Movies to watch on Blu-Ray and DVD: American Made, Logan Lucky, and more
Out on December 26 and January 1
Channing Tatum and Adam Driver orchestrate a heist. Tiffany Haddish proves handy with a killer quip.
Yes, here’s the new DVD and Blu-Ray releases coming out in the next two weeks. Click on for our reviews of American Made, Logan Lucky, Animal Factory, Batman Vs Two-Face, Céline and Julie Go Boating, The Vikings, Girls Trip, The Philadelphia Story, The Villainess, Jumanji, and Cars 3.
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If you like your Tom Cruise characters served a touch on the amoral side (think Magnolia (opens in new tab), Eyes Wide Shut (opens in new tab)), this rambunctious reunion with Edge of Tomorrow (opens in new tab) (2014) director Doug Liman will be just the ticket.
Cruise plays Barry Seal, a real-life former commercial pilot who in the ’70s became a CIA gun-runner and major drug smuggler for Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel. Liman is back to the freewheeling days of Go (1999), while the dismantling of that all-American hero image does Cruise the world of good, especially post-Mummy (opens in new tab).
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes, Featurettes
Director: Doug Liman; Starring: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright; Digital HD release: December 18, 2017; DVD, BD, 4K release: December 26, 2017
Steven Soderbergh treads a thin line between celebrating and satirising redneck Americana in an entertainingly slight (as opposed to slightly entertaining) blue-collar heist caper. Channing Tatum and Adam Driver play ill-starred brothers who, together with sis Riley Keough, decide to empty a Nascar bank vault on the year’s biggest race day.
Their scheme involves a temporary jail-break, an awol arm and a few too many A-listers (Seth MacFarlane, Hilary Swank, a blond-barneted Daniel Craig) hamming it up for the camera.
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes, Interview
Director: Steven Soderbergh; Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig; Digital HD release: December 18, 2017; DVD, BD, UHD release: December 26, 2017
“All that wild stuff you don’t typically attribute to women? We filmed it anyway, and didn’t care!” Director Malcolm D. Lee is unabashed about his smash-hit all-girl raunch comedy, a raucous but bighearted ensemble outing that makes Bridesmaids (opens in new tab) and Bad Moms (opens in new tab) look positively demure.
Riffing on the pleasures and pains of friendship exposed on a New Orleans wild weekend for Queen Latifah’s broke journalist, Jada Pinkett Smith’s nervy divorcee, Regina Hall’s cheated-on self-help guru and party-girl Tiffany Haddish, it’s a rollicking ride.
Flaunting his key strength – the comic set-piece – Lee pitches his game foursome into an absinthe-fuelled round of wild nightclub hallucinations, a dance-off homage to girl-gangster classic Set It Off and a hilarious public payback on Hall’s errant husband.
Already famous for its outrageous zipline scene, it embraces the rude and crude with enthusiasm. Cheerfully sex-positive – one sex tip demo may do for grapefruit what American Pie did for baked goods – it’s keen to let its fortyish heroines get down to business.
Yes, it’s sentimental about the ‘Flossy Posse’s best-friends-forever bond. But its stars’ likeable group vibe makes the one-for-all theme stick. Sassy in the bonus interviews and dynamite on screen, motor-mouthed clown Tiffany Haddish is deservedly the film’s breakout star. Handy with a killer quip, or a broken bottle, she’s a one-woman riot.
EXTRAS: Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted scenes, Outtakes
Director: Malcolm D. Lee; Starring: Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith; DVD, BD, Digital HD release: December 4, 2017
In these days of smartphones, streaming and steroid-pumping blockbusters, there’s something truly endearing about a kids’ film revolving around a board game. Sure, Jumanji has its share of then-pioneering SFX, but more than two decades after its cinema release, its anarchic action and old-school heart and humour lend it a charm beyond the reach of most modern tentpoles.
Rewatching anything with Robin Williams, of course, brings added poignancy. Released during the star’s box-office heyday, it showcases one of his best go-for-broke performances. He plays man-child Alan Parrish, who was sucked into the titular game as a kid and only reemerges in the present day when siblings Judy (Kirsten Dunst) and Peter (Bradley Pierce) roll the dice.
Determined to finish the game, the trio enlist fourth player Sarah (a wildly funny Bonnie Hunt), leading to spats with knife-tossing monkeys, poisonous mosquitos and asthmatic rhinos.
Expertly marshalling the comedy-horror chaos, director Joe Johnston brings Spielbergian warmth to the family drama, and a darker edge to the jungle chaos. While the CG stampedes have dated, it’s Williams who’s the real special effect, hopping effortlessly between screaming hilarity and blue-eyed pathos. Imminent sequel Welcome to the Jungle (opens in new tab) has some big, stomping shoes to fill.
