Live. Die. Repeat / Edge Of Tomorrow Blu-rayWell, it’s official: Starting today, Edge of Tomorrow is now christened on its Blu-ray box as Live. Die. Repeat / Edge of Tomorrow. Tell all your friends. Or don’t, as the confounding title of this movie has no effect whatsoever on how awesome this movie is.
Tom Cruise has been scraping the bottle of the barrel with a few duds recently, including the preposterous Rock of Ages and the boring Oblivion. Perhaps because of the actor’s recent misses and weird marketing that didn’t totally explain how funny Tom Cruise’s latest movie is, people didn’t go out in droves to see Edge of Tomorrow in theaters. Luckily, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has rectified this situation with its Blu-ray set, which features better marketing and a slew of bonus features to entice fans.
The movie itself follows Tom Cruise as Major Cage, a squeamish public affairs officer who, through a series of unfortunate events, finds himself fighting on the front lines in a war against an alien race known as the Mimics. After dying horrifically on the beach, he begins reliving the same day over and over, and his character and goals change as time trudges on. It sounds like an incredibly high-concept narrative, and it is, but it’s also incredibly entertaining. Cruise’s excellent comedic performance is helped along by Bill Paxton, who is also exciting to watch as blowhard Master Sergeant Farell. Additionally, Emily Blunt brings her usual charm as well as an added level of badassery as Sergeant Rita Vrataski, otherwise known as the "Full Metal Bitch."
You can order Live. Die. Repeat / Edge of Tomorrow over at Amazon.
Best Special Feature: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment isn’t exactly going out of its way to produce an expensive Blu-ray set. Edge of Tomorrow has a pretty basic menu screen and setup, but luckily, there are plenty of extras with the set that fans will want to watch, many of which look at the special effects and the weaponry developed to fight the mimics. The "Storming The Beach" extra is fantastic because it talks about how director Doug Liman and the crew worked to make the storming of the beach in the movie reminiscent of World War II, and even went so far as to build their own beach to make the details perfect. Most of the extras are filled with stories from the set like these.
"Operation Downfall- Adrenaline Cut"
"Weapons of the Future"
"Creatures Not of This World"
"On the Edge with Doug Liman"
A Million Ways To Die In The West Blu-raySeth MacFarlane’s latest comedic endeavor, A Million Ways To Die In The West, has a great title and a uniquely funny concept. As the Oregon Trail game taught many of us years ago, there are truly a lot of horrible, disgusting ways to die in the Wild West. Throw in a self-aware and sarcastic character willing to point out the status quo, and Universal Studios Home Entertainment should have had a hit on its hands. Unfortunately, A Million Way To Die In The West is often funnier in theory than it is in actual laughs per minute.
A Million Ways To Die In The West was directed by MacFarlane, and it stars the comedian as Albert, a sheep farmer with a healthy disdain for the Arizona town he lives in. After his cute but shallow girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) breaks up with him, he’s ready to high-tail it to California. Then, he meets smart and playful sharpshooter Anna (Charlize Theron) and his opinion changes. Still, people in the Wild West aren’t always who they seem.
Despite a slew of ridiculous death scenes, there aren't a ton of big laughs in A Million Ways To Die In The West. Instead, most of the movie’s best jokes are subtle, quick moments. At one point, Albert and Anna are having a conversation about music and Theron makes a crack about Stephen Foster. It’s an insanely clever reference that I’m sure goes over a good chunk of the audiences’ heads. However, because there aren’t enough unifying big laughs to propel A Million Ways To Die In The West in the right direction, scenes in the movie often end up dead in the water. Or more appropriately, dead in the desert. The only time the movie feels paced really adequately is in the last 15 minutes, when a duel and a hilarious soliloquy by MacFarlane livens things up.
I enjoyed Albert and Anna’s story, as well as the slew of cameos the movie has to offer, but a lot of viewers might find it tough to jump from the uproarious Ted to this clever but clunky endeavor.
You can order A Million Ways To Die In The West over at Amazon.
