Wednesday, June 3, 2015

DVD Outlook: June 2015

While the summer blockbuster titles take center stage and dominate the box office sales, June offers a large collection of early-year releases to choose from in the DVD, Blu-Ray and Video On-Demand realms. For the month of May I was hard-pressed to find some suggestions outside of the very impressive war drama, American Sniper, which would still be my firmest recommendation if you haven't seen it. However, this month's top picks are still decent films albeit not at American Sniper's level of quality.

Kingsman: The Secret Service - 2 and a half stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)

A lot was made about Matthew Vaughn's comic book adapted action thriller, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and perhaps rightfully so. Colin Firth co-stars as Harry Hart, a highly trained spy operative who seeks out a smart and resourceful street kid named Eggsy (Taron Egerton) to join their elite squad. The talented young recruit must compete against other fully qualified candidates vying for the lone vacancy in their secret organization, all while a villainous technological mastermind (Samuel L. Jackson) threatens the entire global community. Boasting many brilliant high-octane action sequences and skillfully choreographed fight scenes, only an extremely long-winded running time and a few plot deficiencies can keep Kingsman from greatness. In other words, it's a fun and massively entertaining treat from Matthew Vaughn and company. (June 9th)

While We're Young - 2 and a half stars out of 4 - (Read my rapid review here)

There's something wildly engrossing about Noah Baumbach's generational comedy, While We're Young. Ben Stiller stars as a struggling documentarian and his infertile wife (Naomi Watts) who break from their middle-aged trajectory and befriend a youthful and exuberant couple (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) who force them to re-examine their lives. There's a certain level of charm and mystery surrounding the film that's reinforced through spectacular dialogue and fantastic performances. One of the most pleasant portrayals comes from musician and Beastie Boy, Adam Horovitz (Ad Rock), who delivers an exceptional supporting turn in a surprising change of scenery for the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductee. (June 30th)

Focus - 2 and a half stars out of 4 - (Read my rapid review here)

Hi, my name is Dave Traverso and I'm a Will Smith-aholic. Unlike many of his closeted fans, I've always been an outspoken fan of "The Fresh Prince" ever since his days as a local Philly rapper, through thick and thin. And while Smith's recent filmography has been pretty barren with successful entries, I've never wavered from my undying allegiance to one of Hollywood's most gifted entertainers. From the Crazy Stupid Love directing duo of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa comes Focus, a clever caper comedy that ranks as a worthwhile affair. Smith takes center stage as Nicky, a veteran con-man who can't seem to escape his once-upon-a-time protege and seductress, Jess (Margot Robbie), even years after they last worked together. Ficarra and Requa have made a career out of surprise twists and turns and, although this one is probably the weakest of the bunch, there are enough laughs and solid dramatics to keep you going. (June 2nd)

Honorable Mention: A pair of successful dramas also arrive on DVD this month. Kevin Costner stars in the underdog cross-country drama, McFarland USA (6/2), and the great Al Pacino gives a wonderful performance in the musical drama, Danny Collins (6/30). The polarizing sci-fi action thriller about a conscious robot named Chappie (6/16) finds a release, as well as Liam Neeson's latest action go-around, Run All Night (6/16), co-starring the always fantastic Ed Harris. And finally, a couple of comedies also become available this month, namely the teen flick The Duff (6/9) and the latest from funnyman Kevin Hart, which co-stars Will Ferrell, called Get Hard (6/30).

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