Friday, August 7, 2015

DVD Outlook: August 2015

In all honesty, this month's crop of new DVD and Blu-Ray selections isn't anything to get excited over. In fact, I'd suggest either looking into July's titles (or earlier) or taking a trip to the movie theater and watching a gripping new thriller like, The Gift. Filled with early year blunders and slow-churning period pieces, August/s new releases leave plenty to be desired. Here are the best suggestions I can give:

True Story - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)

My most prominent recommendation of the month is the Sundance selection, True Story. Rupert Goold's compelling film tells the real life tale of Christian Longo (James Franco), an America's Most Wanted fugitive accused of killing his wife and children who was eventually found in Mexico using the identity of a recently dismissed New York Times reporter, Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill). And once Finkel discovers that Longo had been operating under his name, he's granted one-on-one access by the prisoner who slowly divulges the truth behind what happened on that fateful night. Academy Award Nominees Jonah Hill and James Franco put their talents on display in this skin-crawling and gripping drama. (August 4th)

Citizenfour - 2 and a half stars out of 4 - (No review available)

Although I never formally wrote up a review for the Academy Award winning documentary, Citizenfour, I was immediately captivated by the film during its HBO release. Laura Poitras is granted unique access into the life of whistleblower Edward Snowden as they capture his first-hand confessionals on why he felt obligated to alert the public of the U.S. government's surveillance and privacy breaching capabilities. The documentary opens with an enormous bang and slowly fizzles as the running time amounts to nearly two hours, but make no mistake that Citizenfour is an eye-opening journey into the current state of our government's handling (or mishandling) of private information. (August 25th)

Far from the Madding Crowd - N/A stars  - (No review available)

Although I haven't seen the newly adapted version of Thomas Hardy's novel, Far from the Madding Crowd, it's a rare female-centric period-piece that I'm actually interested in watching. Thomas Vinterberg's vision stars the always phenomenal Carey Mulligan in the iconic role of Bathsheba Everdene, a single and independent woman who attracts the attention of three male suitors vying for her affection. Critical reviews were very solid for the film and moviegoers also vocalized their approval through various rating outlets. Given Mulligan's strong track record for fine performances in films such as An Education, Drive, The Great Gatsby and Shame, I feel extremely confident that Far from the Madding Crowd won't disappoint. (August 4th)

Honorable Mention: One prominent new release is a foreign title Two Days, One Night (8/25) that landed Marion Cotillard an Oscar Nomination in the Best Actress category. Child 44 (8/4) stars Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman in Stalin-Era Soviet Union as they try to identify a serial child murderer. Another teen franchise pushes forward with Insurgent (8/4) starring Shailene Woodley. The irritatingly shot but decent horror flick, Unfriended (8/11) is released this month as well as a pair of comedies I need to mention but certainly won't recommend, Hot Pursuit (8/11) starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, as well as Cameron Crowe's disappointment, Aloha (8/25), starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone.

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