Now Available to Own: Snow White, Bridge of Spies, Batman: Bad Blood, and More

Bridge of Spies on Blu-ray

Now available to own titles for the week of February, 2 2016 are Snow White, Bridge of Spies, Batman: Bad Blood, and more. Continue reading

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Coming Soon to Blu-Ray and DVD: Steve Jobs, Fargo Season 2, Burnt, and More

While we provide you with a list of available new releases Now Available to Own every Tuesday, Coming Soon to Blu-ray and DVD looks at all of the recent home video announcements. For the week of December 19, 2015 we have the Steve Jobs, Fargo Season 2, Burnt, Our Brand is Crisis, and more. Find out when they’ll be out and what special features movie fans can expect below.

Steve Jobs Blu-ray Box Cover Art

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD February 16, 2016

Steve Jobs (Danny Boyle) Rated R [122 min] – Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter. Starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Katherine Waterston

Special features include:

  • Inside Jobs: The Making of Steve Jobs
  • Feature Commentary with Director Danny Boyle
  • Feature Commentary with Writer Aaron Sorkin and Editor Elliot Graham

Fargo Season 2 Blu-ray Box Cover Art

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD February 23, 2016

Fargo Season 2 (Noah Hawley) A drifter named Lorne Malvo arrives in small-town Minnesota and influences the population with his malice and violence, including put-upon insurance salesman Lester Nygaard. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Ted Danson, Jeffrey Donovan, Kieran Culkin, and Brad Garrett

Special features include:

  • Lou on Lou: A Conversation with Patrick Wilson, Keith Carradine and Noah Hawley
  • Waffles and Bullet Holes: A Return to Sioux Falls
  • The Films of Ronald Reagan: Extended Fargo cut
  • The True History of Crime in the Midwest
  • Skip Sprang TV Commercial

Burnt Blu-ray Box Cover Art

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD January 26, 2016

Burnt (John Wells) Rated R [101 min] – Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) is a Chef who destroyed his career with drugs and diva behavior. He cleans up and returns to London, determined to redeem himself by spearheading a top restaurant that can gain three Michelin stars. Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, and Riccardo Scamarcio [Watch the Trailer]

Special features include:

  • Burnt: In the Kitchen with Bradley Cooper
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Q&A highlights with the Director and cast
  • Feature Commentary with Director John Wells and Executive Chef Consultant Marcus Wareing

Our Brand is Crisis Blu-ray Box Cover Art

Available on Blu-ray and DVD February 2, 2016; and Digital HD January 19, 2016

Our Brand Is Crisis (David Gordon Green) Rated R [107 min] – An American woman, well-versed in political campaigns, is sent to the war-torn lands of South America to help install a new leader but is threatened to be thwarted by a long-term rival. Starring Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, and Joaquim de Almeida [Watch the Trailer]

Special features include:

  • Sandra Bullock: A Role Like No Other featurette.

Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones Blu-ray and DVD

Available on Blu-ray and DVD January 12, 2016; and Digital HD December 18

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (Gregory Plotkin) Rated R [88 min] – Using a special camera that can see spirits, a family must protect their daughter from an evil entity with a sinister plan.Director: Stars: Chris J. Murray, Brit Shaw, Ivy George, and Dan Gill

  • Special features not yet announced

Grandma Blu-ray Box Cover Art

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD February 9, 2016

Grandma (Paul Weitz) Rated R [79 min] – Self-described misanthrope Elle Reid has her protective bubble burst when her 18-year-old granddaughter, Sage, shows up needing help. The two of them go on a day-long journey that causes Elle to come to terms with her past and Sage to confront her future. Starring Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, and Judy Greer

Special features include:

  • A Family Portrait: The Making of Grandma
  • Q&A with Lily Tomlin, Sam Elliott, and director Paul Weitz
  • Commentary with Lily Tomlin, Sam Elliott, Julia Garner and Paul Weitz

