Lady Macbeth DVD Review

  • Actors: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie, Christopher Fairbank
  • Director: William Oldroyd
  • Disc Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • DVD Release Date: October 17, 2017
  • Run Time: 90 minutes




        Having no previous knowledge of the source material (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) that served as inspiration for the film, Lady Macbeth provides a protagonist whose compulsive need for control and power above all else very gradually turns her into an anti-hero. The end result isn’t what makes the film interesting, but instead it is the process the narrative takes to change our opinion about the central character, especially since her ultimate goal is to keep things the way that they are. It isn’t an exciting film, but somehow manages to remain gripping even when it is mundane, thanks in part to taut direction by William Oldroyd and an electric breakout performance by Florence Pugh.

God of War Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Vincent Zhao, Sammo Hung, Regina Wan
  • Director: Gordon Chan
  • Disc Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Mandarin Chinese (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: October 17, 2017
  • Run Time: 129 minutes



        Characteristically biased in its depiction of Chinese heroism when faced by outsider invaders and heavy use of martial arts action, God of War still manages to provide enough originality in its narrative to stand apart from the dozens of other historical Chinese epics that are released each year. Although the latest addition to this popular national genre is inconsistent throughout the 129-minute run time, there are enough successful elements in God of War to make it one of the better releases in recent years.

All the Sins of Sodom/Vibrations Blu-ray Review




        In 1967, sexploitation filmmaker Joseph W. Sarno traveled to Sweden for the freedom to make a film that would cement his significance in erotic films. But before the impact of Inga would be known, Sarno returned to the United States to make a series of low-budget erotica that is better known for discussion of taboo topics than for the graphicness of the actual content. The scenes of sexuality being awakened in a young girl may have been shocking in Inga, but the discussion of vibrators, the pill, and lesbianism in All the Sins of Sodom, Vibrations, and The Wall of Flesh were just as shocking without the need for the content to be as explicit.

Girls Trip Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Larenz Tate, Mike Colter, Kate Walsh
  • Director: Malcolm D. Lee
  • Writers: Kenya Barris, Tracy Oliver
  • Producers: Malcolm D. Lee, Will Packer
  • Disc Format: NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: October 17, 2017
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2018




        Had Girls Trip been Guys Trip instead, the comedy would have been quickly dismissed as generic and derivative, with the laughs made up almost entirely from bathroom humor and tasteless objectification of male sex organs. The single relevant element of the production is the choice to have female characters the focus in a sex comedy, following in the footsteps of Bridesmaids, Trainwreck and Rough Night, but with a black cast. Girls Trip is an equal opportunity piece of trash, but just because the vulgarity is carried out by women doesn’t make this anything close to a feminist narrative, and the casting of black actresses doesn’t mean the film has anything relevant to say about diversity. Men are both the problems that the women spend much of their time discussing, as well as the solution, even to the point of pairing off a married woman with another man mere minutes after she condemns him for his infidelity. While it is a good sign that movies about female minorities can make money at the box office, they deserve far better than what Girls Trip has to offer.

The Beguiled Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning
  • Director: Sofia Coppola
  • Writers: Sofia Coppola, Albert Maltz, Grimes Grice
  • Producers: Sofia Coppola, Youree Henley, Roman Coppola
  • Disc Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Rated: Re
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: October 10, 2017
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2018
  • Run Time: 187 minutes




        By removing key characters of color from the adaptation of Thomas Cullinan’s Civil War-era novel, Sophia Coppola has lost a key element of the original narrative, which was more faithfully adapted in 1971. By deciding to shoot the film in purposefully low light that is meant to look realistic in scenes of candlelight, Coppola has made an ugly movie full of indecipherably dark scenes. Endlessly pretentious and effortlessly dull for a majority of the run-time, The Beguiled still manages to be one of the best films that Coppola has made in years, though this is not saying much after enduring vapid qualities of both The Bling Ring and Somewhere. 

Wish Upon Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Ryan Phillippe, Joey King
  • Director: John Leonetti
  • Disc Format: NTSC, Widescreen
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Broad Green Pictures
  • Release Date: October 10, 2017
  • Run Time: 95 minutes




        Sometimes horror movies rely upon the stupidity of the characters, especially if there would be no deaths without their mistakes. This can work, especially in the slaughtering of sinful co-eds in slasher films, but even the protagonist displays some restraint in those films. Wish Upon forces a completely preventable premise upon its audience, made worse by the fact that the main character has to act completely out of character just to keep the plot moving.

