Home releases: What’s streaming your way in June
Kevin Costner cocks the starter pistol, Liam Neeson runs all night, John Travolta fakes it, Colin Firth pops his brolly and Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart Get Hard -- but it's Red Army's Fetisov who scores on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD, writes Katherine Monk
By Katherine Monk
Starring: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Ramiro Rodriguez, Carlos Pratts, Johnny Ortiz, Morgan Saylor. Directed by Niki Caro. Running time: 129 minutes. Parental Guidance.
In sports movies, cliché comes on the side – like coleslaw. You don’t ask for it, and you may not even like it, but there it is: a little white paper cup filled with shredded cabbage, a silent affirmation that you got what you paid for. The coleslaw in McFarland is the idea of the underdog competitor, in this case, a group of Latino high school students in southern California. Jim White (Kevin Costner) used to coach football at a school for privileged white kids, but after he loses his temper, he’s fired ...
Catching up with what’s new on DVD VOD and Blu-ray in May
Manny Pacquaio takes a beating, Bradley Cooper pulls the trigger, Leviathan makes black splash, Julianne Moore proves Oscar-worthy and Tom Cavanagh goes bird man
By Katherine Monk
Starring: Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Jinkee Pacquiao, Mark Wahlberg, Jimmy Kimmel, Dan Hill, Freddie Roach. Directed by Ryan Moore and Leon Gast. Narrated by: Liam Neeson. Running time: 87 minutes.
Though it was produced before Manny Pacquaio’s much yapped-about face-off against Floyd Mayweather and subsequent fan lawsuit alleging the whole thing was a fraud, this documentary directed by Ryan Moore and Leon Gast (of When We Were Kings fame) still has a sense of destiny to it, because in the end, that’s what you need in any fight movie – as well as any fighter. Great warriors believe they are fulfilling some unwritten prophecy, and from the moment Manny stepped into the ring as a scrawny, underage kid (he lied on his boxing forms), he felt God was in his corner. ...
New on DVD Blu-ray and VOD this week: Fifty Shades, Mr. Turner, Selma and more
Dakota Johnson body-paints Fifty Shades of meh, Mr. Turner finds brilliance with Mike Leigh's detailed strokes, Anna Kendrick's Last Five Years feels like eternity and David Oyelowo leads slow march to selfhood.
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
Two stars out of five. Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle, Marcia Gay Harden, Callum Keith Rennie. Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. Running time: 125 minutes. MPAA Rating: Restricted
It’s bad – and not in that sexy, forbidden, taboo-breaking good way. This adaptation of E.L. James’s inexplicable bestseller features some of the most self-conscious sex scenes since Eyes Wide Shut, only without the rubbernecking thrill of seeing Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in boudoir mode. Dakota Johnson plays Anastasia Steele, a college student who interviews a secretive billionaire in his soaring office tower in the first scene, only to end up on her back, front and side by the climax. It’s all endlessly kitschy and impossibly ...
Movie review: Brett Morgen’s Montage of Heck
The beautiful, broken life of the late Nirvana frontman is transformed into a creative examination of the artistic impulse and the soul-crushing force of fame in the new documentary, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
New to DVD Blu-ray and VOD this week: Paddington, The Gambler, Inherent Vice
Cuddle up with Paddington, puff and pass on Inherent Vice, make a bet on The Gambler and watch Alec Baldwin kick butt in Topsiders: @Home entertainment for the week of April 28
By Katherine Monk
Three and a half stars out of five. Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Waters and the voice of Ben Whishaw. Directed by Paul King. Running time: 95 minutes.
Teddy bears are so much more than stuffies. They are personal mascots, true blue friends and a magical savings bank for childhood memories. Pick up your old bear and you’ll be swimming knee-deep in nostalgia, so if you happened to cuddle a bear in a duffle coat and a red hat back in the day, Paddington will prompt a welcome regression as it offers up the origin story of the little bear who lives in London. Taking us back to deepest, darkest Peru, we learn Paddington comes from a rare line of bears that can talk and befriend humans. Tragedy forces Paddington out of the family tree, and in a bid to ...
Brett Morgen on Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
Interview: The outspoken director spent eight years sifting through a 'cold empty storage unit hidden from the world' to find relics of Cobain that 'were still breathing'
By Katherine Monk
PARK CITY, UTAH -- A homemade cassette featuring a cover of a Beatles love song, the story of how he lost his virginity, and countless hours of home video created with Courtney Love: For 20 years, these relics salvaged from the wreckage of Kurt Cobain’s life remained unseen, and unheard, until now.
