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article imageReview: This week’s releases are pushing the boundaries Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Oct 31, 2018 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include one of Nicolas Cage’s best and most bizarre films; a hilarious female buddy comedy; a film that takes social commentary to the next level; a thrilling cop drama; and an animated movie not afraid to be silly.
Believer (Blu-ray & DVD)
Well Go USA
A low-level drug dealer facing prosecution conspires with a dangerously ambitious cop to bring down a major cartel’s psychotic kingpin.
This is a very slow burn crime thriller with a great ending, even if you’re able to figure out some part of it. The cop has been after this cartel’s leader for so long, he’s become careless in his pursuit of him, endangering the lives of others just to get even the slightest bit closer. His superiors don’t like it and he’s on the verge of being benched when they apprehend the dealer who’s actually had contact with the kingpin. The cop and criminal form a precarious partnership, which includes dangerous and remarkably successive impersonations as they gradually work their way towards an in-person meeting with the boss. Yet, in spite of its measured pace, there are some impressive action sequences, including a chase, that alleviate the monotony.
There are no special features. (Well Go USA)
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Mavis (Selena Gomez) surprises Dracula (Adam Sandler) with a family voyage on a luxury, haunted monster cruise ship. Of course, the rest of the Drac Pack has to tag along, and that’s when things get a little…batty. The monsters are having a great time, indulging in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer, from monster volleyball to colossus-sized buffets and exotic excursions, but then the unexpected happens when Drac falls for the ship’s mysterious (and dangerous) human captain Ericka (Kathryn Hahn).
The third film in the franchise finally gets the family out of the hotel and out into the world… where danger lurks via the Van Helsings. The cruise is incredible with a talking fish crew, implausible yet familiar destinations and daycare, which is a major plus for a werewolf whose pack is now innumerable. Dracula’s crush on the captain provides multiple laughs as he becomes typically tongue-twisted in her presence, attempts to hide his feelings from Mavis and takes advice from his equally out-of-the-loop pals. Spliced in between is hijinks through the kids who’ve smuggled Dennis’ giant puppy aboard. It’s colourful and fun, and perhaps even a tad more enjoyable than the first sequel.
Special features include: “Behind the Screams – The Voices of Hotel Transylvania 3”; two mini movies; three all new “Scary-Oke Sing Alongs”; “Plan Your Own Spook-tacular Sleepover”; “Vampire Make Over: Mavis and Drac Tutorial”; “Johnny’s Home Movies (Franchise Recap)”; “Drac’s Zing-tastic Read Along”; and “’I See Love’ Monster Dance Party Dance Along.” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Mandy (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Elevation Pictures & RLJ Entertainment
Pacific Northwest. 1983 AD. Outsiders Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) and Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough) lead a loving and peaceful existence. When their pine-scented haven is savagely destroyed by a cult led by the sadistic Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache), Red is catapulted into a phantasmagoric journey filled with bloody vengeance and laced with fire.
Cage has been known to do some weird movies — in fact, it’s somewhat of a running a joke even amongst his fans. But writer/director Panos Cosmatos creates something the likes of which even this prolific actor hasn’t done before. It begins pretty benignly, especially when compared with what would follow, introducing this loving but clearly odd couple isolated in a serene cabin in the woods. The arrival of the cult alters the film’s aura, turning it dark and hostile. Malevolence is always bathed in a distorting red light and the monsters in one scene become the prey in another. The vengeance plot is fairly run-of-the-mill, but this picture creates a visceral, gripping experience from which you cannot tear your eyes away. Produced by fan-owned Legion M, this movie is the epitome of independent filmmaking.
Special features include: deleted and extended scenes; and behind-the-scenes featurette. (Elevation Pictures & RLJ Entertainment)
Never Goin’ Back (DVD)
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Lifelong best friends Angela (Maia Mitchell) and Jessie (Camila Morrone) dream of escaping their waitressing jobs at a low-rent Texas diner. Taking place over the course of just a few days, the film follows their misadventures on the streets of suburban Dallas, as they attempt increasingly madcap and wild schemes to try and raise some cash.
As more female filmmakers come to the forefront, one of the key narratives they’ve elected to tell are those featuring other women. In the bonus features, writer/director Augustine Frizzell describes her desire to tell the story of her own youth in which the teen girls talk like their real counterparts and go through some ridiculous things to achieve a relatively simplistic goal. Thus, the two protagonists are a mix of the actresses portraying them, Frizzell and her best friend. They’re occasionally loud and crass, but also well-mannered and apologetic, which means they’re not irritating 100 per cent of the time. Rather than try to do too much, Frizzell tells a succinct and focused story that sufficiently introduces audiences to these young women and then lets them drift back out into the ether.