Meadowland DVD Box Cover Art

Available on DVD February 2, 2016

Meadowland (Reed Morano) Rated R [105 min] – In the hazy aftermath of an unimaginable loss, Sarah and Phil come unhinged, recklessly ignoring the repercussions. Phil starts to lose sight of his morals; Sarah takes off on a potentially disastrous journey, falling deeper into her own fever dream. Starring Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, John Leguizamo, Ty Simpkins, Giovanni Ribisi, Juno Temple, and Elisabeth Moss [Watch the Trailer]

  • Special features not yet announced

Don Verdean Blu-ray Box Cover Art

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD March 1, 2016

 Don Verdean (Jared Hess) Rated PG-13 [90 min] – A self-professed biblical archaeologist who has fallen on hard times starts to bend the truth in order to continue inspiring the faithful. Starring Sam Rockwell, Amy Ryan, and Jemaine Clement

Special features include:

  • “Digging In: Behind the Scenes of Don Verdean” Featurette
  • “Behind the Sounds” Featurette
  • Audio Commentary with Director Jared Hess

And that’s it for this week. What are you looking forward to picking up when they release?

Stay tuned for more Blu-Ray and DVD announcements every Saturday.


All plot synopses courtesy of IMDb.com

Coming Soon to Blu-ray and DVD

Click here for more home video announcements

Box Office Battlefield: Crimson Peak, Goosebumps, and Bridge of Spies

Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars. The weekend warriors of October 16, 2015 includes Crimson Peak, Goosebumps, and Bridge of Spies, as well as a handful of limited releases such as Room, Meadowland, and Truth. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others and determine who will be victorious. Should you see ’em, skip ’em, or rent ’em? Find out below!

Last weekend, The Martian continued its voyage into the cinematic history books at number one while Pan absolutely bombed. With more a handful of big new releases this weekend, does Matt Damon stand a chance for a three-peat? Viewer, beware, you’re in for a scare! This is the Box Office Battlefield:

Goosebumps 2015 Movie Title Logo

Goosebumps (Rob Letterman) Rated PG [103 min] – A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R.L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Greendale, Maryland. Starring Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, and Ryan Lee [Watch the Trailer]

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 72% • Audience – 77%

My review:

There is something magical about Jumanji that Goosebumps doesn’t quite have. While both films explore what happens when imaginary creatures terrorize a small suburban town and the only way to stop the madness is by sucking them back into an object by completing a task, Goosebumps doesn’t have the same amount of heart. The dialogue is fairly smart and there are some imaginative set pieces, but unfortunately the characters are very thin with little to offer, especially Ryan Lee’s Champ.

Jack Black is wonderful as R.L. Stine, however. He chews up every scene with a twinkle in his eye. It’s his best role since starring as the titular character in 2011’s Bernie. Rising stars Dylan Minnette and Odeya Rush have decent chemistry together, but again, there isn’t enough depth behind each of their characters to really root for them.

With so much rich content to draw from the pages of Stine’s classic tales, many of the monsters get thrown to the wayside and are given little to do. Too much time is devoted to Slappy the Dummy, the Abominable Snowman, and the Werewolf of Fever Swamp. There were so many fun monsters to choose from that could have made Goosebumps more thrilling.

The biggest offense this movie offers is its lack in playing by the rules. The third act becomes such a hodgepodge of convenience in order to tie up loose ends that you’d think the screenwriters ran out of paper and had to finish the rest of the story by scribbling on napkins with crayons. RENT IT!

Crimson Peak 2015 Movie Title Logo

Crimson Peak (Guillermo del Toro) Rated R [119 min] – In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds…and remembers. Starring Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston, and Charlie Hunnam [Watch the Trailer]

 Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 69% • Audience – 66%

My review:

Crimson Peak is an ambitious ghost story that fails to make its primary subjects as incredibly detailed as the film’s production design. The atmosphere and tone of the film is right where it needs to be, but the characters that inhabit this movie are too underwritten to gain an understanding of their motivations. Despite this hiccup, the actors who portray these ghastly weak characters act the hell out of this film.