Sniper: Ultimate Kill Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Tom Berenger, Billy Zane, Danay Garcia, Joe Lando, Chad Collins
  • Director: Claudio Fäh
  • Format: AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Czech, Russian, Slovak, French, Portuguese, Finnish, Swedish, Estonian, Polish, Arabic, Italian, Korean, Latvian, Norwegian, Hungarian, Mandarin Chinese, Romanian, Thai, Danish, Greek, Turkish, Spanish, English, Ukrainian, Lithuanian
  • Dubbed: French, Italian, Thai
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: October 3, 2017
  • Run Time: 93 minutes




        I don’t think anyone imagined that this franchise would still be alive and kicking in 2017 when the original Sniper film was released in 1993, but somehow the sequels keep getting churned out. It was only last year that Sniper: Ghost Shooter was released, and yet we already have another direct-to-video sequel.  Even more impressive is how often the original stars have even returned to the series, with Sniper: Ultimate Kill including both Billy Zane and Tom Berenger in supporting roles, despite the focus remaining on the next generation of sniper.

Churchill Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, John Slattery, James Purefoy, Julian Wadham
  • Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
  • Disc Format: AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: October 3, 2017
  • Run Time: 105 minutes



        Churchill is clearly a performance piece, to the point that we get little in the narrative to focus on other than the emotional bellowing of the title character played by Brian Cox. And Cox is certainly up for the task, gaining weight to take on Winston Churchill’s silhouette along with the adoption of his mannerisms and speech patterns. As dedicated as Cox and the other cast members are to their roles, it is a shame that the film ends up feeling like little more than a showcase for acting, especially considering how easily the second Churchill biopic of the year (The Darkest Hour) is likely to overshadow this one.

Kick-Ass 4K Ultra HD Review

  • Actors: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nicolas Cage
  • Director: Matthew Vaughn
  • Disc Format: 4K, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • Release Date: October 3, 2017
  • Run Time: 117 minutes




         Before Matthew Vaughn began to parody the spy films with the Kingsman franchise, he took aim at the superheroes fairly early on with Kick-Ass, a film that proved a hard R-rating could be lucrative in the genre long before Deadpool or Logan. Based on the comic book by Mark Miller and John Romita Jr., Kick-Ass is a superhero film for all of the geeks who have spent their youth reading comic books and wishing that they could change their nerdy ways to become a hero and win the girl. It is the ultimate wish-fulfillment film, directed at the very audience that made the genre a success in the first place. At the same time, it is a tongue-in-cheek loving parody of the genre itself, constantly referencing classic comic book superheroes and their film adaptations.

It Stains the Sands Red Blu-ray Review

  • Film Format: Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Mpi Home Video
  • Release Date: September 26, 2017
  • Run Time: 92 minutes




         The most impressive thing about It Stains the Sands Red is the cleverness of a screenplay that has a premise involving a zombie apocalypse without needing the budget to depict it. With a majority of the film taking place in the secluded deserts of Nevada and only involving a single zombie, the production values have been pared down. Unfortunately, this cost-effective production decision is the only thing intelligent about It Stains the Sands Red, a film with a protagonist who repeatedly makes frustratingly dumb decisions.

This is Us: The Complete First Season DVD Review

  • Disc Format: AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 5
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: September 12, 2017




         The pilot for “This is Us” is something of a miracle, because it isn’t until the very end of it that the premise for the show is revealed. In all early marketing for the series, it was unclear how all of the characters are connected, and the pilot doesn’t reveal that they are all family members until the final moments. The impact of this is even greater when it is revealed that some of the story takes place in a different time period, while remaining tied to the same family. This brilliant revelation makes the pilot for “This is Us” one of the most impressive hours I have seen on television, but it also sets up the rest of the season for failure, as it can’t be matched in the same way.

L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties DVD Review

  • Actors: Bingbing Fan, Kris Wu, Yun Lin, Mi Yang, Amber Kuo
  • Director: Gui Jingming
  • Disc Format: Animated, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • DVD Release Date: September 26, 2017
  • Run Time: 93 minutes




         It is difficult to review a film when you have trouble understanding what it is about, and even the title of L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties has me scratching my head. Part of the difficulty comes from the fact that the film is based on a book series, which the filmmaker seems to assume his audience is already familiar with. For this fanbase, the convoluted animated fantasy world of the film may be easier to grasp, but everyone else is likely to get lost in the various storylines and ensemble cast of generic CGI characters. By the end of the film, I was no clearer on the point of the narrative, but simply embracing the mild spectacle of endless fight scenes.

A Ghost Story Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, McColm Cephas Jr., Kenneisha Thompson
  • Director: David Lowery
  • 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: October 3, 2017
  • Run Time: 92 minutes




         There are moments within A Ghost Story of such raw emotional clarity, it is a shame so much of the film is detached from sincerity by the pretentiousness of its filmmaker. As was also the case with Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, David Lowery is a filmmaker of immense talent that often gets in the way of his own stories. As a result, A Ghost Story is a beautiful film that works so hard at proving its artistic worth that it ends up undermining the emotions that are begging to take focus, especially with the dedicated performances by the cast. Although never nearly as clever as it seems to think it is, Lowery’s film still has enough moments of relatable introspection about one of life’s deepest questions to forgive the ostentatious approach.

