Sci-fi, romance, horror among new movies on Blu-ray, DVD this week
Posted May 8, 2016
A sci-fi thriller, a character drama with echoes of the Holocaust, a sentimental romance and an odd horror yarn are among new movies on Blu-ray and DVD this week.
“The 5th Wave” (Columbia, 2016, PG-13, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, bloopers). Yet another dystopian young adult novel adapted to the big screen, this one stars Chloe Grace Moretz as a teenager battling alien invaders that have begun a systematic destruction of life on Earth.
Although it traffics in familiar tropes and may have you recalling far too many other sci-fi thrillers, this one isn’t as bad as critics made it out to be. Mostly it’s just overly familiar and comes late in the cycle of teens battling end-of-the-world villains. Moretz is no Jennifer Lawrence, and the film is no “Independence Day,” but it’s enjoyably, light fare that will appeal to its target audience. Ron Livingston, Maria Bello and Liev Schreiber co-star.
“Remember” (Lionsgate, 2015, R for violence and language, audio commentary, featurettes). Christopher Plummer’s strong performance is the main draw for this offbeat tale about Zev, an Auschwitz survivor with dementia who lives in a nursing home and is befriended by fellow survivor Max (Martin Landau). Eventually, Max convinces Zev to track down a former Nazi guard and kill him, but the road to that end is filled with unexpected twists and turns.
“The Choice” (Lionsgate, 2016, PG-13, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes). The latest adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel follows the expected trajectory of a young couple (Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer) meeting, squabbling, falling in love, marrying, etc. But ultimately they will have to deal with the choice of the title, which involves something rather grave. It has routine sentimentality that's more suited to a Lifetime Channel movie and without the star power of some previous Sparks flicks. Maggie Grace, Tom Welling and Tom Wilkinson co-star.
“The Boy” (Universal, 2016, PG-13). This weird, unsatisfying horror tale is about an American nanny (Lauren Cohan) taking a position in a remote English village where she discovers that the 8-year-old boy she’s been hired to care for is actually a life-size porcelain doll that the parents treat like their son who died 20 years earlier. Gradually, evidence mounts to suggest the doll is alive. It's like an elongated faux “Twilight Zone” episode and just isn’t scary.
“Where to Invade Next” (Anchor Bay, 2015; R for language, violence, drugs, nudity). Michael Moore’s latest sardonic comic documentary, in which he once again puts himself front and center, has him traveling to three continents to find out how other countries handle social issues that plague America. Topics include Norway’s prison system, Germany’s industrial policy, France’s gourmet school lunches, etc.
“Hyena Road” (Sony, 2015; R for violence, language, sex; featurettes). This Canadian wartime thriller set in Afghanistan is about a hotshot sniper (Rossif Sutherland, son of Donald) who is forced with his team to seek refuge in a small village. There, the team is unexpectedly aided by an elusive freedom fighter who escaped the Taliban and is now dubbed “The Ghost.” Later, after he has related the story, the sniper is recruited by a methodical superior officer (the film’s writer-director, Paul Gross) to help find The Ghost again.
“Hostile Border” (Sony, 2015; R for sex, nudity, violence, language). A 22-year-old woman (Veronica Sixtos) reared in the United States as an undocumented immigrant is arrested for credit-card fraud and deported. In Mexico, unable to speak Spanish, she heads to the ranch of her estranged father. Then, anxious to return to the States, she takes up with a drug smuggler. Bad idea.
“Mojin: The Lost Legend” (Well Go, 2015, not rated, in Mandarin with English subtitles, featurettes, trailer). This is a formulaic, overlong but visually arresting Chinese supernatural thriller that begins in 1989 Manhattan as a trio of retiring tomb raiders (Chen Kun, Shu Qi, Huang Bo) is lured back into service by the promise of an artifact that can raise the dead.
“Die Fighting” (MVD, 2016, not rated, featurette, trailer). Kinetic fight sequences are undermined by a silly story as four martial-arts actors are offered their dream job, a Hollywood movie. But then, the sadistic filmmaker threatens their families so they will engage in a series of brutal brawls.
“The Club” (Music Box, 2015, not rated, in Spanish with English subtitles, audio commentary, featurettes; booklet). This dark and depressing Chilean film is essentially an indictment of humanity. Four middle-aged former priests, excommunicated from the Catholic Church for various sins (including child abuse), live in exile in a small seaside town with a former nun as their caretaker. But when a fifth priest arrives, trailed by a loud, drunken former altar boy who screams his accusations outside their home, all are forced to confront their sordid pasts.
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.