New DVDs: March 2021

Monster Hunter

MetascoreBehind our world, there is another: a world of dangerous and powerful monsters that rule their domain with deadly ferocity. When an unexpected sandstorm transports Captain Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her unit (TI Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta) to a new world, the soldiers are shocked to discover that this hostile and unknown environment is home to enormous and terrifying monsters immune to their firepower. In their desperate battle for survival, the unit encounters the mysterious Hunter (Tony Jaa), whose unique skills allow him to stay one step ahead of the powerful creatures. As Artemis and Hunter slowly build trust, she discovers that he is part of a team led by the Admiral (Ron Perlman). Facing a danger so great it could threaten to destroy their world, the brave warriors combine their unique abilities to band together for the ultimate showdown.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“There are monsters, there are explosions and there is Ron Perlman with beautifully feathered hair. This is a film that is all about spectacle. There is no need to ask questions or wonder about certain aspects of the plot: This is another dimension populated with monsters, that’s all you need to know. Monster Hunter asks you to let every fantastical second wash over you.” – Mary Beth McAndrews, Paste

“There’s something truly electric about the pure, visual storytelling of Monster Hunter.” – Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

Monster Hunter is all sorts of super-dumb fun. And though its middle section lags – there are only so many training montages audiences can handle – Anderson and his wife Jovovich prove that their long-running Resident Evil franchise was no fluke: this is a couple who know how to take the flimsiest of video games and turn them into self-knowing slices of cinematic ridiculousness.” – Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

Available Formats [3/2]:

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


Fatale

MetascoreIn this suspenseful and provocative psychological thriller, a successful sports agent, Darren (Michael Ealy), watches his perfect life slowly disappear when he becomes entangled in a police investigation led by a discredited, disgraced and determined detective (Hilary Swank), with whom he had a wild one night stand.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“The film never takes itself too seriously, considering there are some serious actors in it. In the end, it’s all good fun and a great movie to turn on when you want to hang out with friends and see something truly insane.” – Alan Ng, Film Threat

Fatale works well as an updated throwback. It’s a well-made, well-acted neo-noir absent any sort of self-seriousness or superfluous posturing. An hour-and-a-half has rarely moved faster.” – Dan Mecca, The Film Stage

Fatale proves very watchable, in an incredulous B-movie kind of way, and Taylor is a slick enough filmmaker to keep things moving swiftly and entertainingly. The film certainly looks terrific, thanks to Dante Spinotti’s glossy cinematography and the high-end production design and costuming.” – Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

Available Formats [3/2]:

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


Half Brothers

MetascoreRenato, a successful Mexican aviation executive, is shocked to discover he has an American half-brother he never knew about, the free-spirited Asher. The two very different half-brothers are forced on a road journey together masterminded by their ailing father, tracing the path their father took as an immigrant from Mexico to the US.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“There is an intentionality here that is overwhelmingly optimistic while also insisting on acknowledging all of the troubles of our current moment. And while this does not always mix well with some of the slapstick, the alchemy is ultimately fulfilling.” – Dan Mecca, The Film Stage

“There’s much to like about the road-trip comedy Half Brothers. It’s funny, smart, topical and even touching at times.” – Michael Ordona

“A funny, moving film driven by two good performances amplifying the message of inclusivity, family, and the importance of various perspectives.” – Rosa Parra, Latinx Lens

Available Formats [3/2]:

DVD


Scare Me

MetascoreFred (Josh Ruben), a frustrated copywriter, checks in to a winter cabin to start his first novel. While jogging in the nearby woods, he meets Fanny (Aya Cash), a successful and smug young horror author who fuels his insecurities. During a power outage, Fanny challenges Fred to tell a scary story. As a storm sets in, they pass the time spinning spooky tales fueled by the tensions between them, and Fred is forced to confront his ultimate fear: Fanny is the better storyteller. The stakes are raised when they’re visited by a horror fan (Chris Redd) who delivers levity (and a pizza) to the proceedings.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“The best thing about Scare Me is that, for all of its entertaining qualities and acute cuts at white male fragility, this is one excellent guide to writing and filming good horror.” – Bob Strauss, San Francisco Chronicle

Scare Me plays some thoughtful games with the idea of horror-comedy, and eventually, Ruben uses the self-aware humor to sharpen the shocks.” – Tasha Robinson, Polygon

“Bolstered by a creative storytelling set-up, Ruben and his very game co-star Aya Cash skewer horror tropes as well as cultural obsessions ranging from TV talent shows to the Bechdel Test. The result is a winking horror comedy with a lot on its mind.” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire

Available Formats [3/2]:

DVD


All My Life

MetascoreJennifer Carter (Jessica Rothe) and Solomon Chau (Harry Shum Jr) are a sweet, fun-loving, newly engaged couple whose whole life seems ahead of them. But when Sol is diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in December, their plans for a summer wedding become impossible. In a race against time, Jenn and Sol’s friends and family launch an online fundraiser to help the couple create their dream wedding in just two weeks. In the process, they unleash an outpouring of generosity and attention from people around the world who want to celebrate the power of love with them. Through it all, Jenn and Sol’s commitment to each other only deepens, becoming a heartwarming reminder that the strength of true love knows no limits.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“Sit back. Relax. Bring tissues.” – Chris Knight, National Post

“The warmth and touching tenderness of All My Life melts even the coldest of hearts in its quest to deliver happy and sad tears.” – Courtney Howard, Variety

“Director Marc Meyers and screenwriter Todd Rosenberg manipulate us without restraint, but Rothe and Shum are so endearing and their characters so pleasant that you don’t mind it too much.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

Available Formats [3/2]:

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


Vanguard

MetascoreCovert security company Vanguard is the last hope of survival for an accountant after he is targeted by the world’s deadliest mercenary organization.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“In a mere 108 minutes, Hong Kong-based director Stanley Tong packs enough explosions, fisticuffs, vehicle chases and gunplay to fill the entire The Fast and the Furious franchise and still have a little escapist mayhem leftover.” – Dan Lybarger, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Vanguard, as was always the case with HK action movies, does not stand up to logic. However, both Stanley Tong and Jackie Chan seem to acknowledge, cherish and thrive on this fact, a concept that is quite obvious in the whole duration of the film” – Panos Kotzathanasis, Asian Movie Pulse

“Director/writer Stanley Tong and topliner Jackie Chan have made something that feels like one of those big, splashy international derring-do actioners from the ’70s and ’80s.” – Abbie Bernstein, Assignment X

Available Formats [3/9]:

DVD


Adverse

MetascoreStruggling to make ends meet, rideshare driver Ethan (Thomas Nicholas) learns his sister Mia is deep in debt to a sleazy drug dealer. When Mia goes missing, Ethan discovers that crime boss Kaden (Mickey Rourke) is behind the act, and to get close to him Ethan takes a job as Kaden’s driver. One by one Ethan hunts down members of Kaden’s crew to wreak bloody vengeance as he prepares to confront Kaden himself.

Description provided by Metacritic.

“The very best thing in the entire movie is Rourke’s surprisingly affecting and consistently riveting portrayal of Kaden as a melancholy monster who is at once painfully self-aware and unapologetically amoral.” – Joe Leydon, Variety

Available Formats [3/9]:

DVD


American Skin

MetascoreA Marine veteran working as a school janitor tries to mend his relationship with his son after a divorce. When his son is killed by a police officer found innocent without standing trial, he takes matters into his own hands.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“It’s a good movie: tense, bold, angry, empathetic, provocative, observant, morally engaged. And also, to be honest, a trifle gimmicky. Yet that’s tied to its power as a racially charged, socially urgent gut-punch drama.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety

American Skin is meant to push buttons; it is meant to be over-the-top because going big is how you get attention for important issues.” – Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk Critics

“While Nate Parker’s American Skin isn’t a complete homerun, it sure is bold, and entertaining. It gathers up all the frustrations many Black Americans face into a 90 minute narrative that will definitely get some necessary dialogue going.” – Brandon Avery, Just My Opinion Reviews

Available Formats [3/9]:

DVD


Promising Young Woman

MetascoreEveryone said Cassie (Carey Mulligan) was a promising young woman… until a mysterious event abruptly derailed her future. But nothing in Cassie’s life is what it appears to be: she’s wickedly smart, tantalizingly cunning, and she’s living a secret double life by night. Now, an unexpected encounter is about to give Cassie a chance to right the wrongs of the past.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“Apart from the excellence of this film, Fennell may have tapped into something tonally that truly expresses the moment we’re in. Point being, we’re in a time of horrible ridiculousness, and ridiculous horribleness. The revelation of Promising Young Woman is that its heightened reality feels more real — closer to actual reality — than comedy or drama.” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

“The film’s use of neon candy pinks, its star’s striking choice of nail polish, the soundtrack, the casting, the drama imbued in every shot, no matter whether it’s an extreme close-up of just-smacked bubblegum or a wide shot of a bleak overpass, or our electrifying heroine (played by Carey Mulligan) — it all works in unison to deliver a mesmerizing film wrapped around Fennell’s savage idea.” – Alex Abad-Santos, Vox

“In filmmaker Emerald Fennell’s diabolically funny takedown of toxic masculinity, Carey Mulligan gives a dynamite performance that should make her a frontrunner in the Oscar race for Best Actress.” – Peter Travers, ABC

Available Formats [3/16]:

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


Songbird

MetascoreThe COVID-23 virus has mutated and the world is in its fourth year of lockdown. Infected Americans are ripped from their homes and forced into quarantine camps known as Q-Zones, from which there is no escape, as a few brave souls fight back against the forces of oppression. Amid this dystopian landscape, a fearless courier, Nico (KJ Apa), who’s immune to the deadly pathogen, finds hope and love with Sara (Sofia Carson), though her lockdown prohibits them from physical contact. When Sara is believed to have become infected, Nico races desperately across the barren streets of Los Angeles in search of the only thing that can save her from imprisonment… or worse.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

Songbird is an acceptably watchable thriller that’s more notable for what it achieves technically than anything else. For many, the topical gimmick will prove irresistible but for others, it will be repellent, making the decision to avoid an expensive, anti-escapist rental all too easy. Either way, it’s headed to the history books.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“An enjoyably tactless jolt of trash-cinema bravado.” – Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

“Despite the undeniable feel of an Amazon Prime commercial, Songbird is a surprisingly gripping and tense dystopian film framed in a Contagion style pandemic.” – Nicola Austin, We Have a Hulk

Available Formats [3/16]:

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


Des

MetascoreIn 1983 Scottish serial killer Dennis Nilsen is arrested after the discovery of human remains which have blocked a drain near his London home.

Description provided by IMDb.

“David Tennant’s​ drift to the dark side reaches new heights with his latest, chilling performance.” – James Croot, Stuff.co.nz

“In short, it’s a fascinating portrait of a terrible man.” – Scott Bryan, BBC

“You might find yourself wanting to turn away but it’s hard. Des casts a deadly spell.” – Keith Watson, Metro

Available Formats [3/16]:

DVD


Don’t Tell a Soul

MetascoreWhile stealing money to help their sick mother (Mena Suvari), teen brothers Matt and Joey (Fionn Whitehead and Jack Dylan Grazer) are surprised by Hamby (Rainn Wilson), a security officer who gives chase and is then trapped in a well. Over the next few days, Joey and Hamby forge an uneasy relationship. Hamby tells Joey he’ll keep quiet if Joey sets him free. But Hamby holds another secret, one that will threaten Joey and his family, in this twist-filled, cat-and-mouse thriller.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“McAulay has crafted a terse, bleak drama. It’s reminiscent of the portrait of a corrupt male friendship in Super Dark Times, but with the added pressures of kinship and family. To describe Don’t Tell a Soul as a story of toxic masculinity is both accurate but, in a time when every film with a flawed or unpleasant male an/protagonist gets that tag, almost glib. There’s something rancid between the boys.” – Richard Whittaker, Austin Chronicle

“As lean and mean as they come, this sharp, emotional thriller is centered on just four characters and a couple of spare locations, and yet it wryly uncoils a surprising number of shocks and layers.” – Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media

“McAulay offers enough reasons to stick around, carefully developing his characters while adding necessary strangeness to the central survival plot.” – Brian Orndorf, Blu-ray.com

Available Formats [3/16]:

DVD


News of the World

MetascoreFive years after the end of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks), a veteran of three wars, now moves from town to town as a non-fiction storyteller, sharing the news of presidents and queens, glorious feuds, devastating catastrophes, and gripping adventures from the far reaches of the globe. In the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with Johanna (Helena Zengel), a 10-year-old taken in by the Kiowa people six years earlier and raised as one of their own. Johanna, hostile to a world she’s never experienced, is being returned to her biological aunt and uncle against her will. Kidd agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two will face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces as they search for a place that either can call home.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

News of the World works at the highest levels as a story of two lost souls who find one another, and as a crackling good, blood-spattered Western.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

“It feels odd to see a Western in 2020 that actually dares to be a Western, especially coming from a director who for so long specialized in urgent, high-tech, ripped-from-the-headlines thrillers. But maybe that’s not so odd a combination. News of the World has the trappings of an old-fashioned epic, but it also has a restless, modern soul.” – Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

“Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks have given us something truly special with their latest collaboration: a film that is engaging and challenging but also just makes you feel good.” – Zaki Hasan, IGN

Available Formats [3/23]:

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


The Undoing

MetascoreGrace Sachs’ (Kidman) seemingly perfect life unravels when her husband (Hugh Grant) disappears in this limited series from David E. Kelley based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s book You Should Have Known.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“A murder story so full of plot twists and turns, so many characters shedding snakish skins, that it’s nearly impossible to write about without scattering spoilers around like confetti. Yet in no way does it turn on plot gimmickry. It’s about trust and relationships, authenticity and appearances, verisimilitude and veneers.” – Glenn Garvin, Reason

“Ugliness has never looked more spectacular than in this juicy tale of innocence lost among the rich and beautiful.” – Matt Roush, TV Guide

