Out on 28 November and 5 December
Matt Damon delves into his past with Jason Bourne. Michael Shannon does an Elvis impression. Nicolas Winding Refn bites into the fashion world.
Yes, here’s the new DVD and Blu-Ray releases coming out in the next two weeks. Click on for our reviews of Jason Bourne, Elvis & Nixon, Central Intelligence, The Neon Demon, Dark Water, Day for Night, Odds Against Tomorrow, Labyrinth, and Tales of Halloween.
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He’s put through his paces with typical aplomb by Paul Greengrass, whose high-velocity vérité fuelled Supremacy and Ultimatum, but no amount of charging through Athens, Rome, Berlin, London and Las Vegas can quite disguise there’s no real reason to come back. Better than a lot of action movies but weaker than the original trilogy.
Director: Paul Greengrass; Starring: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander; BD, DVD, 4K release: November 26, 2016
Elvis & Nixon
Liza Johnson’s film transforms a historical footnote – the iconic, improbable 1970 meeting between pop star and President – into a likeable, if lightweight, shaggy-dog tale. Michael Shannon captures the complex, late-career Elvis Presley, jaded in stardom and yearning for political clout. Kevin Spacey makes for an uncanny, cantankerous Richard Nixon.
Their oddball chemistry is a delight, but it’s frustrating how easily Johnson settles for whimsy when the material offers such a surreal, subversive slant on its electrifying era. Pitched as pop-culture cosplay caper, it struggles to justify feature length.
Director: Liza Johnson; Starring: Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey; DVD, Digital HD release: October 31, 2016
Kevin Hart may be the fast-talking funnyman on fine form, but he’s still no match for Dwayne Johnson being a big goofy doofus in this stupidly funny action-comedy. The Rock plays CIA force-of-nature Bob Stone, boasting a body of pure muscle and the fragile mind of his once fat, bullied former self.
Framed while on a mission, Bob enlists the help of his old homecoming king, Calvin (Hart), who’s now in a rut. Johnson steals every scene.
EXTRAS: Commentary, Gag reel, Dance-off, Line-o-rama
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber; Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Danielle Nicolet; DVD, BD, Digital HD release: October 31, 2016
The Neon Demon
Ever since the immersive audio-visual tapestry of Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn has been serving up diminishing returns. TND is no different – a self-indulgent mood piece that looks (literally) bloody gorgeous but is as vapid as its characters.
Centring on green teen Jesse (Elle Fanning) as she climbs the LA modelling ladder, Refn uses a sledgehammer to make his one point: that youth and beauty is murderously prided above all else in a shallow world. Stunning – Natasha Braier’s cinematography and Clint Martinez’s score are pristine – but emotionally sterile.
EXTRAS: Commentary, Featurettes, Image gallery
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn; Starring: Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves; DVD, BD, Digital HD release: October 31, 2016
In the midst of a fraught custody battle, a single mum (Hitomi Kuroki) and her six-year-old daughter (Rio Kanno) encounter spooky goings-on in their dilapidated block of flats, from which a small girl has gone missing. Big on atmosphere, sound and set design, Hideo Nakata’s traditionally minded ghost story leaks an overwhelming sense of sadness from every frame.
Less celebrated than the director’s Ringu it may be, but it’s every bit as compelling, and was remade in Hollywood starring Jennifer Connelly. Extras include interviews with Nakata and writer Koji Suzuki.
EXTRAS: Making Of, Interviews
Director: Hideo Nakata; Starring: Hitomi Kuroki, Rio Kanno, Mirei Oguchi; DVD, BD release: October 10, 2016
Day for Night
François Truffaut’s glorious tribute to the collaborative joys of filmmaking continues to enchant. The French auteur casts himself as a director shooting a romantic melodrama in Nice: among the myriad problems are the inability of the lead actress (Valeria Cortese) to remember her lines, a cat that won’t drink milk on cue and the death of one of the actors before filming’s been completed.
Extras on this Criterion UK Blu-ray include a lucid explanation by academic Dudley Andrew of how the film prompted an irreversible rift between Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard.
EXTRAS: Documentary, Featurettes, Essay
Director: François Truffaut; Starring: Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Léaud, François Truffaut; BD release: October 24, 2016
Odds Against Tomorrow
Directed by the workmanlike Robert Wise (The Sound of Music), Odds is a brooding, hard-bitten thriller bringing together a cracking cast: Robert Ryan, Harry Belafonte, Ed Begley, Shelley Winters, Gloria Grahame. Ryan, here at his craggy best, is the hardened ex-con providing the muscle in a crew planning a bank heist.
Right from the start we’re left in little doubt that it’s an enterprise doomed to disaster, not least for the racial tensions threatening to rip the gang apart. It’s all backed by a great moody jazz score by John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet.
EXTRAS: Introduction, Interviews, Booklet
Director: Robert Wise; Starring: Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, Gloria Grahame; Dual Format release: October 24, 2016
Fur-ball fans disappointed by 2009’s BD reissue of Jim Henson’s cult-ish fantasy should gobble up this 30th revisit. The restoration looks lovely and the extras include a David Bowie tribute, with Jennifer Connelly on hand to reflect on her turn as a teenager who has 13 hours to solve the labyrinth.
Even as the plot gets lost, the muppet menagerie and Connelly’s smarts sustain interest. But it’s Bowie who steals the show: crafting the Goblin King as a vain rocker, he maxed the self-parody winningly.
EXTRAS: Commentary, PiP, Featurettes, Q&A, Making Of
Director: Jim Henson; Starring: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud; DVD, BD release: October 10, 2016
Tales of Halloween
Featuring 10 loosely connected tales, this old-school horror anthology serves up serial killers, ghouls, monsters, evil kids and more. The standard rarely soars but doesn’t plummet either, with each macabre mini-movie doing just enough to keep the project’s blood circulating, if not viewers’ hearts racing.
Still, Neil Marshall’s ‘Bad Seed’ section is a hoot, employing rubbery animatronics to bring a man-eating GMO pumpkin to glorious life.
EXTRAS: Commentaries, Deleted scenes, Video diaries, Featurettes, Galleries
Directors: Darren Lynn Bousman, Axelle Carolyn; Starring: Adrienne Barbeau, Hunter Smit, Cameron Easton; DVD, BD release: October 24, 2016