In early 2009, pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) nimbly maneuvered a failing US Airways jet on to the Hudson River. Swiftly proclaimed a hero by the world, Sully's actions are subjected to investigation. Directed by Clint Eastwood and co-starring Aaron Eckhart and Laura Linney, this PG-13 drama kicks off the industry's award season in wide release today. Our film review.
Disney and Pixar have announced a November 15th release of their blockbuster Finding Dory on DVD, Blu-ray combo pack, and Blu-ray 3D combo pack. The top-grossing animated film of all time will be joined by theatrical short Piper on DVD and much more (including deleted scenes, audio commentary, and making-of featurettes) in high definition. For cover art, preorders, and full details, see the complete press release.
September 7, 2016 - Today's review looks at next week's DVD reissue of Back in Time, a 2015 documentary celebrating the Back to the Future trilogy and its fans. With interviews of Michael J. Fox, Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Lloyd, Bob Gale, and many more, this exhaustive film leaves little to be desired. Full review.
September 6, 2016 - Our coverage of today's new discs continues with a review of Love & Friendship, Whit Stillman's adaptation of a little-known Jane Austen epistolary novella that has the distinction of being one of the year's most acclaimed films and best-attended specialty releases. Kate Beckinsale plays a new widow looking to find a man for both herself and her daughter while relying on the kindness of relations. Sony's Blu-ray includes a making-of featurette. Full review.
September 4, 2016 - The sci-fi movie Equals is set in a future where people no longer display emotions. A man (Nicholas Hoult) gets diagnosed with Switched On Syndrome and notices a work colleague (Kristen Stewart) has been hiding symptoms that indicates she too may have the condition. After a very limited theatrical release, this A24 film co-written by director Drake Doremus (Like Crazy) and Nathan Parker (Moon) and co-starring Guy Pearce and Jacki Weaver hits Blu-ray on Tuesday with an audio commentary, three making-of featurettes, and Digital HD with UltraViolet. Full review.
September 2, 2016 - Now in theaters, The Light Between Oceans adapts M.L. Stedman's 2012 novel with the story of a couple of Australian lightkeepers (Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander) who pass a found infant off as their own child. This PG-13 drama co-stars Rachel Weisz as the baby's biological mother. Full film review.
On DVD next week, Genius dramatizes the friendship and collaboration of author Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law) and editor Max Perkins (Colin Firth) in New York at the end of the 1920s. Pulled from their families, Wolfe and Perkins try to trim Wolfe's epic writings to a manageable size. Lionsgate's DVD + Digital includes two making-of featurettes. Read on...
August 8, 2016 - Better late than never! We have begun to count down the movies of 2014 from worst to first in 2014 Movies: Ranked and Reviewed. In total, two hundred films will be ranked, with a one-line assessment and a link to a full review if available. Over the next four days, we'll make our way down to #1, presenting 50 films a day. Join us in this trip down a not so distant memory lane: Part 1: #200-#151.
Recent Film Reviews:
• Hands of Stone stars Edgar Ramírez as Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán and Robert De Niro as his seasoned trainer Ray Arcel. Also featuring Usher Raymond as opponent Sugar Ray Leonard, this R-rated drama written and directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz opens in 810 locations. Our film review.
• Kubo and the Two Strings - Laika (Coraline, ParaNorman) extends their streak of striking stop-motion storytelling with an original film that sees a one-eyed Japanese boy along with a monkey and beetle go on an epic journey to find armor to protect him. Featuring the voices of Charlize Theron and Matthew McConaughey, this PG-rated Focus Features release is getting favorable reviews.
• War Dogs - Successful comedy filmmaker Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Old School) gets a little more serious in the true story of two young Americans (Miles Teller and Jonah Hill) who find themselves dealing arms to the US military in the mid-Noughties. A funny and absorbing film in the spirit of Goodfellas, this R-rated film also features Bradley Cooper.
