'Young Messiah,' 'Eddie the Eagle' on Blu-ray and DVD this week
Posted June 20
A faith film based on Anne Rice’s novel “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt,” which postulates about the life of Jesus as a child, is on Blu-ray and DVD this week.
“The Young Messiah” (Universal, 2016, PG-13, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurette). The film portrays Jesus at age 7 as he is beginning to perform miracles, and Mary and Joseph discuss (endlessly) how to reveal to the boy his true parentage.
Meanwhile, Satan (called “The Demon” here) is tempting the lad to come over to the dark side, and the new king, the son of the late King Herod, has charged a tribune with finding and killing the child. Oh, and there’s a bombastic uncle hanging around for comic relief.
Obviously, this account is speculative fiction since no such biblical history exists. As a tribute to Christianity, it’s an interesting idea, although whether we really need a made-up addition to the greatest story ever told is up for debate.
“Eddie the Eagle” (Fox, 2016, PG-13, featurettes, photo gallery). Excellent performances from Taron Egerton as the title character and Hugh Jackman as his coach bolster this uplifting tale of an awkward young Englishman who, through sheer force of will, becomes an unlikely Olympic ski jumper. This underdog sports film is based on a true story and manages to be highly entertaining, thoroughly invigorating and very funny.
“10 Cloverfield Lane” (Paramount, 2016, PG-13, audio commentary, featurettes). This thriller is mostly a gripping cat-and-mouse yarn about a car-crash victim (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who awakens to find herself held prisoner in an underground bunker by an unstable and perhaps delusional survivalist (John Goodman) who claims an apocalyptic attack has left the world uninhabitable. If you saw “Cloverfield,” you know where this sequel is headed. My wife didn’t and thought the ending was a cop-out. This second film is better-directed than the first film, and Goodman really shines.
“Quackerz” (Shout! Kids, 2016, PG, featurette, storyboards). An isolated island of Mandarin ducks is invaded by the Military Mallards in this cute and silly minor cartoon feature for kids. Subplots include a witch threatening to destroy the sun and a “Romeo and Juliet” romance. This colorful Chinese-Russian coproduction is dubbed in English.
“Hello, My Name is Doris” (Sony, 2016, R for language, deleted scenes/alternate opening, audio commentary). Sally Field dips her toe in the awkward-comedy genre as a lonely spinster who misinterprets the friendliness of a much-younger co-worker (Max Greenfield) as romance. Field is great and single-handedly holds up this goofy farce, which also has a tinge of sadness (and some unnecessary R-rated language). Tyne Daly, Beth Behrs, Stephen Root and Natasha Lyonne co-star.
“45 Years” (Paramount, 2015, R for language and sex). This sad melodrama gets a boost from star power with Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a long-married couple whose lives are upended during the days leading up to their anniversary celebration. News arrives that the body of a woman he loved many decades before has been found frozen in a Swiss crevasse where she fell while they were on holiday together. His long-suppressed feelings rise to the surface, and his wife learns things she never knew, causing her to re-evaluate their relationship.
“London Has Fallen” (Universal, 2016, R for violence and language, featurettes). This brutal and brutish “Die Hard” wannabe, a sequel to “Olympus Has Fallen,” brings back Gerard Butler as a Secret Service agent and longtime pal of the U.S. president (Aaron Eckhart). This time around, they’re in London for the British prime minister’s funeral when terrorists attack. Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Robert Forster and Melissa Leo co-star.
“Every Thing Will Be Fine” (IFC, 2015, not rated, featurettes, trailer). James Franco at his mopiest stars as a struggling novelist who, after a fight with his girlfriend (Rachel McAdams), recklessly causes an auto-pedestrian accident that kills a child, an event that continues to haunt him years later. It's another disappointment from filmmaker Wim Wenders, whose recent track record is a mere shadow of his former triumphs (“Wings of Desire,” “Paris, Texas”). Charlotte Gainsbourg and Peter Stormare co-star.
“Get a Job” (Lionsgate, 2016; R for sex, nudity, drugs, language; featurettes). Shallow young slackers suffer through a series of dead-end jobs despite having college degrees in this unfunny comedy. It means to satirize the unstable 21st-century job market but is unable to climb out of its own inertia. Stars include Miles Teller, Anna Kendrick, Marcia Gay Harden, Bryan Cranston and John Cho, among other familiar faces. This one sat on the shelf for four years before being released.
“Altered Minds” (eOne, 2015, not rated, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes). A family reunion turns into a confrontation as a famed psychiatrist with a questionable past in the CIA is accused by one of his adopted children of taking them in only to use them as guinea pigs in mind-control experiments. Judd Hirsch is solid in the defensive central role, but this talky, low-wattage psychodrama runs out of steam early on.
“Bodyguards and Assassins” (Shout!, 2009, not rated, in Mandarin with English subtitles, featurettes, trailer). Donnie Yen heads the cast in this story of an attempted overthrow of the corrupt Qing Dynasty in 1905, when Hong Kong was still a British colony. Yen is the main draw in this period action tale, which has a mix of historical and fictional characters.
“Gridlocked” (Magnet, 2016, R for language and violence, deleted scenes, featurettes, bloopers). A New York SWAT team leader (Dominic Purcell) who is sitting out an injury is assigned to take charge of a hard-partying celebrity (Cody Hackman) who is on probation and needs to do a court-ordered ride-along. But, of course, an attack on a police-training facility shakes things up. Stephen Lang and Danny Glover co-star.
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.