Disney's 'Zootopia,' Coen brothers' 'Hail, Caesar!' on Blu-ray, DVD
Posted June 11, 2016
Disney had a major box-office hit in March with “Zootopia,” and now the animated feature is on Blu-ray and DVD, along with the Coen brothers’ 1950s Hollywood farce “Hail, Caesar!”
“Zootopia” (Disney, 2016, PG, alternate opening, deleted scenes/characters, featurettes, music video). Disney struck gold with this witty cartoon feature about a society where anthropomorphic animals rule and reign, taking satiric aim at the social ills that plague the real world.
Rookie rabbit cop Judy (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) is underestimated by those in charge and assigned to meter-maid duty. But when she wangles a missing-person case, Judy enlists the help of a reluctant fox, scam-artist Nick (Jason Bateman), and they soon stumble onto a conspiracy involving corrupt city officials.
The central plot is run-of-the-mill, but the story is cleverly developed with something to say about prejudice and profiling, and it’s filled to the brim with one-liners and sight gags that will keep viewers of every age amused. Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Bonnie Hunt, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer and Shakira also provide voices.
“Hail, Caesar!” (Universal, 2016, PG-13, featurettes). Joel and Ethan Coen wrote and directed this typically eccentric, very broad and colorful, but only intermittently funny farce about 1950s Hollywood, focusing on a harried studio chief (Josh Brolin) whose biggest star (George Clooney) is kidnapped. This is an episodic tale that elaborately spoofs musicals, Cold War thrillers and biblical epics, among other genres. It’s also surprisingly vulgar in places. Co-stars include Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Frances McDormand and Jonah Hill.
“The Confirmation” (Lionsgate, 2016, PG-13, featurettes). Clive Owen is a divorced, down-on-his-luck, alcoholic carpenter in a small town who gets a job opportunity but finds that his beloved toolbox has been stolen. This occurs while his 8-year-old son (Jaeden Lieberher) is with him for the weekend, so he reluctantly brings him along as he tries to retrieve the box and unexpectedly finds the boy to be quite helpful as they also bond for the first time. It's an uneven but gentle and sweet-natured comedy-drama, with Maria Bello, Matthew Modine, Robert Forster, Tim Blake Nelson and Patton Oswalt.
“Journey to Space” (Shout!, 2015, not rated, featurette, photo gallery, trailer). This entertaining 45-minute IMAX documentary about the Space Shuttle program and the potential future of NASA offers eye-popping footage of space, along with interviews with astronauts whose enthusiasm for the program is infectious.
“A Royal Night Out” (Fox, 2015, PG-13, featurette). Based on a true story, this British comedy-drama is set against the backdrop of the end of World War II as it tells of Princess Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Princess Margaret (Bel Powley) slipping away from their chaperones at Buckingham Palace to join the party in London. Rupert Everett and Emily Watson co-star.
“Touched With Fire” (Lionsgate, 2016; R for language, sex, drugs; deleted scene, audio commentary, featurettes, photo gallery, trailer). Two young poets (Katie Holmes, Luke Kirby), both with bipolar disorder, meet in a psychiatric hospital and, despite discouragement from their parents, pursue a romantic relationship. The result is a downbeat melodrama with a muddled subtext about drug treatment for the mentally ill. Christine Lahti and Griffin Dunne co-star.
“Mr. Right” (Universal, 2016, R for violence and language, featurette). Quirky but overly familiar — and violent and profane — this romantic comedy is about a disillusioned woman (Anna Kendrick) on the rebound who begins a relationship with a hitman (Sam Rockwell). The gimmick is that the hitman kills those who hire him instead of the intended targets, which makes for some very unhappy mob-connected clients. Tim Roth and RZA co-star.
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” (Paramount, 2016, R for violence and language, featurettes). Michael Bay’s latest shaky-cam thriller is a purportedly true story of heroism amid the confusion and chaos of war. Audience members may be able to identify with the ground troops as the film is also rather confusing and paints its less-than-distinct characters with a superficial brush. The cast is led by John Krasinski, James Badge Dale and Pablo Schreiber.
“A War” (Magnolia, 2016, R for language and violence; in Arabic and Danish with English subtitles, and in English; featurettes, trailer). This Danish morality play is about a company commander in Afghanistan who makes a split-second decision when his men are caught in heavy crossfire that leads to his being charged with killing Afghan civilians.
“Jarhead 3: The Siege” (Universal, 2016, R for violence and language, featurette). Marines assigned to protect a U.S. Embassy in a benign part of the Middle East are caught off guard when heavily armed militants launch a surprise attack. Dennis Haysbert has a supporting role. This is the second straight-to-video, in-name-only sequel to the 2005 “Jarhead,” without that film’s stars.
“Never Back Down: No Surrender” (Sony; R for language, sex, nudity, violence). Michael Jai White returns for the third film in the “Never Back Down” franchise as a former MMA champ recruited to train a friend (Josh Barnett) for a big fight in Thailand. But when the friend is injured, guess who climbs into the cage? Esai Morales co-stars as an unscrupulous promoter.
“Kill Your Friends” (Well Go, 2016, not rated but R-level content, featurettes). Nicholas Hoult (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) stars in this sordid, profane, dark British satire about the music industry, circa 1997. Hoult plays a record executive who will do anything for a hit. Sort of a showbiz “Wolf of Wall Street” meets “American Psycho.” James Corden, Georgia King and Rosanna Arquette are among the supporting players.
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.