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article imageReview: Power corrupts absolutely in this week’s releases Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Mar 3, 2020 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include a few individuals who join to hold a corporation accountable; an old school animation; a tale of high-ranking corruption; a slasher with strange motivations; and a western that unfolds north of the border.
The Corrupted (DVD)
Untitled
Paramount Home Entertainment
Ex-con Liam McDonagh (Sam Claflin) wants nothing more than to live a peaceful life and to re-connect with his young son. After being released from prison, he learns his brother is caught up in a dark and dangerous web of corruption with property developer Clifford Cullen (Timothy Spall). In a drive for redemption, Liam must risk everything to save his brother and win back the trust of his family.
The film begins by stating it’s based on true events, but this is likely one of those cases in which a smaller incident inspired an elaborate narrative. The corruption and murder portrayed in this movie is extensive and gruesome. All the top officials appear to be bought, and they kill people horribly and indiscriminately in a manner that would undoubtedly draw attention. Liam is ready to be a good citizen and support his family when he’s released, but his brother unwittingly draws him into this bloody disaster of executions and cover-ups. Since it all seems very over-the-top, it’s difficult to engage with the characters or the story. It’s a fast-paced thriller, but doesn’t leave much of an impression.
There are no special features. (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Dark Waters (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital code)
Untitled
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Inspired by a true story, a tenacious attorney, Rob Bilott (Mark Ruffalo), uncovers a dark secret that connects a growing number of unexplained deaths to one of the world's largest corporations: DuPont. In the process, he risks everything — his future, his family and his own life — to expose the truth.
This is somewhat of a David and Goliath story, though in this case David gets a giant to represent him in the battle. Rob works for a major law firm that represents a lot of other chemical companies, but when a farmer comes to him with evidence that DuPont is knowingly poisoning people, he must switch sides. It becomes a matter of principle in an industry expected to be self-regulating. In addition to being a big, intimidating corporation, DuPont’s financial contributions to the town cause a lot of its citizens to question the validity of the accusations and turn against those filing the suit. The film has a gripping narrative that covers approximately 15 years of litigation, but manages to make the story about the people involved who believe the corporation needs to be held accountable for its blatant disregard for human life. Ruffalo is excellent, while several of the real-life participants in the case make appearances throughout the picture.
Special features include: “The Cost of Being a Hero”; “Uncovering Dark Waters”; and “The Real People.” (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
Deadly Manor (Blu-ray)
Untitled
Arrow Video
Whilst en route to a lake, a group of young people make an unscheduled stop-off at a remote, seemingly abandoned mansion where they plan to spend the night. But the property is full of foreboding signs — a blood-stained car wreck in the garden, coffins in the basement, scalps in the closet, and photographs of a beautiful but mysterious woman adorning every corner of the house. Before daybreak, the group will unwittingly uncover the strange and terrifying truth that lurks behind the walls of this dreadful place.
It’s immediately obvious these young people aren’t very smart as they pick up a sketchy hitchhiker and break into a discernably foreboding house. In this instance, the warnings come from a member of their own group, who they dismiss with laughter. However, even though they continue to find evidence of a menacing presence in the house — or at least a very recent occupant — they refuse to heed her advice and leave the premises. Most of what happens next is pretty predictable, though the reason for the murders is somewhat unexpected. There’s a seemingly supernatural element to the story that fits less into the narrative, but in the end it’s a pretty standard and not especially imaginative slasher movie.
Special features include: commentary with Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan; interview with actress Jennifer Delora; “Making a Killing”; extract from an archival interview with Jose Larraz; original 'Savage Lust' VHS trailer; image gallery; and reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais. (Arrow Video)
Hudson River Massacre (Blu-ray)
Untitled
MVD Classics
The Hudson Bay Company, with James Sullivan (Santiago Rivero) at the helm and supported by the British Mounted Police, impose unacceptable conditions on native trappers. A group led by Leo Limoux (Franco Fantasia), rebel in retaliation. Victor DeFrois (George Martin), a trapper who, until the execution his brother by the British soldiers had remained neutral, kidnaps Ann Sullivan (Giulia Rubini), daughter of the ruthless owner of the Hudson Bay Company, to use as a bartering tool while the rebels seek to disrupt and gain control of the company’s business. What Victor didn’t count on was falling in love with his hostage.
This is a classic spaghetti Western set in the Canadian wilderness. However, there’s so much back-and-forth between the officials, the trappers and their women, the fairly simple story of “the man” vs. the working class gets convoluted. In addition, since the film was made in 1965, there’s a lot of mismatched casting, particularly for the rebels. Even the strong female characters act foolishly in the end, though love does apparently conquer all. Outside of a change in wardrobe, this is a pretty formulaic narrative in which the side of good/right prevails, but not in a meaningful way since nothing really changes. Victor and Ann are an attractive pairing for the movie poster, though their romance isn’t exactly ideal.
There are no special features. (MVD Classics)
The Point [Ultimate Edition] (Blu-ray)
Untitled
MVD Rewind Collection
Years ago, there was a place called The Land of the Point because everything in The Land of the Point had one — the barns, the houses, the cars, everything — even the people. Everyone, that is, except Oblio (Mike Lookinland), who was born round-headed. Since he had no point, Oblio — along with his trusty dog, Arrow — was banished to the Pointless Forest. Join them to see what wonders await these two intrepid travelers as they make their way on their song-filled journey of discovery.
The short animated feature is narrated by Ringo Starr as his character reads Oblio’s story to his son who’d rather be watching TV like the rest of his friends. The odd little world has a bit of a Dr. Seuss vibe, while Oblio is a lot like the Little Prince. The music, however, set the movie apart as the songs are fun and catchy, which in turn makes the story more engaging. Although tracking issues were not fixed for the opening credits, the rest of the film appears to have been transferred with more care. The hand-drawn animation is in a sketch style that makes the picture and its characters a bit more charming. Nearly 50 years later, this is still an enjoyable movie that will continue to appeal to a new audience of youngsters.
Special features include: making-of four-part featurette; "The Kid's Got a Point"; "That Old Guy Wrote The Point"; "Everybody's Got a Point: Kiefo Nilsson and Bobby Halvorson on Adapting The Point"; "Nilsson on Screen"; and collectible mini poster. (MVD Rewind Collection)
More about Dark Waters, The Point, The Corrupted, Deadly Manor, Hudson River Massacre
 
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