“It offers a moody sense of atmosphere, a welcome reminder of New York’s pre-pandemic days (the series was shot in 2019), fine acting, and a seductive mystery that will likely lure in even viewers who try to resist it. It is chilly in here, yes. Nevertheless, you’ll still want to stay a while.” – Jen Chaney, Vulture

Available Formats [3/23]:

DVD


Wonder Woman 1984

MetascoreFast forward to the 1980s as Wonder Woman’s next big screen adventure finds her facing two all-new foes: Max Lord and The Cheetah.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“We’ve all been waiting for Gadot, and it was worth it. A much-needed blockbuster full of humour, spectacle and optimism.” – Jamie Graham, Total Film

“To be sure, we get a classic comic book movie storyline about a megalomaniacal madman intent on taking over the world, but there’s often a relatively light tone to the proceedings. This is a throwback piece of pure pop entertainment.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins’ long-awaited sequel, is a much better film. It’s not that it’s lacking in chaos. (With a running time of 2 hours and 31 minutes, it’s not lacking in much.) It just uses chaos more judiciously. That’s fitting for a film about wretched excess, about getting what you want and realizing that maybe you were better off without it.” – Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

Available Formats [3/30]:

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


Our Friend

MetascoreAfter learning that his terminally ill wife has six months to live, a man welcomes the support of his best friend who moves into their home to help out. His impact on the whole family is much greater than anyone could have imagined.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“The intimacy of Ms. Johnson’s performance is extraordinary. She is the least assertive of movie stars, yet the courage, despair and fury she finds in Nicole will lift you up and spin you around.” – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

“The film absorbingly shuttles back and forth in time, tracking key moments in the trio’s lives that not only illuminate their pasts but effectively prepare us for who Matt, Nicole and Dane become, for better and worse, when the going gets tough. It adds up to a skillful kind of mosaic that pays powerful emotional dividends.” – Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

“It succeeds by sticking closely to the important specifics… It’s a small-scale human story, precious few of which make it to film these days. It’s also, if you’re in the market for that kind of thing, an extremely effective tearjerker.” – Katey Rich, Vanity Fair

Available Formats [3/30]:

Blu-ray / DVD Combo Pack


Another Round

MetascoreThere’s a theory that we should be born with a small amount of alcohol in our blood, and that modest inebriation opens our minds to the world around us, diminishing our problems and increasing our creativity. Heartened by that theory, Martin and three of his friends, all weary high school teachers, embark on an experiment to maintain a constant level of intoxication throughout the workday. If Churchill won WW2 in a heavy daze of alcohol, who knows what a few drops might do for them and their students? Initial results are positive, and the teachers’ little project turns into a genuine academic study. Both their classes and their results continue to improve, and the group feels alive again! As the units are knocked back, some of the participants see further improvement and others go off the rails. It becomes increasingly clear that while alcohol may have fueled great results in world history, some bold acts carry consequences.

Description and score provided by Metacritic.

“In a year when much of the world has been stuck at home, day drinking, Another Round is a welcome shot of bitters with a warm cognac chaser, and a bracing/revealing renewal of a grand Danish partnership, Vinterberg and Mads his muse.” – Roger Moore, Movie Nation

“Vinterberg’s ending offers an unlikely sense of catharsis, even though it isn’t truly happy, turning the film into something fresh and affecting. On top of all that, the film provides the opportunity to watch Mikkelsen give perhaps his best performance yet.” – Karen Han, Polygon

“Here, merriment and melancholy go hand in hand, partners in life’s dance just as a stiff drink is an accompaniment to life’s pleasures. The combination proves as intoxicating as the fancy-pants cocktails the boys whip up together—if not more so.” – Andrew Crump, Paste

Available Formats [3/30]:

DVD


A Perfect Planet

MetascoreThe five-part nature documentary series narrated by David Attenborough looks at how weather, ocean currents, the sun and volcanoes shaped Earth and the animals that have adapted to the extremes.

Description provided by Metacritic.

“It was stunning though, wasn’t it? The flamingo migration scenes alone were a work of art; shown from above they looked like the whirl on top of a latte. Quite magnificent. Breathtaking also were the vampire finches that seemed to have conned boobies into believing that when they suck their blood they are doing them a favour.” – Carol Midgley, The Times

“The cinematography is as awesome in scale and majesty as anything that has gone before, capturing both vast panoramas of tropical atolls and the tiniest wrinkly detail of a giant tortoise’s backside. The theme of the series is clever and novel, each episode analysing one of the great forces of nature that have created ‘the only planet in the universe, so far as we know, where there is life’ – the sun, weather, oceans and so on.” – Sean O’Grady, The Independent

“The quality of the photography was so exquisite, and the narration so spare and intelligent, that it was still required viewing. And the perspective of this series was something new. It explores the great forces of nature that enable life on Earth.” – Anita Singh, The Telegraph

Available Formats [3/30]:

DVD

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