The envisioned world that Guillermo del Toro has brought to life is highly commendable. From the “bleeding” walls of red clay to the twisty corridors of the manor, the visual spectacle relies too heavily on its sets and effects to create a chilling effect that it hopes you forget about asking bigger questions around the theme or the character’s actions. I wouldn’t be as quick as to call Guillermo del Toro the Michael Bay of horror movies, but all sizzle and no steak is what you’ll find with Crimson Peak. RENT IT!

Bridge of Spies 2015 Movie Title Logo

Bridge of Spies (Steven Spielberg) Rated PG-13 [135 min] – An American lawyer is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union. Starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda, and Amy Ryan [Watch the Trailer]

 Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 93% • Audience – 91%

My review:

Bridge of Spies delivers exactly what you’d come to expect from a Steven Spielberg biopic. Every aspect of this film is crafted to near perfection from the veteran filmmaker. As I’ve mentioned multiple times in the past, I’m not a period piece nor a biopic kinda guy. However, Tom Hanks is too enthralling not to be sucked in by his spectacular charisma and the cold war drama finds heart pounding tension with well-written dialogue polished by the Coen brothers.

Although Bridge of Spies is a little over two hours, I would have welcomed more scenes devoted to building the relationship between Tom Hanks’ and Mark Rylance’s characters to help make the ending feel a bit more earned. It’s not that their time isn’t valued, but with how complicated the situation is and how little time is spent with the two of them together, there isn’t enough proof to understand why Donovan is willing to do what’s right and defend Rylance’s Russian spy, Rudolf Abel. MATINEE IT!

Room 2015 Movie Title Logo

Room (Lenny Abrahamson) [Limited] Rated R [118 min] – After 5-year old Jack and his Ma escape from the enclosed surroundings that Jack has known his entire life, the boy makes a thrilling discovery: the outside world. Starring Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers, and Wendy Crewson [Watch the Trailer]

 Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 95% • Audience – 92%

My review:

Room is an impressive story of love, family, and courage. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, from an unlikely perspective that makes the traumatizing experience even more compelling. The heartfelt performances from all actors involved, especially from Brie Larson and Jacob Trembaly, are truly captivating. The brilliant dynamic between mother and son along with the dramatic undertaking they must endure is remarkably honest and poignant, but at the same time triumphant and humanizing. SEE IT!

Meadowland 2015 Movie Title Logo

Meadowland (Reed Morano) Rated R [105 min] – In the hazy aftermath of an unimaginable loss, Sarah and Phil come unhinged, recklessly ignoring the repercussions. Phil starts to lose sight of his morals; Sarah takes off on a potentially disastrous journey, falling deeper into her own fever dream. Starring Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, John Leguizamo, Ty Simpkins, Giovanni Ribisi, Juno Temple, and Elisabeth Moss [Watch the Trailer]

 Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 100% • Audience – 70%

My review:

Despite what the Tomatometer and only other 17 critics who gave Meadowland a pass are saying, this film is pretty much a waste of time. The screenplay is an absolute travesty littered with bizarre character motivations, ugly dialogue, and underutilized side characters that bring nothing to the story. The directors and actors did the best with what they were given, but even they couldn’t drag this story out of the mud. Meadowland tries very hard to bring depth to its themes through sadness porn, but it only fails miserably thanks in part to the little support given to justify the extremes it presents. SKIP IT!

