Drone-warfare thriller 'Eye in the Sky' is on Blu-ray, DVD
Posted July 2
The new drone-warfare drama “Eye in the Sky,” starring Helen Mirren, is on Blu-ray and DVD this week.
“Eye in the Sky” (Bleeker Street/Universal, 2016, R for violence and language, featurettes). Mirren is a British colonel who heads a mission to capture high-level terrorists that are reportedly in a safe house in Kenya in this edge-of-your seat thriller.
Drones gather intelligence for what is designated as an extraction, and the mission gets underway — but everyone involved is startled to discover that the safe house is full of weapons and some of the occupants are being equipped as suicide bombers. The mission is changed from “capture” to “strike,” but what about local civilians, including a young girl selling bread nearby?
This thoughtful, disturbing, straightforward look at long-distance warfare is filled with moral questions but no easy answers. Mirren is great, of course, with solid support from Alan Rickman, Aaron Paul, Jeremy Northam and Barkhad Abdi (the lead pirate in “Captain Phillips”).
“Ray Harryhausen: Special Effects Titan” (Arrow, 2016, not rated, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes). This thorough and engrossing documentary about the stop-motion special-effects genius behind “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,” “Mysterious Island,” “Jason and the Argonauts,” “Clash of the Titans” and myriad other classic adventure films should more than please fans of the groundbreaking artist and anyone interested in the history of film.
This is clearly a labor of love from French film historian Gilles Penso, who spent 10 years gathering information, imagery and interviews from colleagues and admirers, including Peter Jackson, Tim Burton, James Cameron, Ray Bradbury, Steven Spielberg, John Lasseter, Caroline Munro and many others.
“Adventures in Babysitting” (Disney, 2016, not rated, bloopers). This one is notable as the Disney Channel’s 100th original made-for-TV production, and because it targets tweens but is surprisingly clean. This remake of the 1987 fan favorite shakes up the plot a bit, utilizing two baby sitters. Sofia Carson (“Descendants”) and Sabrina Carpenter (“Girl Meets World”) play high school seniors competing for a photography internship when they accidentally switch phones and one steals a baby-sitting gig from the other, but then has to call on her for help when one of her charges sneaks out to a concert in the big city.
“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” (Paramount, 2016; R for language, sex, drugs, violence; deleted/extended scenes, featurettes). Based on reporter Kim Barker’s memoir, this wartime satire (with dramatic shifts in tone) stars Tina Fey, who is very good as fictional character Kim Baker (altering Barker’s name just enough). Here, she’s a TV correspondent who tentatively takes a short-time gig in Afghanistan and is initially a fish out of water. But she eventually becomes addicted to the danger of living and working in a war zone and decides to stay. Co-stars include Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton and Alfred Molina.
“Rams” (Cohen, 2016, R for language and nudity, in Icelandic with English subtitles, featurette, short film: “Wrestling,” trailer). In a secluded valley in Iceland, two brothers tend their sheep, earning prizes for their rams and carrying on an ancient family tradition. They’re also estranged and haven’t spoken for four decades — until their breeding stock is threatened by a highly infectious and deadly disease, forcing them to work together before it becomes a disaster.
“Elstree 1976” (MVD, 2016, not rated). This interesting documentary for “Star Wars” fans is comprised of reminiscences by British actors who worked as extras on the film. At the time, they thought of it as just another low-budget American science-fiction yarn and were later rather flummoxed by its subsequent success — and especially by their own celebrity just because they happened to have been a small part of it. (Elstree is the British studio where the film was shot.)
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.