'Batman v Superman' arrives on Blu-ray, DVD this week
Posted August 3, 2016
Despite taking a drubbing from both critics and fans, “Batman v Superman” earned more than $300 million domestically and rests at the No. 6 spot for highest-grossing movies of the year so far on Box Office Mojo’s website. It’s on Blu-ray and DVD this week, and as promised, for good or ill, the “Ultimate Edition” includes an R-rated extended version.
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Edition” (Warner, 2016, PG-13/R, three discs, two versions of the film, featurettes). There probably doesn’t need to be much said about the quality of this one as it has been hashed over and rehashed in the months since its March release (including by me in an earlier column). It’s not unwatchable, just disappointing — dour, humorless, a bit confusing in its motivations and with an unbearably obnoxious turn by Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.
Fans are no doubt most curious about the “Ultimate Edition,” which features the PG-13 version along with the much-touted R-rated extended version. As befits a longer film, some plot points are clarified and some characters fleshed out, with more screen time for both Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Eisenberg. The R rating is for violence, and there is more blood, although whether it actually pushes content enough to rise to an R is debatable. But then the movie-rating board has always had more of a problem with fantasies that show too much blood than with more “realistic” films.
It should be noted that this is not a slapped-together revision of the film with deleted scenes reinserted; it’s director Zack Snyder’s original vision, and it is easier to follow. Apparently, the theatrical film is the slapped-together revision, which may explain some of its incoherence. But the extended version is still dour and disappointing, and it still feels overlong, which, at a full three hours, is what you might expect.
“Elvis & Nixon” (Sony, 2016, R for language, audio commentary, featurette). In 1970, Elvis Presley showed up unannounced at the White House and charmed his way into a meeting with President Richard Nixon, wherein Elvis offered to be an undercover narc. That much is true, but since the meeting was not recorded, the rest of this film is pure speculation, albeit amusing and entertaining thanks largely to striking performances by Michael Shannon as Elvis and Kevin Spacey as Nixon.
“A Perfect Day” (IFC, 2016, R for language, featurettes, trailer). In 1995, a group of maverick combat-zone humanitarians (Benicio Del Toro, Tim Robbins, Melanie Thierry) in the Balkins need to remove a dead body from a well before it contaminates drinking water, but obtaining rope for the job becomes an exercise in futility. This dark wartime satire is unique in its approach and as funny as it is tragic. Olga Kurylenko co-stars.
“Kill Zone 2” (Well Go, 2016, not rated/probable R for violence, deleted scenes, featurette, trailer). This in-name-only sequel to the 2005 “Kill Zone” (sans Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung) features Thai martial arts star Tony Jaa (“Ong-Bak”) as a cop moonlighting as a prison guard in a corrupt penitentiary. He finds that a Chinese inmate (Wu Jing) is a bone marrow match for his daughter, who needs a transplant, but the warden wants him dead. Forget the plot and enjoy the eye-popping stunt choreography.
“Miles Ahead” (Sony Classics, 2016; R for language, drugs, sex, nudity, violence; audio commentary, featurettes). Don Cheadle co-wrote, directed and stars in this gritty musical biography of jazz legend Miles Davis. The film is based on a period in the 1970s when Davis dropped off the radar for five years. Here, a music reporter (Ewan McGregor) spends a few days with Davis, who is bent on recovering a tape of new compositions that has been stolen.
“The Perfect Match” (Lionsgate, 2016; R for sex, nudity, language; audio commentary, featurettes). Believing he’s immune to love, playboy Charlie (Terrence J) makes a bet that he can date a woman for a month without developing deep feelings for her in this romantic comedy. But when he begins dating Eva (Cassie Ventura) and does fall for her, she’s not interested. Donald Faison and Paula Patton are among the co-stars.
“My Best Friend” (Lionsgate, 2016, G, featurettes, “Miniscule” episodes, trailers). “My Friend Flicka” meets “Mister Ed” in this childish kids movie about a tween city girl (Alexis Rosinsky) who has trouble fitting in when she’s transplanted to the country. But a telepathically chatty horse helps her out. “Dukes of Hazzard” veteran Catherine Bach co-stars.
“The Martial Arts Kid” (Traditionz, 2016, not rated, deleted scenes, audio commentary, trailer). Yes, it’s just what you think it is. A troubled kid (Jansen Panettiere) is sent to live with his aunt and uncle, who just happen to be martial arts stars Cynthia Rothrock and Don “The Dragon” Wilson. There’s even a self-referential “wax on, wax off” joke that alludes to “The Karate Kid.”
“Underdogs” (Weinstein/Anchor Bay, 2013, PG, featurette). Toy foosball-table figures come to life to help a young man defeat the town-bully-turned-soccer-star in this animated feature from Argentina. It has been dubbed in English with a voice cast that includes Nicholas Hoult, Eugenio Derbez, John Leguizamo and Mel Brooks.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at www.hicksflicks.com and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.