Disney treats another fondly remembered film of yore to a reimagining in Pete's Dragon. David Lowery (Ain't Them Bodies Saints) directs and co-writes a film markedly different from the 1977 musical comedy. The story of an orphan boy's friendship with a dragon is relocated to a logging town in the Pacific Northwest in the late 1970s. Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Wes Bentley, and Karl Urban star in this dramatic adventure receiving quite good reviews. Ours does not join the chorus of acclaim.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg bring their crude sense of humor to the world of computer animation in Sausage Party. This hard R-rated comedy depicts life for supermarket foods whose expectations of a better life in the Great Beyond seem to be misplaced. Rogen leads a star-studded voice cast that also includes Jonah Hill (who shares story credit), Kristen Wiig, David Krumholtz, James Franco, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek, and Bill Hader. Our review.
Florence Foster Jenkins stars Meryl Streep as the wealthy socialite whose erratic operatic singing made her infamous. Hugh Grant plays her supportive but unfaithful husband, while Simon Helberg plays her nervous accompanist. Directed by Stephen Frears (Philomena, The Queen), this PG-13 comedy opens in 1,500 theaters today. Full review.
Finally, opening in limited release is Hell or High Water, a Texas film about bank-robbing brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) and the two Texas rangers on their trail (Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham). David Mackenzie (Starred Up) directs the second script by Sicario writer Taylor Sheridan. Read on.
• Suicide Squad assembles convicted villains to use their deadly skills against a threat to the public. Featuring Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, and Jared Leto as Joker, this character-heavy film is written and directed by David Ayer (Fury, End of Watch).
• Lights Out - James Wan (The Conjuring) produces this adaptation of the 2013 online short of the same name, telling the story of a ghost who lurks in the shadows and haunts a family when it's dark. Teresa Palmer and Maria Bello star in this PG-13 movie.
• The BFG marks Steven Spielberg's first film for Walt Disney Pictures. This adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1980s novel sees a British orphan meeting a big friendly giant...and his bigger, less friendly fellow giants. Starring Academy Award winner Mark Rylance in the title role, this effects-heavy PG-rated family film opens wide in 3D.
Recent Blu-ray and DVD Reviews:
• Money Monster - This R-rated real-time thriller from director Jodie Foster sees a financial TV news personality (George Clooney) taken hostage at gunpoint by a young man (Jack O'Connell) disgruntled with the system. Julia Roberts and Giancarlo Esposito co-star in this drama that comes to disc next week joined by deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, and a music video.
• The Jungle Book (2016) (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD) - Grossing nearly a billion dollars worldwide, Jon Favreau's big budget blockbuster features Neel Sethi as Mowgli and a talented cast lending their voices to computer-animated animals like Baloo the bear (Bill Murray), Bagheera the panther (Ben Kingsley), King Louie the orangutan (Christopher Walken), Shere Khan the tiger (Idris Elba), and Kaa the snake (Scarlett Johansson). The combo pack complements a dynamic feature presentation with an audio commentary, a substantial making-of documentary, and two featurettes.
• High-Rise (Blu-ray) - A British drama adapted from the 1975 novel by J.G. Ballard. Tom Hiddleston plays a physiology professor who moves into a lively new 40-story high-rise on the outskirts of London, only to watch the tower descend into madness following a tenant's suicide. Sienna Miller,Jeremy Irons, Elisabeth Moss, and Luke Evans co-star in this dystopian film from director Ben Wheatley. Magnolia's Blu-ray includes an audio commentary, four making-of featurettes, and the trailer.
• Me Before You (Blu-ray) - Adapted from Jojo Moyes' bestselling novel, this summer hit tells the story of a British woman (Emilia Clarke, "Game of Thrones") who takes on a caregiving job for a quadriplegic young man (Sam Claflin, The Hunger Games sequels). As feelings develop, their plans diverge. Warner's Blu-ray includes deleted scenes, outtakes, a making-of featurette, and Digital HD with UltraViolet.
