OnVideo May DVD Reviews

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OnVideo: MAY's Top Movies


photo for American Sniper Surprise boxoffice smash of 2014. U.S. Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle is sent to Iraq with only one mission: to protect his brothers-in-arms. His pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and, as stories of his courageous exploits spread, he earns the nickname "Legend." However, his reputation is also growing behind enemy lines, putting a price on his head and making him a prime target of insurgents. He's also facing a different kind of battle on the home front: striving to be a good husband and father from halfway around the world. Despite the danger, as well as the toll on his family at home, Chris serves through four harrowing tours of duty in Iraq, personifying the spirit of the SEAL creed to "leave no one behind." But upon returning to his wife, Taya Renae Kyle (Sienna Miller), and kids, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.

Director: Clint Eastwood. Stars: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Jake McDorman, Kyle Gallner, Luke Grimes, Sam Jaeger, Brando Eaton, Keir O'Donnell, Eric Close, Brian Hallisay. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: R, 132 min., Drama, Box office gross: $346.559 million, Warner. Extras: "One Soldier's Story: The Journey of American Sniper" featurette, "Making of American Sniper" featurette. Available: 05/19.

three stars goback


photo for Black or White The story of a grandfather (Kevin Costner) suddenly left to care for his beloved granddaughter. When the little girl's paternal grandmother (Octavia Spencer) seeks custody, a legal battle ensues that forces the families to confront their true feelings on race, forgiveness and understanding. Based on real events, the movie is a look at two seemingly different worlds, in which nothing is as simple as black or white.

Director: Mike Binder. Stars: Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Jillian Estell, Anthony Mackie, Gillian Jacobs, Jennifer Ehle. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 121 min., Drama, Box office gross: $21.356 million, Fox. Extras: "Shades of Gray: The Making of Black or White," theatrical trailer. Blu-ray adds Kevin Costner featurette, "Family First" featurette. Available: 05/05.

two stars goback


photo for The story of a searing love affair between a naÔve college student and a billionaire entrepreneur, based on E. L. Jamesí best-selling novel. Shy and unassuming literature student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) finds her life forever altered when she interviews the enigmatic Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and is dazzled by the charismatic entrepreneur and his high-flying lifestyle. Despite his enigmatic reserve, the innocent and naive Ana starts to realize she wants him and finds herself desperate to get close to him. Not able to resist Ana's beauty and independent spirit, Christian admits he wants her too, but in his own terms. Ana hesitates as she discovers the singular tastes of Christian -- despite the embellishments of success, his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family -- Grey is consumed by the need to control everything. As the pair embarks on a passionate affair, Ana soon discovers that Grey has dark secrets and desires that will push her to the limits of her imagination -- and beyond.

Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson. Stars: Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson, Eloise Mumford, Max Martini, Marcia Gay Harden, Luke Grimes, Jennifer Ehle, Victor Rasuk, Rita Ora. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 126 min., Drama, Box office gross: $163.980 million, Universal. Extras: "The World of Fifty Shades of Grey -- Friends and Family" offers profiles of cast members, "Behind the Shades" behind-the-scenes featurette. Blu-ray adds "Fifty Shades of Grey" unrated version; "The World of Fifty Shades of Grey" featurette with profiles of stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, and the characters they play ("Inside the world of Christian Grey," "Christian Grey Profile," "Jamie Dornan Profile," "Christianís Apartment," "Christian's Wardrobe," "A Rich Man's Toys": Christian's cars, the plane, the helicopter, all of the recognizable items from the book, now on screen; All About Ana," "Dakota Johnson Profile," "Ana's World," "Ana's Wardrobe"); "E.L. James & Fifty Shades" featurette; "Fifty Shades: The Pleasure of Pain" discussion with the BDSM consultant and a show-and-tell with property master; 360į set tours of Christian and Ana's apartments including the Red Room; music videos from Skylar Grey, The Weekend and Ellie Goulding; "Behind the Scenes of The Weekend's "Earned It" music video. Available: 05/08.

two stars goback


photo for Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Sequel to the 2010 comedy. When Lou (Rob Corddry) finds himself in trouble, Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) fire up the hot tub time machine in an attempt to get back to the past. But they inadvertently land in the future with Adam Jr. (Adam Scott). Now they have to alter the future in order to save the past ... which is really the present.