EXTRAS: Commentary, Featurettes, Gag reel, Deleted scenes, Motion storybook, Galleries, Animated TV episodes
Director: Joe Johnston; Starring: Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt; Dual Format (BD/4K) release: November 6, 2017
One lesser-known off-shoot of Reservoir Dogs was this hard-hitting prison drama, directed by Steve Buscemi (Mr. Pink) from a semi-autobiographical novel and screenplay by Eddie Bunker (Mr. Blue), a real-life hardened crim in his early days. Terminator 2’s Edward Furlong plays cocky kid turned incarcerated felon Ron Decker.
Behind bars, he finds a friend against the likes of Tom Arnold’s sexual predator in Willem Dafoe’s canny veteran. Through him Furlong learns the ropes, works the system and eventually plots escape in a film that breathes authenticity, even when Mickey Rourke appears as a con in drag.
EXTRAS: Commentary, Featurettes
Director: Steve Buscemi; Starring: Willem Dafoe, Edward Furlong, Danny Trejo; DVD, BD release: November 20, 2017
Batman Vs Two-Face
Last year’s animated Return of the Caped Crusaders gets a daft, camp sequel that again honours the daft, camp spirit of the 1960s Bat-show. In a fitting final performance, Adam West reprises his starring role alongside series regulars Burt Ward (Robin) and Julie Newmar (Catwoman).
William Shatner joins them as Harvey Dent to head a ridiculous plot about an evil-sucking machine that goes wrong. Extras include a Comic-Con tribute to West and a featurette on Ward’s dog-welfare activities.
Director: Rick Morales; Starring: Adam West, Burt Ward, William Shatner; DVD, BD, Digital HD release: October 30, 2017
Céline and Julie Go Boating
In English, Jacques Rivette’s New Wave masterpiece sounds like some boring romcom about pedalos. But to “go boating” in French, “vont en bateau”, is to go crazy by getting caught up in a complicated story, which is much more fitting. Rivette’s film within a film is like a Henry James rewrite of Alice in Wonderland (via Marcel Proust).
Deconstructing the art of storytelling and cinema itself, it’s way, way more fun than it sounds. This crisp new 2K restoration comes with scholarly extras including video essay and vintage documentary.
EXTRAS: Commentary, Video essay, Booklet
Director: Jacques Rivette; Starring: Juliet Berto, Dominique Labourier, Bulle Ogier; BD release: November 20, 2017
Forget the grit and grue of the current Vikings series – and forget even the most half-hearted attempt at historical accuracy, too (though it is loosely based on a 9th Century Norse saga). Richard Fleischer’s swashbuckler is about as authentic a Viking story as Thor, but that doesn’t stop it from being a rollicking epic – one that took a battering ram to the tired old sword ’n’ sandals genre in 1958.
Gorgeously shot by Jack Cardiff, narrated by Orson Welles and starring Kirk Douglas and Ernest Borgnine in full roar, it’s a tale of two battling half-brothers (Douglas, Tony Curtis) that’s only improved with age.
EXTRAS: Commentary, Features, Booklet
Director: Richard Fleischer; Starring: Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Ernest Borgnine; BD release: October 16, 2017
Opening with a seven-minute, retina-busting action sequence that’s arguably the best fight scene of 2017, making Oldboy look, well, old, Jung Byung-gil’s La Femme Nikita-style genre piece is a riotously entertaining, ultra-bloody adren-athon.
Thirst star Kim Ok-bin plays the vengeful assassin enlisted by the South Korean National Intelligence Service to do their dirty work in return for potentially earning her freedom. The romance subplot is a bit of a snore, but each and every time the missions kick in again, The Villainess soars.
EXTRAS: Commentary, Booklet
Director: Byung-gil Jung; Starring: Ok-bin Kim, Ha-kyun Shin, Jun Sung; DVD, BD, Digital HD release: October 30, 2017
If we’re a long way from peak Pixar, this racing threequel, from animator-turned-director Brian Fee, at least clocks a series best. Thankfully doing away with Cars 2’s globe-zooming spy games, it goes back to homely, small-town basics, with Piston Cup champ Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) in danger of being overtaken by a new generation of high-tech racers, such as Armie Hammer’s Jackson Storm.
The result is a tender tale about ageing, legacy and letting go. Extras include theatrical short Lou plus new-to-Blu ‘mini-movie’ Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool.
EXTRAS: Commentary (BD), Featurettes (BD), Shorts
Director: Brian Fee; Starring: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper; DVD, BD, Digital HD release: November 13, 2017
The Philadelphia Story
The last word in screwball decadence before WW2 spoiled the party, George Cukor’s satire is the genre’s gold standard. The film is that rarity: a US comedy of manners to match Wodehouse, balancing withering sarcasm and grudging admiration for its pampered elite.
Cukor directs with the assurance that comes from having an unimprovable cast. Who better to sweeten the story’s bitter pill than haughty/naughty Katharine Hepburn, impish Cary Grant and Oscar-winning James Stewart?
EXTRAS: Commentary, Documentaries, Radio version
Director: George Cukor; Starring: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart; BD release: November 13, 2017