Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray and 4K releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art or link to purchase it from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on social media with your friends.
Pick of the Week: “Long Shot”
On the surface, Jonathan Levine’s “Long Shot” is just another odd-couple rom-com about a schlubby stoner who romances a woman who’s way out of his league, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find a smarter-than-average romantic comedy that benefits greatly from its decision to flip the traditional gender roles. The lead characters are also incredibly likable thanks to Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron’s winning chemistry, with each actor contributing their share of laughs, while the political subtext adds some nice meat to the story. Though it runs a little long for a comedy and is somewhat constrained by its reliance on certain genre tropes, “Long Shot” rises above its formulaic premise to deliver a surprisingly enjoyable rom-com that’s better than a majority of what the genre typically produces.
Extras include a behind-the-scenes look at making the film, alternate takes featuring Alexander Skarsgård and more. FINAL VERDICT: RENT
Also Out This Week:
“The Intruder” — The horror genre has always been an effective vehicle for social commentary (from George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” to Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”), but while you can see what director Deon Taylor is trying to accomplish with his home invasion thriller “The Intruder” – and it would be hard not to because he practically hammers you over the head with it – the execution is clumsy at best. The script is so poorly written that supposedly smart characters act like complete idiots, never once handling a situation the way a normal person would, while Dennis Quaid is so hilariously over-the-top as the unhinged antagonist that he never really seems like a serious threat. This is basic cable trash of the highest degree, so stupid in every way that you’ll feel dumber for having watched it. Extras include an audio commentary by Taylor, writer David Loughery, producer Roxanne Avent and stars Michael Ealy and Meagan Good, as well as a making-of featurette and a gag reel. FINAL VERDICT: SKIP
“Domino” — Brian De Palma hasn’t made a good film since 1996’s “Mission: Impossible,” and sadly, “Domino” continues that disappointing form. Though the movie reportedly endured a troubled production – from major funding issues to rumors that it was heavily edited by its financiers – the finished film offers very little to suggest that it was ever anything special. Quite the contrary, as it’s an incredibly generic crime thriller that feels rushed and haphazardly stitched together, failing to develop its characters or story in any interesting way. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau does the best he can with such bland material, but it’s ultimately a waste of his talents. For his part, De Palma has distanced himself from the movie since its release, and while he’s not entirely to blame for its failure, he’s hardly innocent either. FINAL VERDICT: SKIP
“UglyDolls” — “The LEGO Movie” proved that it’s entirely possible to make a good animated film based on a popular toy line. Unfortunately, STX Films’ first foray into animation fails on just about every level imaginable. Though the movie has its heart in the right place, tackling important themes like acceptance and non-conformity, it’s basically a glorified commercial for the plush toys that contains a shocking lack of wit and creativity. The cliché-ridden story is just an excuse to bridge the pop-infused musical numbers, while the characters (many of whom are voiced by musicians like Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas and Pitbull) are completely forgettable. There are certainly worse kids movies than “UglyDolls,” but that doesn’t make it any less dull or disposable. Extras include a behind-the-scenes look at making the film and a cast featurette. FINAL VERDICT: SKIP