The Game Changer Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Peter Ho, Zitao Huang
  • Director: Gao Xixi
  • Disc Format: Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: October 3, 2017
  • Run Time: 133 minutes




         The Game Changer is a period gangster film, but everything is exaggerated to the point that it should be a parody. There is no humor though, and it is quickly apparent that the filmmakers are taking the over-the-top style seriously. Not only is the action cartoonish in its embellishments, the drama is so high emotionally that it often slips unapologetically into melodrama. While occasionally entertaining, the final result is a film that is easy to forget despite all of the efforts to impress.

The Treasure DVD Review

  • Actors: Toma Cuzin, Adrian Purcarescu
  • Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
  • Disc Format: Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Romanian
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI Home Video
  • Release Date: September 19, 2017
  • Run Time: 89 minutes




        Some foreign films are universally relatable, dealing with themes and scenarios that cross language barriers without trouble. The Treasure seems to have one of these premises, as who among us has never fantasized about finding a treasure in our backyard capable of eliminating all money troubles from our life. It isn’t the premise that is hard to relate to in The Treasure, however, but the tone of the film. Sold as a comedy, the wry humor of the Romanian film industry is likely to be lost on those unfamiliar with this style.

The Big Sick Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano
  • Director: Michael Showalter
  • Disc Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • Release Date: September 19, 2017
  • Run Time: 120 minutes




         The Big Sick is impressive due to the diversity of its casting. It is also interesting because it is based on a real-life love story, written by the pair as if they were telling the elaborate story about how they met at a dinner party with close friends, starring an actor who is playing himself in this narrative. But these are not the things that make The Big Sick truly great, though they are certainly significant. It is simply great writing and convincing acting that makes this movie so charming, with the details of the production only adding to this. Though a majority of the credit needs to go to star Kumail Nanjiani and his co-writer/wife Emily V. Gordon, it is worth noting that this is yet another instance where producer Judd Apatow has provided the opportunity for the creativity of its artist to provide audiences with a personalized romantic comedy geared at adults.

The Prison Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Han Suk-Kyu, Kim Rae-Won, Lee Kyoung-Young
  • Director: Na Hyun
  • Disc Format: Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: September 19, 2017
  • Run Time: 125 minutes




         Prison movies have always been among my favorite type of crime film, primarily due to the cleverness it takes the criminals to navigate within the unique environment. The hierarchy of the small society of dangerous individuals leads to a pressure cooker of unpredictability, but the violence is often also paired with discreetness and innovation. While The Prison certainly has the violence, part of the fun of the genre has been removed by the fact that the control is completely in the hands of the prisoners. More like a gangster film with a unique setting, The Prison is another solid South Korean crime film, though it never breaks enough boundaries in either story or style to be truly memorable.

Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars 4K Ultra HD Review

  • Director: Shinji Aramaki
  • Disc Format: 4K, Closed-captioned, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese, Czech, German, Russian, Estonian, Finnish, Swedish, Polish, Latvian, Italian, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Dutch, Norwegian, Hungarian, Romanian, Thai, English, Spanish, Danish, Greek, Turkish, Lithuanian
  • Dubbed: French, Portuguese, German, Czech, Italian, Hungarian, Thai, Spanish, Turkish
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Re
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: September 19, 2017
  • Run Time: 88 minutes 




         Starship Troopers is the cult film with a franchise that never seems to end, even if it hardly resembles the original product any more. After a string of bland straight-to-video sequels, the series shifted into animation, presumably targeting the audience demographic still interested in sci-fi films about a war against bugs. The result is cutting edge realistic animation, used in films that remain every bit as forgettable as the live-action sequels. In a seemingly last-ditch effort to remind fans of the only successful entry into the franchise, Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars has brought back two of the original cast members to lend their voices.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Blu-ray Review

  • Disc Format: AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG
  • Studio: Dreamworks Animated
  • Release Date: September 12, 2017
  • Run Time: 90 minutes




         Even though the children’s books by Dave Pilkey that the film Captain Underpants is based on were released several decades ago, its release seemed perfectly timed this year. Our entertainment culture has become so oversaturated with superhero narratives on TV and film that there is a new demand for content that parodies the established constructs of the genre. The LEGO Batman Movie was the first to blend Meta superhero comedy with an animated family film, but Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie irreverently continues the efforts. Silly for the sake of its own silliness, Captain Underpants revels in immaturity that is surprisingly entertaining for kids and adults alike.

The Hero Blu-ray Review

  • Actors: Krysten Ritter, Laura Prepon, Nick Offerman, Sam Elliot, Katharine Ross
  • Director: Brett Haley
  • Format: NTSC, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R
  • Studio: LIONSGATE
  • Release Date: September 19, 2017
  • Run Time: 93 minutes




         The Hero relies on a series of movie clichés to tell its story, offering up a screenplay co-written by Marc Basch and director Brett Haley that is only saved from its own melodrama by the effectiveness its cast. Even the smaller supporting characters are well cast, but the heart of the film is found in the raw and heartfelt performance given by Sam Elliott, who proves that he has been given too few leading roles in his long career. And because nearly every scene of the film features Elliott, the shortcomings of the screenplay are often overcome by a character study that never feels less than convincing.