Welcome back to This Week In Discs where we check out tomorrow’s new releases today!
A nightmarish tribe of frontier cannibals abducts a young woman and absconds with her into the hills, and four men head off in pursuit. The woman’s husband (Patrick Wilson) sees it as a priority, the sheriff (Kurt Russell) and deputy (Richard Jenkins) see it as their duty, and Matthew Fox just wants to shoot some savages.
I know what you’re thinking. “Rob. You’ve spent three, long, lonely months as one of the only people online to voice anything but thunderous praise for Bone Tomahawk, but now you’ve chosen it as your Pick of the Week? It is the opinion of this reader that you have been bribed by Patrick Wilson.” I’m still not a real fan of the film despite the enormous promise of its cast and story ‐ a re-watch confirms its terrible structure/pacing, massive script issues, showy dialogue, and frequently sketchy acting ‐ and while Russell and the gore effects are stellar the movie is an unfortunate misfire. That said, I do love it when people love movies, so while I disagree wholeheartedly with the adoration I’ll settle for being happy that a genre western film has found an audience.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, alternate ending, Q&A]
Umm, let’s keep it moving, there’s nothing to see here.
A trio of thieves (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Dave Bautista, some other guy) rob a casino but find their getaway hobbled armed bad guys and the police. They take a bus loaded with passengers hostage and make a run for the border, but the man (Robert De Niro) whose money they stole has influence on both sides of the law. This is a more competently entertaining direct-to-DVD thriller than most, and it earns points for executing the bus action practically instead of digitally. The script is both twisty and slight, but it avoids the sin of dullness. Also, if you’re going to cast Gina Carano in your movie maybe give her more than two seconds of fighting to do.
[DVD extras: Commentary, deleted scenes, making of, interviews]
Hitman: Agent 47
A genetically-enhanced, follicle-challenged assassin named Agent 47 (Rupert Friend) teams up with a woman hiding some secrets of her own to take down a sinister organization bent on creating unstoppable killers. This is the second adaptation of the popular Hitman games, and while there’s some fun here it’s definitely the lesser of the two. Friend is no Timothy Olyphant, and Hannah Ware is no Olga Kurylenko. Some of the action beats are creatively executed, but the overly excessive use of CG hurts the overall experience.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, hit counter, featurette, comic book]
Jenny (Katherine Heigl) is happily and proudly in love with another woman (Alexis Bledel), but while it’s common knowledge to everyone else her family are still in the dark as to her sexuality. She attempts to overcome that last hurdle when the two decide to get married, but the news hits her family in unexpected and less than ideal ways. Heigl hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to films ‐ she’s chosen her projects poorly, to say the least ‐ but she fares far better with this smaller release. There’s still romance and comedy here, but it’s the character and heart that carry it along. The story is plenty predictable, but even knowing what beats are coming the characters manage to make it compelling.
[DVD extras: Featurette]
The Perfect Guy
Leah (Sanaa Lathan) has a respectable corporate job and the love of a good man (Morris Chestnut), but after she breaks it off with him she discovers a sexy, dangerous alternative waiting in the wings. Carter (Michael Ealy) is an IT specialist and computer wiz, but their promising relationship takes a dark turn when she discovers his violent, obsessive side. The film adds nothing new to the “crazy stalker” sub-genre, and the PG-13 rating doesn’t leave much room for sexy shenanigans, but it’s solidly-crafted in its genericness. The script makes some odd/lazy choices too that potentially enhance the immediate thrills but lack anything resembling logic. It’s good seeing Holt McCallany though.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of]
Ray Donovan: Season Three
Ray (Liev Schreiber) continues to be the city’s best “fixer” despite the dramas dropped upon him by the job, his criminal father (Jon Voight), and the arrival of a wealthy newcomer (Ian McShane) and his alluring daughter (Katie Holmes). The stories and characters that make up season three of Showtime’s modest hit are never all that engaging, but thankfully the performances continue to pick up the slack. There’s fun to be had watching the various talents interact and clash even if it’s in service of fairly mundane plotting. The pay network’s home video releases are typically light on extras, but this one is utterly devoid of special features.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]
Shameless: The Complete Fifth Season
Frank (William H. Macy) is still an absolutely terrible father, but there’s hope for him yet after a liver transplant limits his alcoholic intake. Well, maybe “hope” isn’t the right word. His family members come with their own troubles, as do the friends and strangers that cross their paths, but through it all they remain miserable people. Like Showtime’s other release this week, this series is strongest in the area of performances. Macy, Emmy Rossum, and others make misery engaging, and while it’s difficult to like the characters it’s impossible not to like the performers.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, commentary, deleted scenes]
A Walk In the Woods
Bill Bryson (Robert Redford) is a travel writer looking for the next challenge or topic, but when he sets upon the idea of hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail he discovers the challenge just might be too great. An old friend (Nick Nolte) tags along, and together they reflect and argue against the beautiful backdrop of nature. That last bit is actually one of two big issues with an otherwise harmless and casually entertaining film. There’s gorgeous scenery throughout, but there are also a few moments of hideous CG/green-screen work. The other issue is that their banter just isn’t all that interesting. There are moments, and the supporting cast finds small beats, but the two acting legends don’t generate much between them.
[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, PSA, outtakes]
Blood and Black Lace (Arrow Video), God of Thunder, I Believe In Unicorns
Related Topics: Home Video