• The Phenom (Blu-ray) - Critically acclaimed but narrowly released independent drama about a major league baseball pitcher (Johnny Simmons) who consults a sports psychologist (Paul Giamatti) after his control goes haywire. Co-starring Ethan Hawke, this unrated film was written and directed by Noah Buschel. RLJ's Blu-ray includes photo galleries and a cast interview featurette.
• Maggie's Plan (Blu-ray + Digital) - Adapted and directed by Rebecca Miller, this independent comedy tells the story of Maggie (Greta Gerwig), a college administrator on the verge of having a child on her own, who instead marries an anthropology professor (Ethan Hawke) and starts a family with him before having second thoughts. Julianne Moore, Bill Hader, and Maya Rudolph co-star in this acclaimed film. Sony's release includes a Miller audio commentary, outtakes, a making-of featurette, the trailer, and a Sundance Film Festival Q & A.
• The Nice Guys (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD) - From Lethal Weapon writer and Iron Man 3 director Shane Black, this action comedy stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as an enforcer and private eye who team up to investigate a young woman's disappearance in 1977 Los Angeles. This acclaimed film hits stores in a combo pack with two making-of featurettes.
• The Man Who Knew Infinity (Blu-ray) - This PG-13 drama stars Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) as brilliant Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan as Jeremy Irons as his mentor at Cambridge's Trinity College. Well-attended in limited release by IFC, this Matthew Brown-directed film hits Blu-ray and DVD from Paramount.
• The Angry Birds Movie (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD) - Adapted from the extremely popular phone video game, this animated family comedy sees Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) sentenced to anger management therapy and green pigs with nefarious plans arriving on Bird Island. Now available, Sony's Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack includes Hatchling shorts, deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, and a Blake Shelton music video and dance-along.
• Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD) - The second pairing of the Hanna-Barbera franchise with the pro wrestling league, this one sees the Mystery Machine gang tapped by Mr. McMahon to solve a mystery of a demon racer. Warner's combo pack includes a featurette on the Monster Jam Scooby-Doo truck and episodes from two recent "Scooby-Doo" series.
• A Hologram for the King (Blu-ray + Digital HD) - Tom Tykwer's adaptation of Dave Eggers' novel stars Tom Hanks as an American businessman in Saudi Arabia trying to sell the king on a teleconferencing system. Lionsgate's disc includes three substantial making-of featurettes alongside the acclaimed R-rated dramedy.
• Demolition (DVD + Digital HD) - This dramedy from Dallas Buyers Club and Wild director Jean-Marc Vallée stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a New York investment banker whose life unravels after losing his wife in a car accident. Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper co-star in this undeperforming wide release, whose DVD includes a photo gallery and the trailer.
• Last Days in the Desert (DVD) - Ewan McGregor gets to play two extremes in a film that casts him as both Jesus and the Devil who tempts him during his time spent in Judea's desert after His baptism. Written and directed by Rodrigo García (creator of HBO's "In Treatment"), this PG-13 drama co-stars Ciarán Hinds and Tye Sheridan.
• Keanu (Blu-ray) - Sketch comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele make the leap to leading men in a comedy that finds two mild-mannered cousins posing as tough gangsters to recover their stolen kitten. This acclaimed R-rated film hits Blu-ray with a gag reel, deleted scenes, Digital HD with UltraViolet, and the featurette "Keanu: My First Movie."
• The Bronze (Blu-ray) - This racy R-rated comedy stars Melissa Rauch ("The Big Bang Theory") as Olympic bronze medalist who hasn't moved on from her glory back in 2004. The small town hero reluctantly trains an up and comer to collect a $500,000 inheritance. Co-starring Gary Cole, Thomas Middleditch, and Captain America's Sebastian Stan, this box office underperformer is joined by deleted scenes and a red band trailer on Blu-ray.
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