This Week In Home Entertainment: Oblivion, Mud And The Place Beyond The Pines
We’re getting into that time of year when good indie flicks, full seasons of television, and popular theatrical films are all getting released on to Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD. New releases may be plentiful, but this also means that buyers may be holding back and pinching pennies in order to spend on the movies and shows they’ve been waiting months to get their hands on. The good news is, there should be something out this week that piques your interest at least a little bit. You can read on to learn about some of August 6th’s best releases, and maybe even a few that may have slipped under your radar.
This past year or so hasn’t been the best period of time for Tom Cruise. He was teased for his short stature in Jack Reacher and almost no one saw his bare-chested act in Rock of Ages. Which brings us to Oblivion, a movie featuring a fine performance from the 51-year-old actor in a movie that loses steam when it comes to a grab bag of plotlines that nod at too many science fiction films over the years. Not even the gorgeous Olga Kurylenko can save the uninspiring storywith her doe eyes and her sincere portrayal of Julia, an astronaut that’s been frozen in space for many years before crash landing back on Earth.
Movies should be buttered up a little before they are lambasted, and there are some good things to say about the gorgeous Oblivion. The visually spectacular film is fine-looking in a way most big budget movies don’t manage to be; instead of roaring with life and action-oriented sequences, Oblivion manages to be quietly pretty, offering wild, barren landscapes juxtaposed with calm and modern-looking space shuttles and living spaces. The landscapes give the film a desolate feel, and make the setting feel like a very different Earth than the one we live on.
Audiences don’t typically attend the movies just to check out scene after scene of pretty looking cinematography, but with this flick, audiences will find that the film’s strength is its mix of CGI and natural beauty. While the scale of the visual spectacle is impressive, the plot is fairly bizarre, even for a science fiction film. Years after an alien invasion, humanity has been relegated to one large ship in space after the devastation of the Earth. Humanity still has some drones in the atmosphere, and a few humans are left to do repairs and keep an eye out for any remaining aliens on Earth. Cruise's Jack Harper is one of these humans, and much of the scenes feature him running around the barren landscape, fixing drones and keeping an eye out for the enemy. He has a by-the-book partner in the sky named Victoria (Andrea Riseborough), who reports to the last known human colony, Titan, in space. But after a U.S. spaceship crashes on earth, Jack begins to ask questions and learns that the alien invasion may not have occurred exactly as he remembers.
Oblivion is the sort of movie that will keep audiences on the edges of their seats, asking them to wait for an emotional or action-oriented payoff. Unfortunately, the only payoff is the film’s beauty.
You can order Oblivion via Amazon.
Best Special Feature: Oblivion is the best type of movie to include a lengthy making-of featurette with. From costumes to weaponry and living spaces, science fiction films are all about the details, and when we get a behind-the-scenes look, these sorts of documentaries help to flesh out some of the small things we may have missed during the first viewing of the film. “Promise of a New World: The Making of Oblivion” is a five-part documentary that takes a look at writing, filming, and putting together the film. A lot of times these sorts of segments can be tedious, but if you listen to director Joseph Kosinski harken back to films like Alien and 2001: A Space Odyssey, I bet you’ll find yourself enamored with the material. Some of the landscapes the team shot are perused in the segment, as is the design of the sets, the action narratives, the CGI, and more.
Other Special Features:
M83 Isolated Score
Feature Commentary with Cruise and Kosinski
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