Tuesday, May 9, 2017

DVD Outlook: May 2017

As the summer blockbuster season takes over movie theaters nationwide with Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 kicking off the annual tradition, May's DVD and streaming outlook offers a modest collection of new releases (April's suggestions). While I can't vouch for many of the titles arriving this month, I will say that the finest entry from 2017 I've seen so far headlines the crop of films for May.

Get Out - Three stars out of 4 - (Read my rapid review here)

Jordan Peele, best known as one of the figureheads from Comedy Central's former sketch comedy show, Key & Peele, offers his directorial debut with the massively horror film, Get Out. Daniel Kaluuya stars as Chris Washington, an African-American man whose traveling to rural upstate area to visit his Caucasian girlfriend's (Allison Williams) parents for the first time. But the more time Chris spends at their upscale estate, the more he begins to notice how strange all of the other Black people he encounters seem to be acting, and he suspects a darker motive. Get Out plays well to its racial undertones, but the film shines brightest with it's creative horror and thriller twists that keep the audience guessing the entire film. Get Out is the year's best offering (so far) and it instantly makes me eager for whatever Jordan Peele has lined up next. (May 23rd)

Logan - Two and a half stars out of 4 - (No review available)

After hearing all of the lofty praises for James Mangold's Logan, some as bold as calling it the greatest superhero movie of all-time, I caught the film very late in its theatrical run. And while Logan stands as a serviceable superhero entry, Mangold's latest venture into the world of Wolverine has been unquestionably overblown by its loyal fans. Hugh Jackman reprises his title character role as a former member of the X-Men whose caring for an ailing Professor X (Patrick Stewart) in a remote home off the Mexican border. But despite Logan's valiant efforts to stay off the grid, he finds himself consumed by a new foe when he's asked by a desperate woman to help escort her and a peculiar child to the Canadian border. Logan has moments of intense gratifying action, but it also succumbs to hokey dramatics and immense overacting from its leading star. In a weak month of new releases, Logan finds itself near the top of my suggestions strictly by default. (May 23rd)

I Am Not Your Negro - Unrated

In these tumultuous times of racial tension and a divided nation, Raoul Peck reintroduces the world to the powerful and insightful African-American author and activist, James Baldwin. Interweaving public interviews and known writings form Baldwin (which are narrated by Samuel L. Jackson), this poignant documentary feels eerily reminiscent with today's unfortunate state of events. I was only able to catch snippets of I am Not Your Negro, which was also an Oscar-Nominee for Best Documentary, and I found its message of hope and equality to be a powerful reminder of how far we still need to go as a society to come together. Some will label the doc as politicizing propaganda, but I commend Peck's efforts for bringing the intellectual and outspoken thoughts and beliefs of Baldwin to the forefront of our country's racial equality discussion. It's a message that everyone should know and hear. (May 2nd)

Honorable Mention: If you're looking for some cheap laughs and a rather mindless comedy experience, Fist Fight (5/30), is nothing spectacular but it will do the trick. While I admittedly haven't seen either film, My Life as a Zucchini (5/23), was one of the five Oscar-nominated animated features from 2016, and The Salesman (5/2) won the Foreign Film Oscar. Matthew McConaughey stars in the middling drama, Gold (5/2), and the sentimental heart-warming flick, A Dog's Purpose (5/2), has already arrived as well. Teen sci-fi drama, The Space Between Us (5/16), is also available this month, as is the sequel Fifty Shades Darker (5/16).

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