'Ghost in the Shell,' 'The Circle' on Blu-ray/DVD and other video platforms
Posted July 27
Recent theatrical films “Ghost in the Shell,” “The Circle” and “Unforgettable” are on Blu-ray, DVD and a variety of other video platforms this week.
“Ghost in the Shell” (Paramount, 2017, PG-13, featurettes). The setting for this eye-popping visual extravaganza is the near future, with robotics advanced to a stage where most people have received some sort of cyber-augmentation. But, of course, a nefarious secret program is under way as a ravaged accident victim (Scarlett Johansson) receives a mechanical body, or “shell,” that turns her into a super-warrior. And when she begins having memory flashes, she defies her superiors to learn about her past. Johansson delivers the goods and the effects are great, but the plot and action scenes are the same-old, same-old.
“The Circle” (Lionsgate, 2017, PG-13, featurettes). As a cautionary tale, this paranoia thriller is a bit late in coming. Emma Watson gets a job at a giant social media company and quickly rises in the ranks. But she eventually discovers that the overly welcoming atmosphere disguises its pernicious surveillance of the world’s population. Watson seems a bit too naïve for us to identify with, though bearded Tom Hanks fares better as her charming, if oily, boss.
“Unforgettable” (Warner, 2017; R for sex, violence, language, partial nudity; deleted scene, audio commentary, featurette). Yet another variation on “Fatal Attraction,” this time with Katherine Heigl as a crazy ex-wife framing her ex-husband’s new girlfriend (Rosario Dawson) for murder. Heigl and Dawson aren’t bad but the material is so hackneyed that it’s completely devoid of thrills and/or chills. Cheryl Ladd shows up in an atypical role.
“The Final Master” (Well Go, 2017, not rated/probable PG-13, in Mandarin with English subtitles, featurettes, trailer). Chen (Fan Liao) is the last Chinese grandmaster of the martial arts form of Wing Chun. He arrives in Tianjin in the 1930s to open a school, but, naturally, runs into opposition and finds himself caught up in a power struggle. It is more serious-minded and story-driven than most martial arts efforts.
“Black Butterfly” (Lionsgate, 2017, R for language, audio commentary, featurette, trailer). Antonio Banderas is a writer who takes a drifter (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) to his remote Colorado cabin and offers him shelter, but then begins to suspect he may be a serial killer the police are looking for. This cat-and-mouse thriller builds fairly well but ultimately falls apart with not one but two twist endings, neither very satisfactory.
“Psychoanalysis” (Candy Factory, 2017, not rated/probable R for language). A groundbreaking suicide-prevention psychoanalyst (Benedict Wall) is about to receive a prestigious award when it’s revealed that five of his patients have taken their lives within a week. After he’s suspended, he suggests his clients were murdered and attempts to shift suspicion to a colleague. This Australian film unfolds as if it’s a documentary, ultimately turning the tables on the filmmaker.
“Pretty Little Liars: The Seventh and Final Season” (Warner, 2017, four discs, 20 episodes, wrap-party special, deleted scenes, featurettes). In the fifth season, this mystery soap opera series leaped forward five years with the girls, now young adults, reunited in Rosewood and facing a new threat. This season finds them vowing to take down “Uber A” once and for all.
“Girls: The Complete Sixth Season” (HBO, 2017, two discs, 10 episodes, extended version of final episode, audio commentary, featurettes). In this final season, Lena Dunham and crew wrap up the sleazy sitcom about 20-something women in New York navigating career and romantic choices.
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 email@example.com.