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article imageReview: Major life changes lead to fun and drama in this week’s releases Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Aug 1, 2017 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include a fun heist movie starring three charismatic seniors; a love story set against the odds; an original J-Horror masterpiece; one of the year’s most underrated dramas; and a trilogy that should’ve stopped when it was ahead.
Going in Style (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, three lifelong pals (Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin) risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.
This is essentially the senior’s version of Ocean’s Eleven, but featuring an inexperienced crew rather than a group of career delinquents. However, in spite of being a smaller team, the three actors match their counterparts in talent and wit combined. With this cast, it looks like director Zach Braff’s job was easy; moreover, the veteran actors appear to be having a great time on screen — an experience that turns out to be contagious for the audience. The actual robbery and planning takes place in the last act, which leaves a lot of time to get to know these characters and the reasons for them to take such a significant risk. Containing the whole story to 96 minutes means the film moves at a decent pace and no one scene is stretched to an uncomfortable length. The result is a fun and entertaining movie with a few of our favourite actors.
Special features include: commentary by director Zach Braff; and deleted scenes. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
The Ottoman Lieutenant (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
On the brink of the First World War, a strong-willed American woman (Hera Hilmar) frustrated by ongoing injustices at home follows an American doctor (Josh Hartnett) to a medical mission in the exotic Ottoman Empire. However, her loyalty to both the doctor and the mission’s founder (Ben Kingsley) is soon tested when she falls in love with Ismail (Michiel Huisman), a lieutenant in the Ottoman Imperial Army. With the invading army forces at their doorstep and the world about to plunge into war, she soon realizes that the most dangerous place to be during war is in love.
This is an epic wartime love story that spans countries, cultures and adversity. It’s obvious from the start that both the lieutenant and the young doctor will fall for the resolute woman, making it only a matter of whose affections she will return. Hartnett’s character experiences a strange entitlement for her love since they are both Americans in a foreign country engaged in saving people, but Ismail offers her the change in thinking she sought when choosing to travel overseas. Everyone acts both bravely and hypocritically as they try to balance their beliefs with their duties, but the latter always seems to win out. Moreover, all of these conflicts unfold against a beautiful Turkish backdrop soon to be tarnished by war.
There are no special features. (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
Pulse (Blu-ray & DVD)
Arrow Video
A group of young people in Tokyo begin to experience strange phenomena involving missing co-workers and friends, technological breakdown, and a mysterious website which asks the compelling question, "Do you want to meet a ghost?" After the unexpected suicides of several friends, three strangers set out to explore a city which is growing emptier by the day, and to solve the mystery of what lies within a forbidden room in an abandoned construction site, mysteriously sealed shut with red packing tape.
Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s 2001 "J-Horror" entry remains one of the best in the genre as it’s set in the early days of the internet and social media. In spite of unfolding years before the invention of Facebook or other platforms, the film predicts the loneliness and disconnect that would develop as a result of this new technology and roots its horror story in that isolation. While some characters embrace programming and its many possibilities, others are suspicious of what lurks inside the machine. Yet no one seems capable of escaping the inevitable dark wall stain. While the American remake made the ghosts more menacing, Kurosawa relies on the slow build up and inherit creepiness of the situation to glue audiences to the screen.
Special features include: “Broken Circuits,” a new video interview with writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa; “Creepy Images,” a new video interview with cinematographer Junichiro Hayashi; “The Horror of Isolation,” a new video appreciation featuring Adam Wingard & Simon Barrett; original making-of documentary; four archive behind-the-scenes featurettes; premiere footage from the Cannes Film Festival; cast and crew introductions from opening day screenings in Tokyo; trailers and TV spots; and reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tommy Pocket. (Arrow Video)
Wakefield (Blu-ray & DVD)
Shout Factory
Successful suburbanite commuter Howard Wakefield (Bryan Cranston) has taken a perverse detour from family life: he vanished without a trace. Hidden in the attic of his garage and surviving by scavenging at night, he secretly observes the lives of his wife (Jennifer Garner) and children. But soon, he realizes that he has not left his family… he has left himself.
Although this film has flown under the radar, it’s a beautiful and bizarre look at a man that’s lost touch with everything. Since there’s very little conversation to be had while one is hiding alone, Cranston narrates the story with Howard’s thoughts and gives audiences greater insight into his character’s peculiar choices. What’s amazing is how long his absence and secret surveillance continues. He experiences many emotions while observing his former life, most of which seems like it would do well to be shared with a therapist. Cranston is outstanding as he transforms from a well-groomed professional to a near-primitive man that hasn’t forgotten but chooses to ignore the norms of civilized life.
There are no special features. (Shout Factory)
Warlock Collection [Collector’s Series] (Blu-ray)
Lionsgate and Vestron Video
An evil warlock flees from the 17th to the 20th century and works to unleash Satan upon the world in these three supernaturally chilling films.
The Warlock films are cult classics built around dark magic that’s been transported to the modern world. Julian Sands reprised the role for the sequel but the third installment features a new Warlock hell-bent on aiding Satan’s rebirth. There’s no true continuity between the films as they appear to unfold independent of each other, nor do any of the stories follow any particular logic. From monstrous babies to magical stones to resurrections to burdens that last hundreds of years, these films run the gamut of strange and unusual things that could come to pass. The films rank in the order they were released with the last being the worst and making the least sense, while the first is undoubtedly the best of the trilogy with various spells needing breaking… or flesh.
Special features include: commentary by director Steve Miner; isolated score selections/audio interview with author Jeff Bond; “Satan’s Son” interview with actor Julian Sands; “The Devil’s Work” interview with director Steve Miner; “Effects of Evil” interview with make-up effects creators Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz; behind-the-scenes footage; vintage interview segments with cast and crew; vintage featurette with make-up effects creators Carl Fullerton and Neal Martz; vintage featurette with visual effects supervisors Patrick Read Johnson and Robert Habros, animation supervisor Mauro Maressa, and matte artist Robert Scifo; commentary by director Anthony Hickox; vintage making-of featurette behind-the-scenes footage; extended vintage interview segments with actor Julian Sands, director Anthony Hickox and actress Paula Marshall; behind-the-scenes footage; vintage interview segments with cast and crew; still galleries; TV spots; and theatrical trailers. (Lionsgate and Vestron Video)
More about Going in Style, The Ottoman Lieutenant, pulse, Wakefield, Warlock Collection
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