Based on the life of a young Marine Corporal (Mara) whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq. When she is assigned to clean up the K9 unit after a disciplinary hearing, Leavey identifies with a
particularly aggressive dog, Rex, and is given the chance to train him. Over the course of their service, Megan and Rex completed more than 100 missions until an IED explosion injures them, putting their fate in jeopardy.
Vitals: Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Stars: Kate Mara, Common, Tom Felton, Edie Falco, Ramón Rodríguez, Will Patton, Sam Keeley, Bradley Whitford.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 116 min., Drama, Box office gross: $12.465 million, Company.Extras: "Never Give Up": An inside look at how Megan Leavey learned to trust Rex.
Universal is rebooting its classic monster film franchise under the banner Dark Universe, linking all its creatures (to compete with Marvel's universe) via an organization called Prodigium, a research facility set up to destroy evil, run by Doctor Henry Jeykll (Russell Crowe). The first entry was supposed to be "Dracula Untold" but that was so poorly received that Universal made "The Mummy" its first official release in this new universe. The next up: Bill Condon's "The Bride of Frankenstein" in 2019. Unfortunately, this "Mummy" doesn't hold a candle to the original, nor the first reboot, the Stephen Sommers/Brandan Fraser outing in 1999, which was scary, funny and very, very clever. This time around, the "Mummy" is a woman. Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) is a soldier of fortune who plunders ancient sites for timeless artifacts and sells them to the highest bidder. When Nick and his partner come under attack in the Middle East, the ensuing battle accidentally unearths Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), a betrayed Egyptian princess who was entombed under the desert for thousands of years. With her powers constantly evolving, Morton must now stop the resurrected monster as she embarks on a furious rampage through the streets of London.
Vitals: Director: Alex Kurtzman. Stars: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Courtney B. Vance.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 110 min., Horror Action, Box office gross: $78.624 million, Universal.Extras: Deleted and extended scenes; "Cruise & Kurtzman: A Conversation Rooted in Reality" about the making of "The Mummy": "Rooted in Reality" filmmakers and cast discussion on how they broke away from old tropes and traditions to create a realistic 21st century monster movie; "Life in Zero-G: Creating the Plane Crash"; "Meet Ahmanet" in which Sofia Boutella shares the excitement of reinventing a monster icon; "Cruise in Action" stunt featurette; "Becoming Jekyll and Hyde": "Choreographed Chaos" featurette on how the filmmakers created an outdoors clash between ancient and modern worlds; "Nick Morton: In Search of a Soul" featurette; "Ahmanet Reborn Animated Graphic Novel"; feature commentary with director and producer Alex Kurtzman, and cast members Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis and Jake Johnson.
Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) is a Western icon with a golden voice, but his best performances are decades behind him. He spends his days reliving old glories with his former co-star, Jeremy (Nick Offerman), until a surprise cancer diagnosis brings his priorities into sharp focus. He soon strikes up an exciting, contentious relationship with stand-up comic Charlotte (Laura Prepon), and he attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter), all while searching for one final role to cement his legacy.
Vitals: Director: Brett Haley. Stars: Sam Elliott, Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter, Katharine Ross, Nick Offerman, Katharine Ross.
2016, CC, MPAA rating: R, 97 min., Drama, Box office gross: $3.058 million, Lionsgate.Extras: Audio commentary with writer-director Brett Haley and Sam Elliott, photo gallery.
One of America’s foremost filmmakers, Kelly Reichardt ("Wendy and Lucy," "Meek’s Cutoff") directs a remarkable ensemble cast led by Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, and Laura Dern in this stirring look at three women striving to forge their own paths amidst the
wide-open plains of the American Northwest: a lawyer (Dern) who finds herself contending with both office sexism and a hostage situation; a wife and mother (Williams) whose determination to build her dream home puts her at odds with the men in her life; and a young law student (Stewart) who forms an ambiguous bond with a lonely ranch hand (radiant newcomer Lily Gladstone). As their stories intersect in subtle but powerful ways, a portrait emerges of flawed, but strong-willed individuals in the process of defining themselves. On DVD and Blu-ray, with a new 2K digital transfer, supervised by director Kelly Reichardt and cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
Vitals: Director: Kelly Reichardt. Stars: Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, Laura Dern, James Le Gros, Rene Auberjonois, Jared Harris, Lily Gladstone.
2016, CC, MPAA rating: R, 107 min., Drama, Box office gross: $1.032 million, IFC/The Criterion Collection.Extras: New interviews with the film’s cast and crew, including Reichardt and executive producer Todd Haynes; new interview with Maile Meloy, author of the stories on which the film is based; trailer; an essay by critic Ella
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.