Bad Day for the Cut Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Nigel O'Neill, Susan Lynch, Ian McElhinney
  • Director: Chris Baugh
  • Format: Dolby, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: January 9, 2018
  • Run Time: 99 minutes




        Revenge films seem a dime-a-dozen these days, though Bad Day for the Cut has a few elements which help it to stand out from the rest. First of all, there is the fact that it is set in Northern Ireland and within the criminal underworld of Belfast, giving it a unique flavor along with the need to turn on the English subtitles through some of the dialogue featuring thicker accents. But even more important than the setting is the choice to make this as much a mystery as it is a revenge film. Our protagonist seeks more than just vengeance, but also answers to the motivations behind the inciting violence, which keeps viewers engaged even throughout the film’s more derivative moments.

American Made 4K Ultra HD Review

  • Actors: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright Olsen, Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones
  • Director: Doug Liman
  • Writer: Gary Spinelli
  • Producers: Brian Grazer, Brian Oliver, Doug Davison, Kim Roth, Ray Angelic
  • Disc Format: 4K, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: January 2, 2018
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2018 



        American Made is built upon the ‘based on a true story’ crime film formula, following the tradition of countless similar films that have come before. It’s a bit Goodfellas, a little bit The Infiltrator, shades of “Narcos,” and ultimately a story that feels all-too familiar every step of the way. The crowning achievement of American Made is its ability to help audiences forget that Tom Cruise also starred in The Mummy in 2017, and allowing him the opportunity to play a role that capitalizes on the veneer of charisma which made him a star in the first place.

The Mountain Between Us Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Beau Bridges, Idris Ilba, Kate Winslet
  • Disc Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: December 26, 2017
  • Run Time: 112 minutes




        When I thought that The Mountain Between Us was purely a survival adventure film, I was rather excited to see it, especially considering the caliber of the cast involved. When I realized that this was as much a romance film as a survivalist narrative, I was annoyed, despite the natural charms and chemistry of the aforementioned cast members. Even Idris Elba and Kate Winslet were unable to convince me that two people who are injured and starving from weeks of harsh conditions would have the energy or inclination for a steamy sex scene. But for those who are willing and able to ignore the ridiculousness of the plot, The Mountain Between Us offers a few predictable indulgences in entertainment. It is nothing groundbreaking, and I often found myself looking at my phone or checking the run-time, but the end result is harmlessly forgettable.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day 4k Ultra HD Review

  • Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, Edward Furlong
  • Director: James Cameron
  • Disc Format: NTSC, Widescreen, 4K
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • Release Date: December 26, 2017
  • Run Time: 152 minutes




        I’ll never forget the first time I saw Terminator 2, especially because the circumstances surrounding the experience still remain a debated point of family history. My mother insists that I was not punished for watching this film, but I am certain that I was at least reprimanded, as I was not permitted to see R-rated films at the time. In fact, this was the first R-rated film that I ever saw, and I received this introductory cinema education where all parents with children enrolled in L.A. county public education could hope; my fourth grade classroom. I was indeed a ten year old receiving a unique education from a teacher who deemed Fridays to be ‘bring-a-movie-to-class day’ (The following Friday we watched Born in East L.A.).

Killing Gunther Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cobie Smulders, Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan
  • Director: Taran Killam
  • Disc Format: AC-3, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • Release Date: December 26, 2017
  • Run Time: 93 minutes




        The idea of an action mockumentary is unique enough to warrant praise, but the execution of Killing Gunther is so bland that the result is wholly forgettable regardless of the creative concept. The action is often fast-paced, but the addition of a sketch-comedy sensibility completely eliminates any impact the violence might have other than cheap laughs. Ultimately, this feels like a rejected idea from a “Saturday Night Live” episode, which makes sense considering writer/director/star Taran Killam left the cast of the comedy sketch show to make this film. He managed to put together an impressive cast, including Arnold Schwarzenegger briefly appearing in the title role, but all of the talent feels sadly wasted without better material.

Stronger Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, Clancy Brown
  • Director: David Gordon Green
  • Disc Format: AC-3, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • Release Date: December 19, 2017
  • Run Time: 119 minutes



        I no longer pay much attention to film’s award season, and Stronger is a perfect example why that is. While the film itself may rarely rise above serviceable to the true-story it is telling, there is something wrong with how award nominations are handed out if none of the actors involved in Stronger were nominated for major awards. Award nominations are more likely to go to a film because of the political message it contains (which explains why Steve Carell would receive nominations for Battle of the Sexes rather than Last Flag Flying) or how much money the studio spent to get it (Wonder Woman broke records for the millions of dollars spent to try and buy nominations), and this is why some of the quieter performances of the year end up passed over. This is not to say that the other nominees are undeserving, but it is shameful that movie without a political message or millions to spend might not get the attention it deserves as a result.

