OnVideo June DVD Reviews

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OnVideo: JUNE's Top Movies


photo for In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. But now, the people are fighting back. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. As powerful, destructive forces start to see Chappie as a danger to mankind and order, they will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo and ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind.

Director: Neill Blomkamp. Stars: Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel, Sigourney Weaver, Sharlto Copley (voice), Yo-Landi Visser, Ninja. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 114 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $31.338 million, Sony. Extras: "We Are Tetravaal" featurette in which Weaver, Jackman and Patel discuss their characters and on-set experiences. Blu-ray adds alternate ending; extended scene "A Very Bad Man"; eight featurettes: "Chappie: The Streetwise Professor," an inside look at Chappie and casting Copley to play the robot and his performance via motion capture, "Arms Race: The Weapons and Robots," offers deeper look at the real-world firepower tech and the design of the "Scout" robots and "Moose," "Bringing Chappie to Life: The Visual Effects," "From Tetra Vaal to Chappie," an in-depth exploration of the scriptwriting process, the early concept design work and other aspects of pre-production, "Keep It Gangster," a behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating an authentic South African gangster world, "The Reality of Robotics," "Jozi: Real City and a Sci-Fi Setting," "Rogue Robot: Deconstructing the Stunts and Special Effects"; "The Art of Chappie" photo gallery. Available: 06/16.

two stars goback


photo for Focus Nicky (Will Smith), a seasoned master of misdirection, becomes romantically involved with novice con artist Jess (Margot Robbie). As he's teaching her the tricks of the trade, she gets too close for comfort and he abruptly breaks it off. Three years later, the former flame -- now an accomplished femme fatale -- shows up in Buenos Aires in the middle of the high stakes race car circuit. In the midst of Nicky's latest, very dangerous scheme, she throws his plans for a loop ... and the consummate con man off his game.

Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa. Stars: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro, Gerald McRaney, BD Wong. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 105 min., Drama, Box office gross: $52.877 million, Warner. Extras: Deleted scenes. Blu-ray adds "Masters of Misdirection: The Players in a Con" featurette, "Will Smith: Gentleman Thief," "Margot Robbie: Stealing Hearts," alternate opening. Available: 06/02.

two stars goback


photo for Jupiter Ascending From the creators of "The Matrix" franchise comes this science fiction adventure that travels from the streets of Chicago to far flung galaxies whirling through space. Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people's houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along -- her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

Director: Lana and Andy Wachowski. Stars: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Doona Bae, James D'Arcy, Tim Pigott-Smith. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 127 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $39.662 million, Warner. Extras: "Jupiter Jones: Destiny Is Within Us," "Jupiter Ascending: Genetically Spliced Caine Wise: Interplanetary Warrior." Blu-ray adds "The Wachowskis: Minds Over Matter," "Worlds Within Worlds Within Worlds," "Bullet Time Evolved," "From Earth to Jupiter (And Everywhere in Between)." Available:06/02 .

two stars goback


photo for Kingsman: The Secret Service Based upon the comic book; tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

Director: Matthew Vaughn. Stars: Colin Firth, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Jack Davenport, Sofia Boutella, Corey Johnson, Jorge Leon Martinez, Sophie Cookson. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 129 min., Action-Suspense, Box office gross: $125.659 million, Fox. Available: 06/09.

two stars goback


photo for The Lazarus Effect A group of researchers led by Frank (Mark Duplass) and his fiancee Zoe (Olivia Wilde) have achieved the unimaginable: bringing the dead back to life. When Zoe is accidentally electrocuted in a horrific accident, Frank and his team use their experimental serum to resurrect her. But their attempt goes horribly wrong—unleashing terrifying powers within Zoe that put all of their lives in grave danger.

Director: David Gelb. Stars: Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Evan Peters, Sarah Bolger, Donald Glover. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 84 min., Horror Thriller, Box office gross: $25.6 million, Fox. Extras: "Creating Fear: The Making of The Lazarus Effect." Blu-ray adds "Playing God: The Moral Dilemma," deleted/extended scenes. Available: 06/16.

two stars goback


photo for McFarland, USA Inspired by the 1987 true story, the film follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California's farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys' exceptional running ability, things begin to change. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream.

Director: Niki Caro. Stars: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Morgan Saylor, Martha Higareda, Michael Aguero. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 129 min., Drama, Box office gross: $42.955 million, Disney. Available: 06/02.

two stars goback


When a brilliant high school student and his friends discover blueprints for a machine that can send them back in time, the possibilities seem endless. They rewrite history to win the lottery, photo for Project Almanac ace exams, and party like there’s no tomorrow. But by changing the past, they have threatened the future of our world. Can they undo the damage they have unleashed before it's too late?

Director: Dean Israelite. Stars: Jonny Weston, Sofia Black-D'Elia, Allen Evangelista, Ginny Gardner, Sam Lerner, Amy Landecker. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 106 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $22.348 million, Paramount. Blu-ray extras: Alternate opening, deleted scenes, alternate endings. Available: 06/09.

two stars goback


photo for Run All Night Brooklyn mobster and prolific hit man Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson), once known as The Gravedigger, has seen better days. Longtime best friend of mob boss Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), Jimmy, now 55, is haunted by the sins of his past -- as well as a dogged police detective (Vincent D'Onofrio) who's been one step behind Jimmy for 30 years. Lately, it seems Jimmy's only solace can be found at the bottom of a whiskey glass. But when Jimmy's estranged son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman), becomes a target, Jimmy must make a choice between the crime family he chose and the real family he abandoned long ago. With Mike on the run, Jimmy's only penance for his past mistakes may be to keep his son from the same fate Jimmy is certain he'll face himself ... at the wrong end of a gun. Now, with nowhere safe to turn, Jimmy just has one night to figure out exactly where his loyalties lie and to see if he can finally make things right.

