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article imageReview: Choices make or break you in this week’s releases Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Aug 3, 2018 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include the final chapter in an epic saga; a reboot that changes the rules a little; a series that questions our very existence; and a goofy B-movie about carnivorous fish.
Counterpart: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Howard Silk (J.K. Simmons) is a lowly cog in the bureaucratic machinery of a Berlin-based United Nations spy agency. When Howard discovers that his organization safeguards the secret of a crossing into a parallel dimension, he is thrust into a shadow world of intrigue, danger, and double cross where the only man he can trust is his near-identical counterpart from this parallel world.
Much like the film Parallel Doors, this series examines how people’s lives can differ if at some point they’ve made a different decision and their paths diverged. On one side, Howard is a compassionate, boring, worker bee content with mundanity; on the other, he’s a shrewd, callous agent who’s alienated his loved ones. However, as the narrative progresses, the differences in their worlds and the people in them becomes increasingly problematic. Finding themselves fascinated or appalled by their others’ existences, they’re simultaneously drawn to the things they’ve lost on their side that still exist on the other. As the subterfuge between the two sides is further revealed, the show gains complexity and intrigue. It’s also very impressive to watch Simmons define and distinguish the two Howards simply by varying their mannerisms and speech.
Special features include: “Season Outlook”; and “Inside the World of Counterpart.” (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Dark Crimes (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
When police officer Tadek (Jim Carrey) finds similarities between an unsolved murder and a crime outlined in a book by famed writer Krystof Kozlov (Marton Csokas), Tadek begins to track Kozlov and his girlfriend, a mysterious sex-club worker (Charlotte Gainsbourg). As his obsession with Kozlov grows, Tadek descends into a deadly underworld of sex, lies, and corruption to find the shocking, deadly truth.
This is the story of a down-and-out detective who becomes obsessed with a case that could put the last nail in his career’s coffin. Tadek has been warned not to reopen this case, but he becomes fixated on proving Kozlov’s guilt and putting him behind bars. However, he allows himself to get so absorbed into the details of the sex ring and the murder that he repels his family and cannot maintain objectivity regarding those involved. The film is dark, visually and metaphorically, and the narrative is weighed down by many layers of deception and ambiguity. At times it feels like Tadek’s investigation is going nowhere, only for him to turn the corner and make another connection in the case. Carrey’s brooding appearance is surpassed by his even broodier performance, which culminates in the necessary conclusion.
Special features include: making-of featurette. (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
The Night of the Virgin (DVD)
MVD Visual
At a New Year's Eve party, Nico (Javier Bódalo), a naive twenty-year-old, sets out ready to lose his virginity at all costs that same night. In the middle of the party, his gaze crosses Medea, a cunning and attractive mature woman.
This is a completely off-the-wall horror-comedy about a one-night stand gone horribly wrong. After several rejections over the course of the night, Nico is happy to go home with the woman his friends dub “grandma.” Even though her repulsive apartment and regard for cockroaches should have sent him running home, he makes the ultimate mistake of sticking it out and hoping for the best – which turns out to be barely surviving an ancient ritual to resurrect a forgotten goddess while Medea’s angry boyfriend threatens to rip off his limbs. The whole thing is disgusting and absurd, but you almost can’t help but laugh at its ludicrousness.
There are no special features. (MVD Visual)
Overboard (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Leonardo (Eugenio Derbez) is a selfish, spoiled, rich playboy from Mexico’s richest family and Kate (Anna Faris) is a working-class single mom of three hired to clean Leonardo’s luxury yacht. After unjustly firing Kate and refusing to pay her, Leonardo falls overboard when partying too hard and wakes up on the Oregon coast — with amnesia. Kate shows up at the hospital and, to get payback, convinces Leonardo he is her husband and puts him to work — for the first time in his life. At first miserable and inept, Leonardo slowly settles in. Eventually he earns the respect of his new “family” and coworkers. But with Leonardo’s billionaire family hot on their trail and the possibility of his memory returning at any moment, will their new family last or will Leonardo finally put the clues together and leave them for good?
This is a reimagining of the beloved 80’s rom-com starring Kurt Russell as a single dad and Goldie Hawn as the spoiled socialite — there’s even a brief but amusing reference to the original during a conversation. This contemporary version reverses the gender roles, which allows filmmakers to tell a wholly different story with just a few similarities, most importantly including the tale of Arturo and Catarina. While Leonardo comes from a very wealthy Mexican family, among the common folk he becomes a construction worker and learns the ins and outs of hardship from his blue collar Mexican colleagues. Kate, in the meantime, requires the extra hand around the house so she can study for her nursing exam, which will hopefully better their stature. Leonardo’s reaction to his low-income life is a bit over-the-top, but then they settle into the narrative’s rhythm and deliver an acceptable reboot.
Special features include: commentary by writer-director Rob Greenberg, writer-producer Bob Fisher, and producer Benjamin Odell; “Chemistry Is Comedy”; “Culture Clash”; and “Captains of the Ship: Bob & Rob.” (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Piranha II: The Spawning (Blu-ray)
Scream Factory
While investigating the mysterious death of a diver, scuba instructor Anne Kimbrough (Tricia O’Neil) makes a horrific discovery: Piranha-like fish, with wings that enable them to fly, are responsible for the death. As the body count rises, Anne desperately tries to convince the manager of the Club Elysium resort to call off the annual fish fry on the beach, but he’s determined to give his guests the ultimate feeding frenzy.
This nonsensical cross between piranhas and flying fish makes for ridiculous rather than scary predators. Taking boaters by surprise, the leaping carnivores latch onto their victims’ neck or face, quickly multiplying and eventually leaving a gruesome, half-eaten corpse. These creature features are usually one part fun and one part horror as the absurdity of the plot is increased by the necessities of a low budget and its resulting practical effects. But in his directorial debut, James Cameron understood these films were meant to be entertaining first, frightening second (if at all). So as O’Neil and a very young Lance Henriksen try to suppress the fish threat, everyone embraces the silliness of the situation and goes with it to expected effect.
Special features include: interview with actor Ricky Paull Goldin; interview with special effects artist Brian Wade; and theatrical trailer. (Scream Factory)
Star Wars Rebels: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios
As the Rebellion struggles against the might of the Empire, Ezra leads the Ghost crew back to his home world to defeat the oppressive forces under the command of cunning Grand Admiral Thrawn.
The final season to this excellent series doesn’t necessarily concern itself with wrapping up all their storylines, but rather letting the characters’ paths reach another level of maturity and purpose. Sabine’s past plays an important role in their current battle against the empire, while Hera and Kaanan’s future is often in the balance. Ezra is growing into a competent leader, though his confidence is still delicate and at-risk of being broken. Thrawn and Emperor Palpatine are much more present this season as they increase their efforts to crush the Resistance, who are becoming more interested in why the Empire is foraging cabarian crystals. In the end, the characters face some difficult challenges and losses before ultimately showing a brief, meaningful flash-forward that unquestionably leaves a lasting impression.
Special features include: six commentaries featuring executive producer Dave Filoni; “Ghosts of Legend”; “Force of Rebellion”; “Kevin Kiner: The Rebel Symphony”; and “Rebels Recon.” (Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios)
More about Star Wars Rebels, Overboard, counterpart, Dark Crimes, The Night of the Virgin
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