Compiled and delicately edited into a vibrantly creative portrait of the late artist by filmmaker Brett Morgen, these once-hidden fragments of a shattered soul make Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck more than just another documentary about another dead rock star.
Sifting through the contents with the careful hand and brush of a paleontologist uncovering an unknown bone, Morgen’s film shows us a different version of the now-mythical figure who's been condensed into a souvenir of grunge, plaid and ...
@Home releases for April 21
Maps to the Stars navigates Tinseltown with Cronenberg's broken compass, Jennifer Aniston has her Cake, Marion Cotillard faces unemployment while Paul McCartney carries the weight of the week's DVD, Blu-Ray and VOD releases.
By Katherine Monk
Maps to the Stars (2014)
Three and a half stars out of five. Starring: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Sarah Gadon, Robert Pattinson, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams. Directed by: David Cronenberg. Running time: 111 minutes.
Julianne Moore may have won the best actress Oscar for her performance as a woman suffering from Alzheimers in Still Alice, but she deserves a rodeo buckle for her turn as Havana Segrand, the grown daughter of Hollywood royalty and central figure in David Cronenberg’s latest freak show. Havana has been riding the bull of showbiz since she was just a kid, but now that she’s getting older, she’s getting thrown – which only makes her want to hang on tighter. It’s a desperate move, but ...
@Home releases for April 14
The Babadook raises goosebumps, Big Eyes surprises and Escobar blows eye candy but Woman In Black 2 proves dimmest DVD/VOD release of the week.
The Babadook (2014)
Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Tim Purcell. Directed by: Jennifer Kent. Running time: 93 minutes.
Four stars out of five
One of the sharper arrows in the new quiver of shiver directors, Jennifer Kent makes an impressive debut with this perfectly phrased piece of psychological horror that pits a mother and son against a supernatural force. It begins with young Samuel (Noah Wiseman) suffering from night terrors. The kid is convinced there’s a monster under his bed, but every time his exhausted mother takes a peek under the mattress in the hopes of comforting him, she sees nothing. Yet, Samuel’s visions only grow worse, leaving poor Amelia (Essie Davis) emotionally frayed and completely sleep-deprived. Kent forces us to feel her exhaustion in every queasy close-up and every ...
Da Vinci’s Demons takes a classical approach to MacGyver
DA VINCI’S DEMONS: SEASON TWO (Starz/BBC TV Series, 2014)
Starring: Tom Riley, Laura Haddock, Elliot Cowan, Gregg Chillin, Eros Vlahos
Creator: David S. Goyer
Three Stars out of Five
Combining elements of The Young Indiana Jones, the Da Vinci Code and MacGyver, this series created by David S. Goyer has so many great ideas to work with, it has a hard time focusing on a single one. Not that it really matters all that much, because half the fun of watching this period series is testing your own knowledge of Leonoardo’s achievements. From flying machines to advances in medicine, Da Vinci was more than the famed painter of the Mona Lisa and this series delights in showcasing the genius’s creative legacy. Best of all, it does so using standard TV tropes. In other words, we end up watching Da Vinci (Tom Riley) face one dilemma after another as the warring Pazzi and Medici families jockey for power and status behind the back of the Catholic Church. Fortunately, he’s a ...
On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter
Sequel to the classic 1971 documentary takes another lap around oval of motorbike love
ON ANY SUNDAY: THE NEXT CHAPTER: (2014, documentary)
Directed by Dana Brown. Featuring Bo Derek, Travis Pastrana, Jimmy N. Roberts, Ashley Fiolek, Dani Pedrosa, Art Haynie.
Three stars out of five
Picking up where his father Bruce left off in On Any Sunday, the original 1971 doc featuring Steve McQueen on motorbikes, filmmaker Dana Brown takes us around the world to meet a whole new generation of bike enthusiasts spinning their wheels – happily. From the dirt tracks of the American heartland to the rugged terrain of the Great White North, Brown brings us close enough to the action to smell the tailpipes. He also tries to develop the characters, and use the central passion as the uniting theme. It doesn’t always work because everyone feels a little stiff in front of the camera. They also have a habit of saying the same thing, because how many ways can you express the wind-blown feeling ...