The Unknown Girl DVD Review

  • Actors: Adèle Haenel, Olivier Bonnaud
  • Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne
  • Disc Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 12, 2017
  • Run Time: 106 minutes



        After testing the waters of the mainstream by casting movie star Marion Cotillard in their last film, Two Days, One Night, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have returned to their roots with The Unknown Girl. But even with a movie star, the brother filmmaking team has never abandoned their social realism, both in style and the content of their narratives. This is true of The Unknown Girl, which never feels generic despite existing within the narrative structure of the mystery genre.  
       

Viceroy’s House DVD Review

  • Actors: Gillian Anderson, Hugh Bonneville
  • Director: Gurinder Chadha
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 12, 2017
  • Run Time: 106 minutes



        Despite the title, Viceroy’s House is about the elimination of the position of Viceroy of India with the transition of British India to independence in 1947. A final Viceroy is tasked with the job of overseeing the transition, which inevitably divides the country even further due to certain political aspirations. Had this remained the focus of Viceroy’s House, it could have been a compelling historical drama, but the screenplay by Paul Mayeda Berges, Gurinder Chadha, and Moira Buffini splits the time between actual events and an imagined melodrama between star-crossed lovers torn apart by the politics. The result is uneven, often feeling as though more time would be necessary to care about this collection of characters. One critic remarked that this material might have been better suited for a mini-series, and I tend to agree.

Blood Money Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: John Cusack, Ellar Coltrane, Willa Fitzgerald, Jacob Artist
  • Director: Lucky McKee
  • Format: AC-3, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • Release Date: December 19, 2017
  • Run Time: 85 minutes




        Horror movies can often get away with having unlikable characters, if only because of their inevitable demise. Although there are deaths in Blood Money, it is clearly not a horror film. This also means that there are no guarantees about which obnoxious character may survive, although there are a lot of options within the cast of characters. It is difficult to even say who the bad guy of the story is, especially since the obvious choice is also the most likeable character in the film. Even with a tried-and-true narrative borrowed from classic cinema, Blood Money is an irritating movie due to its unrelatable characters making illogical choices.

Wolf Warrior 2 Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Wu Jing, Frank Grillo, Celina Jade
  • Director: Wu Jing
  • Disc Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Mandarin Chinese (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: December 12, 2017
  • Run Time: 124 minutes


        Wolf Warrior 2 brings back more of the same elements that made up the original film, for better or for worse. Our protagonist returns to fight a new battle, one which calls for a number of explosive action sequences a message so patriotic that it often borders on being propaganda. All of the thrills from the first film are recreated with somewhat diminishing returns, but action fans are likely to be satisfied with an increased emphasis on spectacle.

Better Watch Out Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Patrick Warburton, Levi Miller, Olivia DeJonge, Virginia Madsen
  • Director: Chris Peckover
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: December 5, 2017
  • Run Time: 89 minutes




        Better Watch Out is a near impossible film to write about without ruining at least some of the effect. Even by merely describing it as a cross between Home Alone and The Strangers doesn’t quite convey the tone of this wholly unique home invasion thriller. At times the film’s twists and turns can play against the expectations audiences may have for a typical home invasion film, but the revision to the recently popularized sub-genre is a welcome adjustment. With the added ironic contrast of setting the film amidst the joyful holiday season, Better Watch Out is a brutal little treat for horror fans this Christmas.

Woodshock Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Kirsten Dunst, Pilou Asbaek, Joe Cole, Jack Kilmer
  • Directors: Kate Mulleavy, Laura Mulleavy
  • Disc Format: AC-3, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • Release Date: November 28, 2017
  • Run Time: 100 minutes



        Art films often take a special type of viewer, one willing analyze and dissect what they are watching. These films can take effort and thoughtfulness to understand, whereas most mainstream films are treated as entertainment that merely needs to be consumed. If someone unfamiliar with art films tried to watch one, they might find themselves confused and frustrated. But in the case of Woodshock, it feels like a film that was made by filmmakers attempting to imitate and art film without understanding the intent behind any choices. In other words, it is a shell of pretentiousness visuals that is completely empty on the inside. Thinking about this film is an act of fruitless futility.

Despicable Me 3 4K Ultra HD Review

  • Actors: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Trey Parker, Miranda Cosgrove, Steve Coogan
  • Directors: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
  • Writers: Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio
  • Producers: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy
  • Format: 4K, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Rated: PG
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: December 5, 2017
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2018
  • Run Time: 90 minutes




        As the Minions have become something of an unofficial mascots for Illumination Entertainment, it should come as no surprise that their original franchise has returned for a third outing. Their inclusion in Despicable Me 3 also feels somewhat forced, providing a sub-plot that has little to no connection with the main storyline. This disjointed portion of the narrative may seem out of place, kind of like a Minion sequel blended with the Despicable Me storyline, but it provides a welcome relief from multiple super-villain schemes, including a double dose of Steve Carell.

