After their old flat becomes damaged, Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana
(Taraneh Alidoosti), a young couple living in Tehran who happen to be
performers rehearsing for Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," are
forced to move into a new apartment. Eventually, an incident linked to
the previous tenant -- a prostitute -- of their new home dramatically changes the
couple’s life, and the husband goes on a crusade to restore his manhood and self-worth. The film is a psychological and moral drama. Won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
Vitals: Director: Asghar
Farhadi. Stars: Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti, Babak Karimi, Mina
2016 -- Iran, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 125 min., Drama, Box office
million, Sony.Extras: "A Conversation With Writer-Director Asghar Farhadi."
I Am Not Your Negro
In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing
his next project, "Remember This House." The book was to be a
revolutionary, personal account of the lives and successive
assassinations of three of his close friends -- Medgar Evers, Malcolm
X and Martin Luther King, Jr. At the time of Baldwin’s death in 1987,
he left behind only 30 completed pages of his manuscript. Now, in his
incendiary new documentary, master filmmaker Raoul Peck envisions the
book James Baldwin never finished. The result is a radical,
up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s
original words and flood of rich archival material. "I Am Not Your
Negro" is a journey into black history that connects the past of the
Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a
film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. And,
ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives
and assassination of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have
produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America
stands for. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.
Vitals: Director: Raoul Peck
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 93 min., Documentary, Box office
gross: $3.855 million, Magnolia.
An aging comic icon, Jackie Burke (Robert De Niro) has seen better
days. Despite his efforts to reinvent himself and his comic genius,
the audience only wants to know him as the former television character
he once played. Already a strain on his younger brother (Danny DeVito)
and his wife (Patti LuPone), Jackie is forced to serve out a sentence
doing community service for accosting an audience member. While there,
he meets Harmony (Leslie Mann), the daughter of a sleazy Florida real
estate mogul (Harvey Keitel), and the two find inspiration in one
another, resulting in surprising consequences. Through the alchemy of
their unlikely friendship, Harmony and Jackie overcome their own
emotional damage and emerge as better people.
Vitals: Director: Taylor
Hackford. Stars: Robert De Niro, Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito, Edie
Falco, Veronica Ferres, Charles Grodin, Cloris Leachman, Patti LuPone,
Lois Smith, Harvey Keitel.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: R, 120 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $1.653
million, Sony.Extras: Deleted scenes, “The Comedian at AFI Fest: Q&A Featuring Robert De Niro, Leslie Mann, Danny DeVito and Taylor Hackford,” “Backstage With The Comedian” featurette.
A Dog’s Purpose
Based on the bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, "A Dog’s Purpose," from director Lasse Hallstrom ("The Cider House Rules," "The 100-Foot Journey"), shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad) -- who is reincarnated numerous times in the form of different breeds -- and finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love. Prior to theatrical release, controversy arose when behind the scenes footage surfaced and appeared to show a distressed dog being forcibly submerged into turbulent pool water during filming. As a result of the leaked footage, the filmmakers chose to cancel the U.S. premiere. The American Humane Association claims that the video was a fake -- two disparate scenes were spliced together to show the dog was being forced into and under water, giving a misleading impression of abuse -- but the dog, apparently, was mishandled for 2 or 3 seconds -- which is still too much, of course. The film's boxoffice took a heavy hit because of the controversy.
Vitals: Director: Lasse Hallström. Stars: Josh Gad (voice), Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, K.J. Apa, Britt Robertson.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 100 min., Adventure, Box office gross: $53.645
million, Universal.Extras: TBA.
A young woman becomes worried about her boyfriend when he explores a dark subculture surrounding a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after he has viewed it. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: There's a “movie within the movie” that no one has ever seen before …
Vitals: Director: F. Javier Gutierrez Stars: Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan, Vincent D’Onofrio.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 102 min., Horror-Thriller, Box office gross: $27.766 million, Paramount.Extras: TBA.
