By now, most people know that new DVDs and Blu-rays are released on Tuesdays. So before spending your hard earned cash this week, research and make sure the films are worth a purchase or if you should test the waters with a rental. And remember, a talented actor does not always equal a brilliant film. Sadly, this is something I still have trouble grasping from time to time as well, but try not to be a repeat offender like myself and fall into that trap. Like most weeks, there are is at least what most consumers consider one big name release. This week there are two big releases including “Everest,” “The Intern,” and “Straight Outta Compton.” Each seemed interesting enough for an initial viewing, but sadly I did not have time venture my way to a theater to see any of these features. However, all of these are great contenders for a perfect rental film. With that said, I will provide a brief synopsis of each film and a few snippets from reviews to help make your shopping experience a good one.
Based on the true story, the trailer for “Everest” takes us on a journey of climbers who steam from two commercial expeditions. After the climbers make it to the top of Everest they encounter a violent storm that strikes the mountain with no time to escape. The feature gives us the inside look into the lives of normal people that show true perseverance in the face of danger in order to survive against what can only be described as impossible odds. From most of the reviews I have read on this feature, the true treat was to be able to see this particular film on an IMAX screen. The presentation was said to have been absolutely breathtaking. And after reading Tim Martain’s review, which states “from the sound design to the spectacular cinematography, everything combines to create an uncanny sensation of being there,” I believe this would still be a spectacular piece to watch at a friend’s house who has a big television typically reserved for a Sunday football game. Of course, much like all films, there are those who do not agree with this assessment. David Keyes explains that “over the course of a fragmented 121 minutes we find ourselves lost in just as much of a snowy fog as those of the actors, who wander in and out of the frame as if uncertain as to whether the story even requires them.” While this does not speak well for the storytelling, this is the first film I’ve noticed that has the same rating on Rotten Tomatoes among critics and audiences alike, with a 72% fresh rating. And while this isn’t a film that I envision myself owning personally, I think this feature is a safe bet for a rental or to purchase in the upcoming week.
Upon seeing the trailer for “The Intern,” I knew eventually this would be a film I’d venture to purchase upon its release. Out of all the films arriving on DVD I’m the most excited about this feature. The film focuses on a retired businessman, Ben (Robert De Niro), who takes an internship for an online fashion site run by career-driven Jules (Anne Hathaway). While I have enjoyed features of Nancy Meyers in the past, “The Holiday,” “It’s Complicated,” and “Something’s Gotta Give,” there is something about “The Intern” that appears fresh and full of new-found wit for all audiences. And John Beifuss appears to agree with these sentiments. Mr. Beifuss writes that “The Intern” is “It’s a work of unwavering optimism with an uncompromised pro-career-woman message, and I found it refreshing.” However, James Berardinelli disagrees and feels that “in terms of comedic and dramatic content, The Intern is hit-and-miss. Notions about ageism and corporate prejudice against female CEOs are grazed but not explored in a meaningful or compelling way.” While the opinions certainly differ, I’m interested to form an opinion of my own. And with a 60% fresh rating among critics and 76% fresh rating among audiences, “The Intern” appears to be a safe bet for at least a rental. However there is always Netflix or Amazon Prime if there is still an uncertainty about any purchase.
“Straight Outta Compton”
“Straight Outta Compton” is a story that anyone who enjoys hip hop should partake in viewing. The film focuses on the emergence of the group NWA and explores the upbringing of living in one of the most dangerous cities in Los Angeles, California, Compton. Audiences get a front row seat for the group that revolutionized the hip hop culture and paved the way for all future rap and hip hop music by merely being honest about their personal lives. Though due to stereotypes of the time this was easier said than done. There were not many people in power who particularly cared for the truth that was being spoken about the lifestyle that Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, or Easy-E had to endure at the time. Furthermore, there weren’t many people who viewed rap as a true art form as others are prone to do so today. Richard Brody insists that “the core of the story is business, the object is power, and the quirks of desire and twists of the unconscious are given no place in the struggle-which the movie sharply carries ahead to the present day.” However, Donnell Alexander writes that “despite ‘Straight Outta Compton’s’ energetic acting and Gray’s capture of in-studio Eureka! moments, it never manages to transcend biopic hagiography.” While there aren’t many biographies that transcend into something more than a mere biopic, with a 88% fresh rating among critics and 93% fresh rating among audiences “Straight Outta Compton” is one of those films that would be worthy of a rental. However, if you’re a true fan of the genre or any of these rappers, something tells me this would also be a safe purchase as well.
Finally, other films out this week include: “Jem and the Holograms,” “Learning to Drive,” “Stonewall,” “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” and “The Stanford Prison Experiment.” Please keep in mind, if you are interested in renting any of these films, make sure to check out this title through Videodrome, Netflix, Redbox, or on demand channels provided by your cable or satellite provider. To purchase any Blu-rays or DVDs mentioned in this article please check out your local Austell Best Buy, Walmart, Target, or Kmart.