Chris Hicks: Robert Redford’s new political thriller comes to DVD, Blu-ray this week
Robert Redford, Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman and Robert De Niro star in a wide array of movies on DVD and Blu-ray this week.
“The Company You Keep” (Sony Classics, 2013, R for language, $30.99, featurettes). Robert Redford directed and stars in this low-key thriller, a compelling character study that has something to say about political activism, unintended consequences, integrity, a free press and how the past affects the present.
Redford plays a recent widower with a young daughter, a crusading defense lawyer in upstate New York. He has also been a fugitive for 30 years after being implicated in a bank robbery that left a guard dead, an act committed by the Weather Underground activist group, to which he once belonged.
When a former comrade (Susan Sarandon) turns herself in and a grandstanding reporter (Shia LeBeouf) links Redford to her, Redford hits the road, looking up old cronies (Julie Christie, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, Stephen Root). Anna Kendrick, Chris Cooper, Stanley Tucci and Terrence Howard are also on hand. (Also on Blu-ray, $35.99)
“The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec” (Shout!/Blu-ray, 2010, PG, two discs, $24.97; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; dubbed in English, or in French with English subtitles; deleted scenes, featurettes). French filmmaker Luc Besson (“La Femme Nikita,” “The Fifth Element”) adapted a comic book series for this first film of a planned franchise about the early 20th century adventures of the title character, a sort of female Indiana Jones.
This one begins with a 136 million-year-old pterodactyl terrorizing Paris, takes her to Egypt and ends with a surprising historically based cliffhanger that won’t be spoiled here. Offbeat, campy, humorous adventure, filled with colorful special effects and a sense of, dare we say it, joie de vivre! (Also on DVD, $14.97)
“To the Wonder” (Magnolia, 2013, R for sex and nudity, $26.98, featurettes, trailer). Free-spirited, erratic filmmaker Terrence Malick wrote and directed this tone poem about the phases of love and passion, which stars Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko and Rachel Adams in a romantic triangle, and Javier Bardem as a Catholic priest undergoing a crisis of faith. Not as compelling as “Tree of Life” or “Days of Heaven,” this one is more in the realm of Malick’s “The New World.” (Also on Blu-ray, $29.98)
“Olympus Has Fallen” (Sony, 2013, R for violence and language, $30.99, DVD and digital versions, no bonus features, although the Blu-ray version has several featurettes and bloopers). This was the first of two bombastic thrillers about the White House being taken and the president threatened as a Secret Service reject saves the day. Here, Aaron Eckhart is the chief and Gerard Butler is the hero. Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett and Ashley Judd are also on hand. (Also on Blu-ray, $40.99)
“The Big Wedding” (Lionsgate/Blu-ray, 2013; R for language, sex, nudity; $24.99, Blu-ray and digital versions, featurette). Raunchy comedy about a dysfunctional family coming together for the title event is what passes for door-slamming farce today. Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton and Susan Sarandon struggle in vain to keep it afloat. Co-stars include Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace and Robin Williams. (Also on DVD, $19.98)
“Filly Brown” (Vivendi/Blu-ray, 2013; R for language, drugs, violence; $29.95, deleted/extended scenes, audio commentaries). The only movie to feature singer-songwriter Jenni Rivera (she died in a plane crash last December) casts her as the sister of the main protagonist, a street hip-hop performer (Gina Rodriguez) torn between her sense of loyalty and artistic integrity, and the opportunity to sell out for popular success and help her troubled family financially. Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips co-star. (Also on DVD, $19.97)
“Cat.8” (Gaiam/Vivendi, 2013, not rated, $19.97, featurettes). Another apocalyptic thriller, this one in the ongoing “Doomsday” series. A physicist (Matthew Modine) is charged with saving the world when a global security system harnesses the energy of the sun with unintended and catastrophic consequences. (Also on Blu-ray, $29.95)
“The Hot Spot”/“Killing Me Softly” (Shout!/Blu-ray, 1990/2002; R for violence, sex, nudity, language; $19.97). These contemporary thrillers get Blu-ray upgrades for this double-feature reissue. “The Hot Spot” is the better of the two, a film noir with drifter Don Johnson involved with a pair of Southern femmes fatales (Virginia Madsen, Jennifer Connelly). “Killing Me Softly” is a variation on “Fatal Attraction” with Heather Graham in London taking up with a kinky stranger (Joseph Fiennes) to her regret.
“The Guillotines” (Well Go, 2013, R for violence, $24.98, in Mandarin with English subtitles, featurettes). Chinese period thriller follows a secret brotherhood of assassins established by a former emperor that is now being manipulated by a new emperor and soon will be targeted for elimination. (Also on Blu-ray, $29.98)
“Deadly Swarm” (Lionsgate, 2003, not rated, $9.98). Silly horror film has the requisite idiot scientist smuggling thousands of killer wasps from Guatemala to the United States believing their venom may contain a medical cure, but the truck crashes in a small Mexico village and the wasps wreak havoc. Only an American entomologist nearby can save the day.
“Hatchet III” (Dark Sky/Blu-ray, 2013, not rated, $34.98, audio commentaries, featurettes, trailers). Famous for playing Jason in several “Friday the 13th” movies, Kane Hodder returns as indestructible swamp killer Victor Crowley, and Danielle Harris is also back as the heroine who killed him in the second film. Or so we thought. (Also on DVD, $27.98)
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parents Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is www.hicksflicks.com
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