Fifty Shades Darker Unrated
Sequel to "Fifty Shades of Grey." When a wounded Christian Grey tries to entice a cautious Ana Steele back into his life, she demands a new arrangement before she will give him another chance. As the two begin to build trust and find stability, shadowy figures from Christian’s past start to circle the couple, determined to destroy their hopes for a future together.
Vitals: Director: James Foley. Stars: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Kim Basinger, Marcia Gay Harden, Bella Heathcote.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: R, 118 min., Drama, Box office gross: $112.922
million, Universal.Extras: Deleted scenes; "A Tease to Fifty Shades Freed," the next Fifty Shades film; "Writing Darker" featurette with author E.L. James and screenwriter Niall Leonard; "Dark Reunion" featurette with filmmakers and cast. Blu-ray adds "A Darker Direction" featurette with director James Foley; "New Threats" introduction to some new, dark and threatening characters; "The Masquerade" featurette about one of the film’s most iconic scenes; "Intimate With Darker" featurette.
The Space Between Us
In this interplanetary adventure, a space shuttle embarks on the first
mission to colonize Mars, only to discover after takeoff that one of
the astronauts is pregnant. Shortly after landing, she dies from
complications while giving birth to the first human born on the red
planet -- never revealing who the father is. Thus begins the
extraordinary life of Gardner Elliot -- an inquisitive, highly
intelligent boy who reaches the age of 16 having only met 14 people in
his very unconventional upbringing with a team of scientists. While
searching for clues about his father, and the home planet he's never
known, Gardner begins an online friendship with a street smart girl in
Colorado named Tulsa. When he finally gets a chance to go to Earth,
he's eager to experience all of the wonders he could only read about
on Mars -- from the most simple to the extraordinary. But once his
explorations begin, scientists discover that Gardner's organs can't
withstand Earth's atmosphere. Eager to find his father, Gardner
escapes and joins with Tulsa on a race against time to unravel the
mysteries of how he came to be, and where he belongs in the universe.
Vitals: Director: Peter
Chelsom. Stars: Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, Carla Gugino, Britt
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 120 min., Science Fiction, Box
office gross: $7.829
million, Universal.Extras: Alternate ending,
deleted scenes "Love" featurette, commentary with Director Peter
xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The third chapter of the franchise finds extreme athlete-turned-government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) coming out of self-imposed exile and on a collision course with deadly alpha warrior Xiang and his team in a race to recover a sinister and seemingly unstoppable weapon known as Pandora’s Box. Recruiting an all-new group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself enmeshed in a deadly conspiracy that points to collusion at the highest levels of world governments.
Vitals: Director:. Stars: Vin Diesel, Deepika Padukone, Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Rory McCann, Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Toni Collette.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 107 min., Action, Box office gross: $44.739
million, Paramount.Blu-ray extras: "Third Time’s the Charm: Xander Returns," "Rebels, Tyrants & Ghosts: The Cast," "Opening Pandora’s Box: On Location," "I Live for This Sh#t!: Stunts," gag reel.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Picking up immediately after the events in "Resident Evil: Retribution," Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead. Now, she must return to where the nightmare began -- The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.
Vitals: Director: Paul W.S. Anderson. Stars: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Ruby Rose, Iain Glen, Shawn Roberts, William Levy.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: R, 106 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $26.708
million, Screen Gems/Sony.Extras: Two Featurettes: "Explore the Hive," "The Badass Trinity & The Women of Resident Evil." Blu-ray adds "Retaliation Mode" (in which Milla Jovovich and director Paul W.S. Anderson break down pivotal scenes from the movie and discuss the world of Resident Evil; sneak peek of the CG animated feature "Resident Evil: Vendetta"; "Stunts & Weaponry" featurette.
The Great Wall
European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures. The first English-language production for Chang Yimou ("Hero," "House of Flying Daggers") is the largest film ever shot entirely in China.
Vitals: Director: Chang Yimou. Stars: Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min., Action Adventure, Box office gross: $43.836 million, Universal.Extras: Deleted and extended scenes, "Matt Damon in China," "Working With Director Chang Yimou," "The Great Wall Visual Effects," "Man vs. Monster," "Weapons of War," "Designing a Spectacular World."
All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a
Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a
Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center),
and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.