Best Special Feature: If you enjoyed A Million Ways To Die In The West, the bonus features are all pretty enjoyable, with the deleted, extended and alternate scenes being the best part of the bonus features. There’s a scene that Geovani Ribisi and Seth MacFarlane shot where they two are discussing MacFarlane’s date and he makes several great jokes, including being upset that a woman kept bringing up her dead son on the date and going out with someone who was so old, she’d already hit thirty. I don’t remember what joke actually made it into the movie, but it wasn’t as funny as a few of the deleted footage.
"Once Upon A Time, In A Different West"
Million Dollar Arm Blu-rayRemember when Disney made the claim that its baseball-based film Million Dollar Arm was its highest testing film in years? The movie went on to make a little more than its modest budget, but it didn’t manage to make waves with either critical or monetary success. Watching the film on Blu-ray for the first time, it’s easy to see why. Million Dollar Arm is a pleasant watch, but there’s nothing about the film that is as inspiring or uplifting as its source material.
Million Dollar Arm follows the story of JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm), a struggling sports agent that gets the brilliant idea to look into the cricket market and see if any players might have the potential to switch to American baseball. With a little help from sports scout Ray (Alan Arkin) and translator Amit (Pitobash), JB is able to find two tough pitchers in Dinesh (Madhur Mittal) and Rinku (Suraj Sharma). However, the journey from the practice field into the professionals is much tougher than any of the individuals involved imagine.
Beyond the baseball talk, there’s also a ham-fisted romantic subplot between JB and his neighbor Brenda (played by Lake Bell). The two are clearly interested in one another, but can’t seem to get on the same page until Disney decides to tie up that plotline with a neat little bow.
Both director Craig Gillespie and writer Tom McCarthy have been a part of compelling projects in the past. The former made a name for himself directing Lars and the Real Girl while the latter has written screenplays for The Station Agent and Win-Win. Combined they have enough talent to put together a compelling and enjoyable cinematic endeavor, but due to the family nature of the drama and the corny nature of Disney’s brand of PG-rated live action, Million Dollar Arm never stands out.
You can order Million Dollar Arm over at Amazon.
Best Special Feature: Disney puts together a really nice Blu-ray. The menu page is beautiful, the pop-up menu is easily accessible so buyers don’t have to watch a ton of previews every time they pop in the Blu-ray and there are always plenty of bonus features. This time around, Walt Disney Home Entertainment didn’t have to stretch too far to find interesting footage to include on the disc. Real life interviews with J.B. Bernstein and Dinesh and Rinku are shown during the segment "Their Story," and really gives us a few more reasons to invest in the characters.
"Million Dollar Music by A.R. Rahman"
Obvious Child Blu-rayIn addition to all of this week’s movies featuring the word "million" in the title, Lionsgate Home Entertainment has released a gem of an indie flick in Obvious Child, which follows an aimless comedian who finds herself dealing with an unwanted pregnancy after a one night stand. The topic might be tough for some, but despite the basic subject matter, Obvious Child is mostly the story of a woman’s struggling with where she is going and who she wants to take with her on her journey. Lead actress Jenny Slate is in fine form as Donna, and she’s supported by an intensely funny supporting cast that includes former child actress Gaby Hoffman and longtime comedian David Cross. Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s set is pretty basic, but it does come with audio commentary from writer and director Gillian Robespierre, producer and co-writer Elisabeth Holm and actress Jenny Slate. You can order Obvious Child over at Amazon.
You can check out some more of this week’s releases, below. Unless otherwise noted, sets are available on Both Blu-ray and DVD.
Other October 7 Releases
Sharknado 2: The Second One
Vikings: The Complete Second Season
American Horror Story: Coven
Rick and Morty: Season 1 Blu-ray
The Following: The Complete Second Season
Bates Motel: Season 2
Alien: 35th Anniversary Blu-ray
Duck Dynasty: Season 6
Hemlock Grove: The Complete First Season
Sideways: 10th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray
Ice Age: The Complete Collection
School Dance DVD