'X-Men,' 'Tarzan,' 'Ghostbusters' are on Blu-ray, DVD this week
Posted October 14
Three films that were highly anticipated during the summer make their way to Blu-ray and DVD this week: “X-Men Apocalypse,” “The Legend of Tarzan” and “Ghostbusters.”
“X-Men: Apocalypse” (Fox, 2016, PG-13, deleted/extended scenes, audio commentary, documentary, featurette, art/photo gallery, bloopers). Bryan Singer is once again at the helm for this ninth film in the franchise, with the young X-Men team going up against the legendary first mutant, Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), who has awakened after thousands of years and isn’t happy to see that humans are ruling the planet. James McAvoy heads the ensemble cast with Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and others returning.
“The Legend of Tarzan” (Warner, 2016, PG-13, featurettes). Hey, you can’t have too many Tarzans. Or maybe you can. As this umpteenth retelling, or “reboot,” of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ stories unfolds in the late 19th century, Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) has left the jungle and returned to his British roots as Lord Greystoke. But he’s lured back to vine-swinging when an American envoy (Samuel L. Jackson) tells him the Congolese are being enslaved. Margot Robbie plays Jane and Christopher Waltz is the chief villain.
“Ghostbusters” (Columbia, 2016, PG-13, theatrical and extended versions, deleted/alternate/extended scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, photo gallery). Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon are the distaff title characters, with Chris Hemsworth as their receptionist. But this time around it’s an undisciplined, unfocused and unwieldy remake, which can’t hold a candle to the original as special effects rule and everyone’s allowed to endlessly riff, which gets old quickly (especially McKinnon). Even cameo appearances by the original film’s cast members fall flat.
“Phantom of the Theatre” (Well Go, 2016, not rated/probable PG-13, in Mandarin with English subtitles). An opulent but abandoned theater in 1930s Shanghai is restored, and the spirits of an acrobatic troupe that was murdered in a 13-years-earlier fire haunt the place. When a first-time filmmaker takes over the facility to make a horror flick, the restless and vengeful spirits object.
“Sherpa” (Lionsgate, 2016, not rated/probable PG-13, deleted scenes, featurette). This is a documentary about Mount Everest from a Sherpa’s point of view was filmed during the tragic climbing season of 2014 when 16 Sherpas were killed in an ice avalanche. As a result, the film takes on more depth as it explores the events that followed, with Sherpas demanding the shutting down of the season.
“Blinky Bill: The Movie” (Shout! Kids, 2016, PG, featurettes, music video). Based on a 1930s anthropomorphic koala in a children’s book series, this Australian animated feature has Blinky traversing the outback in search of his missing father. Voice cast includes Rufus Sewell, Toni Collette and Barry Humphries. This feature was followed in Australia by a TV series.
“Blood Father” (Lionsgate, 2016, R for violence and language, featurette). Mel Gibson demonstrates his big-screen charisma as an ex-con on parole who gives up the safety of his inert lifestyle to rescue his estranged daughter (Erin Moriarty), who is mixed up in a deadly game of cat and mouse with vicious drug runners. This kinetic action flick has an ’80s vibe, which may be unintentional. William H. Macy co-stars.
“Les Cowboys” (Cohen, 2016, R for violence and drugs, in French with English subtitles, featurette, trailer, eight-page booklet). Set in contemporary Europe against the culture clash between French nationals and the Muslim community, this timely twist on John Ford’s “The Searchers” has a father desperately searching for his daughter, who has vanished in the company of her Muslim boyfriend. John C. Reilly has a small English-speaking role.
“The Infiltrator” (Broadgreen, 2016, R for language, sex and drugs, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes). Bryan Cranston is good as real-life federal agent Robert Mazur, who went deep undercover to infiltrate Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel in 1986, but the film is overly familiar and routinely structured. Co-stars include John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger, Benjamin Bratt and Amy Ryan.
“Approaching the Unknown” (Paramount, 2016, R for language). This sci-fi yarn is basically a character study of an astronaut (Mark Strong) heading to Mars on a one-way mission, a first step toward future colonization. Luke Wilson and Sanaa Lathan co-star.
“Diary of a Chambermaid” (Cohen, 2016, not rated/probable R for sex, in French with English subtitles, featurette, trailer, eight-page booklet). Léa Seydoux stars in this fourth film version of the novel by Octave Mirbeau about a put-upon chambermaid abused by her bourgeois employers, but without the ironic ending.
“Len & Company” (IFC, 2016, not rated/probable R for language). Comedy-drama about a punk-rock producer (Rhys Ifans) who has quit the business and retreated to his New York home when he is unexpectedly invigorated by an visit from his estranged son (Jack Kilmer) and a pop-star protégé (Juno Temple).
“Broken Vows” (Lionsgate, 2016; R for violence, language, sex). An about-to-be-married woman cheats on her future husband with a psycho who begins stalking her in this gender-switch on “Fatal Attraction.”
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.