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.