Director: Steve Pink. Stars: Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Adam Scott, Chevy Chase, Angela Kerecz, Gillian Jacobs. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 93 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $12.314 million, Paramount. Available: 05/19.

two stars goback


photo for Leviathan From Andrey Zvyagintsev, the acclaimed director of "The Return" (Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner and Golden Globe nominee). Kolia (Aleksey Serebryakov) lives in a small fishing town near the stunning Barents Sea in Northern Russia. He owns an auto-repair shop that stands right next to the house where he lives with his young wife Lilya (Elena Lyadova) and his son Roma (Sergey Pokhodaev) from a previous marriage. The town's corrupt mayor Vadim Shelevyat (Roman Madyanov) is determined to take away his business, his house, as well as his land. First the Mayor tries buying off Kolia, but Kolia unflinchingly fights as hard as he can so as not to lose everything he owns including the beauty that has surrounded him from the day he was born. Facing resistance, the mayor starts being more aggressive. In Russian with English subtitles.

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev. Stars: Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Aleksey Serebryakov, Sergey Pokhodaev, Roman Madyanov. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: R, 140 min., Drama, Box office gross: $1.092 million, Sony. Extras: Commentary with director Andrey Zvyagintsev and producer Alexander Rodnyansky, "The Making of Leviathan," TIFF Q&A with Zvyagintsev, deleted scenes. Available: 05/19.

three stars goback


photo for The Loft The story of five married guys who conspire to secretly share a penthouse loft in the city -- a place where they can carry out hidden affairs and indulge in their deepest fantasies. But the fantasy becomes a nightmare when they discover the dead body of an unknown woman in the loft, and they realize one of the group must be involved. Paranoia seizes them as everyone begins to suspect one another. Friendships are tested, loyalties are questioned and marriages crumble as the group is consumed by fear, suspicion and murder.

Director: Erik Van Looy. Stars: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Rhona Mitra, Margarita Levieva, Eric Stonestreet. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 108 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $5.981 million, Universal. Available: 05/26.

two stars goback


photo for Mortdecai Juggling some angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.

Director: David Koepp. Stars: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany, Olivia Munn, Oliver Platt, Aubrey Plaza, Jeff Goldblum. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 107 min., Action Comedy, Box office gross: $7.605 million, Lionsgate. Extras: "Stolen Moments: On the Set of Mortdecai" featurette, "The Art of Noise: Making Music for Mortdecai" featurette. Available: 05/12.

two stars goback


photo for Mr. Turner An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner's life. Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty.

Director: Mike Leigh. Stars: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Karl Johnson, Ruth Sheen, Sandy Foster, Amy Dawson. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: R, 149 min., Bio-Drama, Box office gross: $3.007 million, Sony. Extras: Commentary with writer-director Mike Leigh, "Many Colours of Mr. Turner" featurette, deleted scene. Blu-ray adds "The Cinematic Palette: The Cinematography of Mr. Turner" featurette. Available: 05/05.

three stars goback



photo for Selma The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement.

Director: Ava DuVernay. Stars: David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, Tim Roth, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Common, Tessa Thompson, Giovanni Ribisi, Lorraine Toussaint. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 128 min., Drama, Box office gross: $51.694 million, Paramount. Extras: TBA. Available: 05/05.

three stars goback


photo for Seventh Son In a time long past, an evil is about to be unleashed that will reignite the war between the forces of the supernatural and humankind. Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) is a knight who had imprisoned the malevolently powerful witch, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), centuries ago. But now she has escaped and is seeking vengeance. Summoning her followers of every incarnation, Mother Malkin is preparing to unleash her terrible wrath on an unsuspecting world. Only one thing stands in her way: Master Gregory. In a deadly reunion, Gregory comes face to face with the evil he always feared would someday return. He has only until the next full moon to do what usually takes years: train his new apprentice, Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) to fight a dark magic unlike any other. Man's only hope lies in the seventh son of a seventh son.

Director: Sergey Bodrov. Stars: Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Ben Barnes, Djimon Hounsou, Alicia Vikander, Olivia Williams, Jason Scott Lee. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 102 min., Fantasy Action-Adventure, Box office gross: $17.223 million, Universal. Available: 05/26.

two stars goback


photo for Still Alice Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a diagnosis of Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease, Alice and her family find their bonds thoroughly tested. Her struggle to stay connected to who she once was is frightening, heartbreaking, and inspiring. Julianne Moore won the Oscar for Best Actress.

Director: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland. Stars: Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Alec Baldwin, Victoria Cartagena, Hunter Parrish. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 101 min., Drama, Box office gross: $16.4 million, Sony. Extras: Three deleted scenes; three featurettes: "Directing Alice," "Finding Alice" in which the cast, filmmakers & Alzheimer's experts discuss what went into creating an accurate depiction of Alice Howland's disease, "Interview With Composer Ilan Eshkeri." Available: 05/12.

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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May 1, 2015