Rememory Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Anton Yelchin, Peter Dinklage, Julia Ormond, Henry Ian Cusick, Andrew Herr
  • Director: Mark Palansky
  • Disc Format: AC-3, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • Release Date: November 28, 2017
  • Run Time: 93 minutes



        Rememory may have passed as mildly clever before the days of “Black Mirror,” but somehow now feels like a watered down episode of the popular British science fiction anthology series which has been unwillingly stretched to feature-length. Regardless of the clever premise (albeit one that is extremely similar to existing “Black Mirror” episodes) and a dedicated cast of talented actors giving convincing performances, Rememory never really takes off. The mystery, while compelling, is rarely enough to make up for the disappointment some may feel towards the watered down science fiction elements. Ultimately, the film is a heavy-handed drama with a slight sci-fi twist and an almost inconsequential mystery at the center, only elevated due to the talented cast involved.

High School Lover DVD Review

  • Actors: James Franco, Paulina Singer, François Arnaud, Lana Condor, Tyler Alvarez
  • Director: Jerell Rosales
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: November 21, 2017
  • Run Time: 86 minutes




        Considering the early praise and awards that James Franco has already received for his performance in The Disaster Artist, it may seem unusual that the movie actor also chose to star in a Lifetime Channel TV movie called High School Lover. It may seem unusual, but only if you haven’t been following Franco’s career over the last decade. This is the same actor that decided to go back to school for a graduate degree in literature while at the peak of success. This is also the actor that decided to take a reoccurring role on a soap opera shortly after receiving an Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, while Franco’s involvement may garner the project more attention, it does little to improve the typical Lifetime melodrama.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung
  • Director: Patrick Hughes
  • Disc Format: AC-3, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: LIONSGATE 
  • Release Date: November 21, 2017
  • Run Time: 118 minutes




        The Hitman’s Bodyguard is the McDonald’s of buddy action comedies. Nearly every entry into the genre is likely to be considered ‘junk food’ entertainment, but this is about as cheap as it gets while still remaining popular. It is lazy, lacks and substance, and feels derivative of something that was once innovative, but millions will continue to consume it without thought. And maybe that is the point, but I found myself craving for dialogue that wasn’t funny merely for the choice of expletives sprinkled around like a sophomoric game of ad libs. Not only a decent dose of action in the third act was enough to save this film from leaving me feeling unsatisfied.

The Villainess Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Kim Ok-Vin, Shin Ha-Kyun, Bang Sung-Jun
  • Director: Jung Byoung-Gil
  • Disc Format: Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1), Korean (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: November 21, 2017
  • Run Time: 124 minutes



        The Villainess is a South Korean film that takes place partially in China, with action scenes shot with the hyperkinetic movement of many modern cult Japanese films. Although these various elements often give the style of the film a bit of cultural ambiguity, the revenge-laden plot is distinctly South Korean. The story about a trained female assassin out for revenge against those who made her also often resembles the Kill Bill films, but the non-chronological storytelling in this film is often a chore and it lacks a crucial element that made Quentin Tarantino’s films fun. Even with an impressive number of action sequences, The Villainess is often more torturously bleak than feels necessary.  

Wind River Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Jon Bernthal, Martin Sensmeier, Julia Jones
  • Director: Taylor Sheridan
  • Disc Format: AC-3, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • Release Date: November 14, 2017
  • Run Time: 107 minutes




        After his success as screenwriter with hits the last two years in a row (Sicario, Hell or High Water), Taylor Sheridan has once again blended a crime narrative with the modern western genre, this time as the director. Sicario dealt with drug trafficking, Hell or High Water was about small town bank robberies, and Wind River about a murder investigation on a remote Native American reservation. The terrain may have switched from the hot deserts of southern states to the freezing mountains of Wyoming, but it is the plot’s connection with the setting that aligns it with the classic westerns of the past. At the same time, there is a painful intimacy to the tragedy in Wind River which was missing from his previous films, making this a somber affair despite an action-packed climactic resolution.

Preacher: Season Two Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Tom Brooke, Dominic Cooper, Ian Colletti, W. Brown
  • Disc Format: AC-3, Box set, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, German, Polish, Arabic, English, Turkish
  • Dubbed: French, German
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: November 14, 2017
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2019




        As much as I enjoyed the brutal mix of dark humor, horror violence, and stylistic action found in the first season of “Preacher,” it also often felt aimless. There were great scenes within various episodes, but they rarely seemed to be working together in any discernible way. As a result, the first season felt somewhat inconsequential, almost as if it was killing time before finding direction for the story. Season two starts off with much more focus to its thrills, including a storyline about the hunt for God that remains constant for the full season, and two impressive episodes co-directed by frequent collaborators and series creators, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Pineapple Express, This is the End).

Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait Blu-ray Review

  • Starring: Julian Schnabel, Al Pacino, Willem Dafoe, Bono, Emmanuelle Seigner
  • Director: Pappi Corsicato
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: November 7, 2017
  • Run Time: 85 minutes




        Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait is fittingly named, diving into the personal life of the subject before defining his significance in the art world. Filled with intimate interviews with family members and friends, the documentary is far more concerned with the personality and approach to life that Schnabel takes than it is his actual work. Eventually the movie shows us his work, but rather than contextualize the significance of his paintings and films, it chooses to focus on the creative process at work.