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra. Stars: Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Vincent D'Onofrio, Bruce McGill, Genesis Rodriguez, Boyd Holbrook, Holt McCallany, Common, Ed Harris. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 114 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $26.372 million, Warner. Extras: Deleted scenes. Blu-ray adds "Shoot All Night" behind-the-scenes featurette, "Action All Night" Liam Neeson featurette. Available: 06/16.

two stars goback



The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. Although George has already lived in the camp long enough to father an illegitimate child, Serena is new to the mountains -- but she soon shows herself to be the equal of any man, overseeing crews, hunting rattle-snakes, even photo for Serena saving her husband's life in the wilderness. Together this lord and lady of the woodlands ruthlessly kill or vanquish all who fall out of favor. Yet when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. Mother and child begin a struggle for their lives, and when Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons' intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel. "Serena" began filming in 2012, after Lawrence and Cooper finished "Silver Linings Playbook," but was put on the shelf until 2014, when it premiered at the London Film Festival.

Director: Susanne Bier. Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Toby Jones, Rhys Ifans. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 109 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.156 million, Magnolia Pictures. Extras: Deleted scenes, "The Making of Serena," "Exploring the Production Design & Time Period," "Following the Screenwriting: Comparing the Film & the Novel," "Breaking Down the Set." Available: 06/09 .

two stars goback


photo for The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water SpongeBob SquarePants, the world's favorite sea dwelling invertebrate, comes ashore for a super-heroic adventure. On a mission to save his world, SpongeBob SquarePants is headed to ours. When pirate Burger Beard (Antonio Banderas) steals the secret recipe for the beloved Krabby Patties, SpongeBob and friends come ashore to bring back the missing formula. To succeed, they must team up with former rival, Plankton, but soon realize that to defeat a super-villain, they must unleash their inner superheroes.

Director: Paul Tibbitt. Stars: Voices of Tom Kenny, Antonio Banderas, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Bill Fagerbakke, Carolyn Lawrence, Douglas Lawrence, Slash. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 93 min., Animated Family, Box office gross: $160.839 million, Paramount. Blu-ray extras: "SpongeBob SquarePants: Out of His World," "When I Grow Up, I Want to Make Funny Sounds," "Becoming Burger Beard," "Making the Burger Mobile Chase Sequence," "It's Hip to Be SquarePants," "A Day in the Life of a Sponge," "Plankton Rules the World!," "Bikini Bottom Confidential: Rock Stars of the Sea," "International Sponge of Mystery" featurettes; "Bikini Bottom Boogie": "Thank Gosh It’s Monday," three SpongeBob Sing-Alongs: "Thank Gosh It's Monday," "Teamwork" and "Theme Song/Rap Battle," "Squeeze Me" Music Video by N.E.R.D.; deleted/extended/alternate/test scenes. Available: 06/02.

two stars goback


photo for Survivor A Foreign Service Officer (Milla Jovovich) newly posted the American embassy in London is charged with stopping terrorists from getting into the US. After surviving a vicious attack on the embassy, she finds herself framed for crimes she didn't commit and racing to elude assassins while trying to clear her name and stop a large-scale terrorist attack set for New Year's Eve.

Director: James McTeigue. Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Milla Jovovich, Dylan McDermott, Emma Thompson, Angela Bassett, Antonia Thomas, James D'Arcy, Robert Forster. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 96 min., Action-Adventure, Alchemy. Available: 06/23.

two stars goback


photo for Unfinished Business A hard-working small business owner (Vince Vaughn) and his two associates (Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco) travel to Europe to close the most important deal of their lives. But what began as a routine business trip goes off the rails in every imaginable -- and unimaginable – way, including unplanned stops at a massive sex fetish event and a global economic summit.

Director: Ken Scott. Stars: Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, Sienna Miller, James Marsden, Nick Frost. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 92 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $10.219 million, Fox. Extras: "Show Me Your Business" behind-the-scenes featurette, photo gallery. Blu-ray adds deleted and alternate scenes. Available: 06/16.

two stars goback


photo for Wild Tales Six short stories involving distressed people. Inequality, injustice and the demands of the world we live in cause stress and depression for many people. Some of them, however, explode. This is a movie about those people, a fresco of rage, fury, deception and revenge. Vulnerable in the face of a reality that shifts and suddenly turns unpredictable, the characters of Wild Tales cross the thin line that divides civilization and barbarism when faced with perceived injustice. A lover's betrayal, a return to a repressed past and the violence woven into everyday encounters drive the characters to madness as they cede to the undeniable pleasure of losing control.

Director: Damian Szifron. Stars: Ricardo Darin, Oscar Martinez, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Erica Rivas, Rita Cortese, Julieta Zylberberg, Darío Grandinetti. 2015 -- Argentina, CC, MPAA rating: R, 122 min., Comedy-Drama, Box office gross: $2.626 million, Sony. Extras: "Wild Shooting: Creating the Film" behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the Oscar-nominated film, "An Evening at the Toronto International Film Festival With Damian Szifron." Available: 06/16.

three stars goback

All DVDs and Blu-rays are screened on a reference system consisting of an Oppo BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray Player, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.


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June 1, 2015