Truth 2015 Movie Title Logo

Truth (James Vanderbilt) [Limited] Rated R [121 min] – Newsroom drama detailing the 2004 CBS 60 Minutes report investigating then-President George W. Bush’s military service, and the subsequent firestorm of criticism that cost anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes their careers. Starring Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid, and Elisabeth Moss [Watch the Trailer]

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 64% • Audience – 48%

Their reviews:

“Truth is fascinating and often exciting. But the film lacks the qualities of great drama that make it feel like it’s unfolding right in front of the audience.” – Noel Murray (AV Club)

“While it gives Robert Redford the opportunity to chew on scenery in the role of Rather, much of the movie cedes control to Cate Blachett, who turns Mapes into a brazen hero undone by the courage of her convictions.” – Eric Kohn (indieWIRE)

My take:

From what it seems, Cate Blanchett has given yet another awards caliber performance, but even she can’t hold up the entire weight of the movie on her shoulders. The story of Truth is no doubt fascinating and the trailer sells the movie well, so it’s sad to see that Truth is not at the level it wants to be. RENT IT!

Crimson Peak seems like the sure-fire winner that has the most to lose this weekend. It has a fun, haunted house vibe with a strong cast and spooky visuals perfect for Halloween. But don’t discount Goosebumps. Crimson Peak is rated R whereas Goosebumps PG. There hasn’t be a strong kid-friendly live action movie in quite some time, and Goosebumps has a delicious recipe for kids to enjoy. I’m sure there will be positive word of mouth and nostalgia fueling its first weekend out.

And then there’s Bridge of Spies, who bolsters a grand Tom Hanks performance. Along with its subject matter, Bridge of Spies makes a case to be a choice Oscar contender, which could draw out the elder demographics. But with that in mind it also limits the interest of potential of younger audiences.

So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be:

Winner: Goosebumps

What will you be watching this weekend? What did you think of the current releases? Tell us in the comment section below.


Movie synopses courtesy of IMDb.com and Tomatometer Scores from Rotten Tomatoes

Top 7 San Diego Film Festival Picks [2015 Features]

With the festival circuit well underway, this week I am headed to the San Diego Film Festival. Spanning only five days, September 30 through October 4, the SDFF may not be one of the larger, more recognized festivals, but in years past it has been host to some solid Oscar contenders. Within the last three years alone the SDFF has shown 12 Years a Slave, August: Osage County, Wild, Whiplash, Silver Linings Playbook, and The Imitation Game.

With so many feature films packed within a short amount of time, I’ve picked out seven of my top picks that I’m looking forward to seeing at this year’s San Diego Film Festival:

Mississippi Grind San Diego Film Festival 2015

Mississippi Grind (Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck) Rated R [108 min] – Down on his luck and facing financial hardship, Gerry teams up with younger charismatic poker player, Curtis, in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what’s been lost. Starring Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds, Yvonne Landry, and Anthony Howard

There’s been some great buzz for Mississippi Grind since its debut at Sundance earlier this year. Both Ryan Reynolds (2016’s Deadpool; The Voices; Self/Less) and Ben Mendelsohn (Slow West; Netflix’s Bloodline) have been putting out solid work within the past year, and I think it’s the camaraderie between their characters that will really bring enjoyment to moviegoers. Not only does Mississippi Grind involve gambling, but it’s also a road trip movie, which puts a nice spin on both niche genres. [Watch the trailer]

Mississippi Grind will be playing on Friday [10/2] at 3:00 pm at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.

I Smile Back San Diego Film Festival 2015

I Smile Back (Adam Salky) Rated R [85 min] – Laney Brooks does bad things. Married with kids, she takes the drugs she wants, sleeps with the men she wants, disappears when she wants. Now, with the destruction of her family looming, and temptation everywhere, Laney makes one last desperate attempt at redemption. Starring Sarah Silverman, Josh Charles, and Thomas Sadoski

I like seeing Sarah Silverman tackling roles outside her regular comedic wheelhouse. Her performance in Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz was jarring for all the right reasons. It’s when actors take these kinds of chances, to push themselves beyond their limits, is when real movie magic happens. The tone of I Smile Back comes across really heavy, but I believe Silverman is up to the task from what I’ve seen in previews. [Watch the Trailer]

I Smile Back will be playing on Friday [10/2] at 5:00 pm at the Arclight UTC theater and Saturday [10/3] at 8:30 pm at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.