Special features include: commentary by writer-director Augustine Frizzell, producers Liz Cardenas and Toby Halbrooks, and actors Maia Mitchell and Camila Morrone; deleted scene; “Art Imitates Life: Never Goin’ Back”; and blooper reel. (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Slender Man (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
ony Pictures Home Entertainment
In a small town in Massachusetts, a group of friends, fascinated by the internet lore of the Slender Man, attempt to prove that he doesn't actually exist — until one of them mysteriously goes missing.
The Slender Man legend is relatively new, having only emerged from a Photoshop competition in 2009, but it’s captured the imaginations of a lot of people. However, since it doesn’t really have an origin, it’s story changes depending on the storyteller. This film borrows a page from Ringu, as the teens watch a YouTube video that summons the menace. They then spend the next several days haunted by the faceless man before meeting their untimely (and self-inflicted?) demise. It’s unfortunate they borrowed so obviously from a popular horror franchise and then did very little to establish the movie’s own value to the genre, making a forgettable and only vaguely frightening picture.
Special features include: “Summoning Slender Man: Meet the Cast.” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Sorry to Bother You (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)
Fox Home Entertainment
In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, California, struggling telemarketer Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) discovers a magical key to professional success, which propels him into a macabre universe.
This is a movie that’s operating on multiple, unexpected levels. One of the brilliant elements of this film is its approach to examining the perception of black people by having Cassius adopt a “white” voice to improve his performance as a telemarketer — the kicker is his dialogue is actually dubbed by a white actor (David Cross) in these scenes, who in turn sounds like a stereotypical country club member. Cassius’ girlfriend (Tessa Thompson) unsurprisingly grows tired of his fakery, but he doesn’t want to jeopardize his newfound success. Armie Hammer facilitates the most unpredictable turn in the film, which criticizes capitalism and easy solutions. Writer/director Boots Riley makes a unique film that takes risks, delivers social commentary and entertains audiences with its unusual script.
Special features include: commentary by director Boots Riley; “Beautiful Clutter with Director Boots Riley”; “The Cast of Sorry to Bother You”; “The Art of the White Voice”; and gallery. (Fox Home Entertainment)
The Spy Who Dumped Me (4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon), two 30-year-old best friends in Los Angeles, are thrust unexpectedly into an international conspiracy when Audrey’s ex-boyfriend (Justin Theroux) shows up at their apartment with a team of deadly assassins on his trail. Surprising even themselves, the duo jumps into action, on the run throughout Europe from assassins and a suspicious-but-charming British agent, as they hatch a plan to save the world.
This is a buddy comedy that features two women in an impossible situation and they knock it out of the park. They’re adventure begins with a brief government kidnapping, followed by the murder of a naked man in self-defence and escalates to a shootout in a restaurant. From there, it seems like they may be able to survive anything. Kunis and McKinnon are outstanding together with the former playing the grounded friend, and the latter being a bit loopy and unconventional. However, in spite of their differences, they are the best of friends, which they prove with the most intimate confessions while negotiating with their capturer. Everything comes together to make this fish-out-of-water story a lot of fun to watch.
Special features include: deleted scenes; making-of featurette; “Gary Powell: The King of Action”; “Makin’ Friends with Hasan Minhaj”; “Off Script”; and outtakes. (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Teen Titans GO! to the Movies (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
It seems like all the superheroes are getting their own movies — everyone but the Teen Titans, that is. Determined to be a star, Robin (Scott Menville) vows to change this. If only they could get Hollywood director Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell) to notice them. With a few madcap ideas and musical numbers (of course), the Teen Titans head to Tinsel Town. But when Supervillain Slade (Will Arnett) messes with their plans, the Teen Titans will have to become true superheroes to save the world.
Based on the popular, animated TV series, this movie doesn’t spend a lot of time developing the already beloved characters. Instead, it jumps right into the movie’s plot, which has Robin at its centre. Even though they’re superheroes, they’re also clearly kids who do silly and sometimes gross things without ever considering the consequences. However, this immature attitude makes it difficult for Robin to gain the respect he wants for the team, so they instead try to do so by appointing a nemesis. It’s a colourful cartoon that is amusing for all ages, whether you’re familiar with the original show or not. It’s also a great example of friendship and being there for each other, even if you don’t get along all the time.
Special features include: Lil Yachty music video: “Teen Titans GO! Rap”; Sing-a-long with Silkie “DC Super Hero Girls: The Late Batsby” mini-movie; “Red Carpet Mayhem”; “Teen Titans GO! To the Movies: WB Lot Shenanigans”; “Everything is Fake,” exclusive song not in the movie; “Teen Titans GO!: Translated”; and storyboard animatics. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
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