Monday, April 4, 2016

DVD Outlook: April 2016

I mentioned recently how excellent the DVD and rental selection have been the past few months and I wasn't exaggerating (March's suggestions). By comparison, April really only offers two quality selections that I can vouch for myself. In conjunction with my recommendations below, I suggest scouring last month's and February's crop of titles as well,

The Revenant - 3 and a half stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)

After taking home Best Picture and Best Director honors two years ago for Birdman, director Alejandro Inarritu was very close to repeating both awards with The Revenant. Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar winning performance is equally matched by supporting star, Tom Hardy, in the vengeful real-life story of frontiersman, Hugh Glass. The Revenant represents a premiere example of exceptional direction, one that reaffirms Inarritu's undeniable superiority to all of his contemporaries. Despite its relentless violent tone, The Revenant truly stands of one of this past year's finest films. (April 19th)

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)

After a less than effective prequel trilogy around the turn of the millennium in 2000, all eyes shifted to J.J. Abrams in 2015. This respectful visionary appropriately handled a re-introduction to the Star Trek franchise in 2009, but it's a different ballgame when we're talking about the most iconic science fiction series of all-time. It wasn't without a few blemishes, but a large majority of audience, myself included, were more than pleased with Abrams' box-office smash, The Force Awakens. Set once again in a galaxy far, far away, Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo's (Harrison Ford) biological son, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), has become the most menacing figure of the First Order, and it's up to a fugitive stormtrooper (John Boyega) and a poor scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley) to combat these emerging evil forces. The Force Awakens uses a similar story structure and familiar characters to transition audiences from the original Star Wars into a whole new saga. And, with J.J. Abrams calling the shots, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. (April 5th)

Honorable Mention: With the majority of 2015's power hitters making their way to DVD and Blu-Ray in February and March, this month is flooded with slim pickings. Outside of my two main recommendations above, a pair of mediocre titles I watched include the British comedy, The Lady in the Van (4/19), and the holiday horror film, Krampus (4/26). I can't speak for the entry myself, but the spoof comedy, 50 Shades of Black (4/19), also arrives in April. Finally, the Oscar-nominated foreign feature, Son of Saul (4/26), boasts an intriguing Nazi concentration camp premise as well.

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