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article imageReview: Revenge is a dish best served cold in this week’s releases Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jan 12, 2018 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include a couple of grieving men seeking justice; a horror reboot with iconic monster; a large-scale fight against the wage gap; and a colourful movie about friendship.
Bad Day for the Cut (Blu-ray)
Well Go USA
A mild-mannered farmer (Nigel O'Neill) sets off on a bloody quest for vengeance after his elderly mother is murdered. As he tracks her killers through the criminal underworld of Belfast, he begins to realize that there was a darker side to his beloved mother — and to himself.
This is the Irish version of the American action thriller in which a regular Joe starts bashing heads together in an effort to find out who killed their loved one. However, this story gets slightly more complicated when he discovers his dear old mum wasn’t as innocent as he once supposed, having committed her own transgressions decades earlier — but some things people neither forgive nor forget. The farmer finds a reluctant ally in a young man trying to save his sister from the same criminals, but it’s a dangerous game they’re playing and the field is littered with an increasing number of bodies. The ending doesn’t provide the satisfaction of closure, but that’s not really the narrative’s intention.
There are no special features. (Well Go USA)
Battle of the Sexes (DVD)
Fox Home Entertainment
This is the true story of the 1973 tennis match between women’s champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and former men’s champ Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell). As fierce rivals on opposite sides of the court and the gender equality issue, Billie Jean and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated beyond the sporting world.
This period drama also delivers a fair bit of comedy as Billie Jean takes a stand and Bobby makes an ass of himself as often as possible just to stay relevant. While the politics of their rivalry is addressed, it’s not necessarily given enough prominence in the story. Instead, a lot of the focus is on Billie Jean’s personal life and her affair with a hairdresser while the women’s team was touring the U.S. As a result, a good film doesn’t quite reach the ranks of a great film as it becomes preoccupied with the more salacious aspects of the story. Still, the match between the Billie Jean and Bobby, which is the film’s climax, is spectacular to watch.
Special features include: raw footage: Billie Jean’s grand entrance; “Reigniting the Rivalry”; “Billie Jean King: In Her Own Words”; and galleries. (Fox Home Entertainment)
Bullet Head (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
After a heist gone tragically wrong, three career criminals (John Malkovich, Adrien Brody and Rory Culkin) find themselves trapped in a warehouse with the law closing in. But, inside the warehouse, a more dangerous threat awaits as the fugitives are plunged into a furious battle for their lives.
This picture is a cross between a thriller and an anthology movie as the thieves are holed up in a warehouse with a killer dog, and they tell stories to each other about their past experiences with canines to pass the time. Even the enraged pooch stalking the halls is afforded the opportunity to tell his story, at least partially from his perspective. A lot of the film is predictable, but it also packs several surprises. In addition to the notable cast of thieves, Antonio Banderas has a small but important role to play. Comedy and action give way to sadness and justice in this unexpected picture.
Special features include: “A Canine Point of View: Writing and Directing Bullet Head”; “Career Criminals and Fighting Dogs: The Iconic Cast of Bullet Head”; “Preparation and Performance: The Animal Actors of Bullet Head”; “Hymns and Fanfare: The Score of Bullet Head”; and “Bullet Head: Proof of Concept.” (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
The Foreigner (Blu-ray & DVD)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Quan (Jackie Chan) is a humble London businessman whose long-buried past erupts in a revenge-fueled vendetta when the only person left for him to love — his teenage daughter — is taken from him in a senseless act of politically-motivated terrorism. In his relentless search for the identity of the terrorists, Quan is forced into a cat-and-mouse conflict with a British government official (Pierce Brosnan), whose own past may hold clues to the identities of the elusive killers.
It’s now become Chan’s turn to play a man with a certain set of skills, but instead of saving a loved one he’s searching for her killer. Quan initially tries to go through the proper channels, regularly inquiring about the case, offering the investigating detective his savings for answers and pleading with government officials for their cooperation. However, when all else fails, Quan calls upon his mysterious past to get the attention of Brosnan’s character, who he’s convinced has a connection to the attack. Based on a book titled, “The Chinaman,” this action thriller is a fast-paced game of cat-and-mouse in which Quan is always one step ahead. Meanwhile, Brosnan’s association with the IRA provides the story with intrigue and a puzzle to solve.
Special features include: making-of featurette; interviews; and trailers. (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
Friend Request (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) is a popular college student who lives her college life to the fullest and gladly shares it with her 800 Facebook friends. But when she accepts a friend request from her mysterious classmate Marina (Liesl Ahlers), she unwittingly sets a terrible curse in motion. The dead girl’s impenetrable profile begins to drive Laura into isolation. It takes control of Laura’s virtual world and her real life as well. One after another, her closest friends die horrendous deaths, leaving Laura with only a few days to solve the enigma of this haunting curse to save the few friends she has left, as well as her own life.
This film is definitely a stretch, combining technology and the supernatural in a way that’s full of plot holes. However, Laura is for the most part the victim throughout this entire narrative. She tries to befriend Marina and even ignores her friends’ callous comments, but she’s not a saint and when the relationship becomes too intense Laura tries to break it off. As the story unfolds, everyone learns Marina’s mental instability was nurtured by repeated childhood trauma, which is also not Laura’s fault — she’s simply the target of the young woman’s last tirade, which is the culmination of years of suffering. The horrific deaths of Laura’s real-life friends and plummeting number of Facebook friends appears to be a lesson in popularity at any cost, though Laura was never a “mean girl.” In any case, the ghost in the machine narrative delivers a few thrills and chills, but still feels recycled.
Special features include: “Friend Request: The Social Nightmare.” (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
It (4K UHD, Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.
The reboot of this picture was very shrewdly released 27 years after the original TV movie, which starred Tim Curry as the horrifying dancing clown — a period of time that holds special significance in the narrative. One of the most notable elements of this picture is it takes Stephen King’s story and makes it its own, altering and adding various scenes yet remaining true to the spirit of the source material. Skarsgård’s Pennywise takes on a more contemporary horror persona, boldly taunting his would-be victims in the open rather than lurking in the shadows until the moment is right. Regardless, the effect is almost equally frightening. The Losers Club is well-casted, selecting a mix of known and unknown children to fight the ancient monster. The sequel will follow the kids into adulthood when they must once again save their town, though the effect of their first assault is still not entirely known since it deviates from the original versions.
Special features include: deleted scenes; “Pennywise Lives!”; “The Losers’ Club”; and “Author of Fear.” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
My Little Pony: The Movie (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
When a dark force threatens Ponyville, the Mane 6 go on a journey beyond Equestria to save their beloved home and they meet new friends and exciting challenges along the way.
The ‘80s toys have been revived in new adventures that centre on friendship and learning. In making a film that must to some extent differ from the TV series, the Mane 6 venture into the world outside of Equestria where they meet a variety of new characters — many of whom are voiced by well-known actors, such as Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Peña, Zoe Saldana, Liev Schreiber and Sia; Taye Diggs’ smooth-talking cat is particularly captivating and reminiscent of the con artist that tricks Pinocchio. The film explains the origins of the “sea ponies,” as well as demonstrates the impressive power of the pony princesses. The rainbow-coloured story is filled with action and life lessons, all delivered in a pretty entertaining package.
Special features include: deleted scene; “Baking with Pinkie Pie”; “Making Magic with the Mane 6 and Their New Friends”; “The Journey Beyond Equestria”; “I’m the Friend You Need” music video (sung by Taye Diggs); “Hanazuki: Full of Treasures”; and “Equestria Girls” short. (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
More about Battle of the Sexes, IT, The Foreigner, Bad Day for the Cut, Bullet Head
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