Meadowland San Diego Film Festival 2015

Meadowland (Reed Morano) Rated R [105 min] – In the hazy aftermath of an unimaginable loss, Sarah and Phil come unhinged, recklessly ignoring the repercussions. Phil starts to lose sight of his morals; Sarah takes off on a potentially disastrous journey, falling deeper into her own fever dream. Starring Olivia Wilde, Giovanni Ribisi, Luke Wilson, Ty Simpkins. Juno Temple, Elisabeth Moss, and John Leguizamo

Another weighty drama – I promise not all these picks are dreary and bleak! – it’s again the lead performance that intrigues me more than anything else. Olivia Wilde (Drinking Buddies; Alpha Dog; Her) is a wonderful actress who hasn’t had a chance to shine yet. I think Meadowland will give her the opportunity to, especially with such a terrific supporting cast. [Watch the Trailer]

Meadowland will be playing on Friday [10/2] at 8:00 pm at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.

Goosebumps San Diego Film Festival 2015

Goosebumps (Rob Letterman) Rated PG [103 min] – A teenager teams up with the daughter of young adult horror author R.L. Stine after the writer’s imaginary demons are set free on the town of Greendale, Maryland. Starring Jack Black, Odeya Rush, and Halston Sage

It’s not often you see a family-friendly flick at traditional film festivals, which is why I am tickled with the idea that the SDFF chose Goosebumps as one of their features. My expectations are very, very low due to the shoddy special effects seen in the trailers and the goofiness of it all, but sometimes silly movies like these can surprise you. I loved reading R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books growing up and the film reminds me of Jumanji, so I’m letting nostalgia get the best of me here. [Watch the Trailer]

Goosebumps will be playing on Saturday [10/3] at 2:30 pm at the Arclight Theater UTC.

 

Victoria San Diego Film Festival 2015

Victoria (Sebastian Schipper) Unrated [138 min] – While on holiday in Berlin, a young woman finds her flirtation with a local guy turn potentially deadly as their night out with his friends reveals its secret: the four men owe someone a dangerous favor that requires repaying that evening. Starring Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, and Franz Rogowski

Looking to make Birdman seem like child’s play, Victoria is the latest attempt in presenting a story in a single take. Cruising through the awards circuit, this Germanic film is scorching with praise for its innovation and intensity. From the concept to the buzz to the plot, that’s enough to get me on board. And the fact that the run time is longer than Birdman and still manages to captivate audiences is quite impressive. [Watch the Trailer]

Victoria will be playing on Saturday [10/3] at 7:30 pm at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.

Moments of Clarity San Diego Film Festival 2015

Moments of Clarity (Stev Elam) Unrated [97 min] – A repressed agoraphobic’s daughter meets a hardened pastor’s daughter, and while escaping their homes to attend the annual church youth group jamboree they discover their worlds aren’t what they once thought they were. Starring Lyndsy Fonseca, Kristin Wallace, Eric Roberts, and Marguerite Moreau

If you’re looking for a more adult romp, Moments of Clarity might be right up your alley. With hints of a semi faith-based story, there’s a certain coming-of-age vibe that I’m feeling introduces a unique perspective. I’m a fan of Lyndsy Fonseca’s work in Kick-Ass and Agent Carter, so seeing her in a starring role catches my attention. Moments of Clarity has been making waves on the indie-circuit too, which says to me that there is more to this movie than meets the eye. [Watch the Trailer]

Moments of Clarity will be playing on Saturday [10/3] at 1:00 pm and Sunday [10/4] at 4:00 pm, both screenings at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.

Surprise Spotlight Movie San Diego Film Festival 2015 copy

Surprise Spotlight Film – Last year, the SDFF surprised festival goers with Whiplash. And if my sleuthing proves correct, this year’s Surprise Spotlight Film will be yet another huge Oscar contender. I won’t spoil the surprise, but this film was the talk of the town at TIFF.

The Surprise Spotlight Film will be playing on Saturday [10/3] at 6:30 pm at the Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.