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article imageReview: This week’s releases will stir audience’s emotions Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Feb 22, 2018 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include a comedy sequel that surprises with its quality; a summer adventure movie that is so much more; and several films that inspire because they’re true.
Daddy’s Home (4K UHD, Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Paramount Home Media Distribution
Brad (Will Ferrell), who always dreamed of having the perfect family, is determined to become the best step-dad to his new wife's (Linda Cardellini) children. But when their biological father Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) shows up unexpectedly, Brad’s idyllic family life is turned upside down and he must go toe-to-toe with Dusty.
In spite of the ridiculous pissing contest these men engage in, the movie is happily hilarious. Brad and Dusty are complete opposites, and the latter is much better at manipulating the situation in his favour — often by turning a misunderstanding involving Brad into an embarrassing “teaching opportunity” for the kids. From making Brad appear racist to finding a means of legitimately comparing his physical prowess to Brad’s, Dusty is a far superior competitor in the non-existent contest for the mother’s affection. Brad realizes as the step-dad he is automatically at a disadvantage in the eyes of the children, which clouds his judgement and leads to some funny but bad choices. Ferrell and Wahlberg are excellent opponents as both deliver entertaining comedy that relies on their various strengths. Nonetheless, the movie’s conclusion contains one of its best and most memorable moments.
Special features include: deleted and extended scenes; making-of featurette; “Daddy-Off”; “Daddy Daughter Dance”; “Halftime Stunt”; “Tony Hawk: Skater Double”; “Child’s Play”; “Hannibal Buress: The Perfect Houseguest”; and blooper reel. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
Daddy’s Home 2 (4K UHD, Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Paramount Home Media Distribution
When it comes to raising their kids, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) and Brad (Will Ferrell) finally have this co-parenting thing down. That is, until Dusty’s macho dad (Mel Gibson) and Brad’s sweet-natured father (John Lithgow) come to town, throwing the whole family into complete chaos. As old rivalries create new problems, Dusty and Brad’s partnership is put to the ultimate test.
The first movie never really needed a sequel, but it does help that they’ve added more dads — particularly those played by Gibson and Lithgow. At the opening of the film, Dusty and Brad appear to have a good thing going… though the kids may have some differing opinions, especially around split holidays. So it’s decided there will be one Christmas with both the grandpas in attendance. The dissimilarities between the father-son relationships is astounding, but also a key part of the fun as the movie’s humour appears to be at least partially inspired by the holiday classic, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The dynamics between these guys are perfect and, while completely over-the-top, totally worth the time for anyone who enjoyed the previous picture. Also, John Cena is back.
Special features include: deleted, extended and alternate scenes; “Making a Sequel”; “Look Who’s Back”; “Co-Dads: Will and Mark”; “The New Dads in Town: Mel and John”; “Captain Sully”; and gag reel. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
Doomsday Device (DVD)
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Two FBI agents trying to arrest several crooks find an ancient Japanese artifact of enormous power. Now, they must stop the crooks from delivering the stone to a criminal mastermind who is also a rich businessman.
This doesn’t really feel like a complete movie. As it attempts to sprinkle bits of the magical box’s history throughout the picture, audiences are left to put together the pieces while struggling with the jumbled primary story line. The apocalyptic box keeps changing hands, threatening total destruction, while a couple of cops with no related experience take-on a sect determined to use the artifact for evil. The narrative is all pretty basic for the genre, but it’s poorly executed and a general waste of time.
There are no special features. (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
The Florida Project (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
On a stretch of highway just outside the most magical place on earth, six-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her ragtag band of playmates spend an unforgettable summer at The Magic Castle, a budget motel managed by Bobby (Willem Dafoe). Bobby’s stern exterior hides a deep reservoir of kindness and compassion as he watches over the kids’ adventures, protecting them from some of the harsher realities of life.
This is a fascinating movie that takes the typical summer adventure and makes its home base a budget motel. Moonee’s best friend is a boy her age named Scooty (Christopher Rivera) who lives below them and her new best friend is a girl named Jancey (Valeria Cotto) from another motel nearby. Moonee is rambunctious and consistently leads her friends into trouble, but she obviously gets her free spirit from her mother (Bria Vinaite). Young and rebellious herself, Moonee’s mom does her best to make ends meet but she’s often acting more like her daughter’s friend than guardian. Where the kids appear to nearly have free reign with their roles, Bobby is a pillar that keeps the foundation of the film intact. Dafoe is exceptional as the manager who wants to mind his business, but has too big of a heart not to become involved sometimes.
Special features include: making-of featurette; cast and crew interviews; and bloopers and outtakes. (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Marshall (Blu-ray)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
In the year 1941, the United States teeters on the brink of entering World War II. The country’s largest civil rights organization, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) sends its only lawyer, thirty-two-year-old Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman), to defend a black chauffeur (Sterling K. Brown) charged with rape and attempted murder by his socialite employer (Kate Hudson). The trial quickly dominated headlines and became tabloid fodder. Marshall, in need of a win, engages the help of Samuel Friedman (Josh Gad), a young Jewish lawyer with no trial experience. Marshall and Friedman struggle to expose the truth amidst the fear and prejudice, knowing that a young man’s life hangs in the balance. The trial set the groundwork for a career that would make Thurgood Marshall America’s first African-American Supreme Court Justice.
This film is based on a true story and as much as it’s about Marshall’s commitment to arguing on behalf of the falsely accused, he’s forced to take somewhat of a backseat in this case due to the judge’s bigotry. Marshall essentially puppets Friedman through his first criminal trial, though the lesser experienced lawyer proves smarter than he lets on and more than capable of arguing for the freedom of a coloured man in a predominantly white court. The case is a complicated one as some of the most damning facts are based in truth, but their motivations, i.e. the whole story, are more difficult to explain to a jury. The acting in this film is excellent with Boseman and Gad’s partnership carrying the narrative forward. In choosing to tell a story in which Thurgood is not the lead council, it demonstrates his willingness and the necessity of finding and working with allies (even reluctant ones) to affect change.
There are no special features. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Only the Brave (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Based on the true story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, this is the heroic story of a team of local firefighters (including Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Taylor Kitsch and James Badge Dale) who — through hope, determination and sacrifice — become one of the most elite firefighting teams in the nation. The team forges a unique brotherhood that comes into focus as they fight a fateful fire to protect people’s lives, homes and everything they hold dear.
This film tells the story of a group of men who exceed the requirements of ordinary firefighters, having committed to risking their lives to stop the spread of woodland infernos. Their jobs are to get in front of the fire and create a line it cannot cross, hopefully preventing it from engulfing nearby homes and towns. They train vigorously and travel across the country to provide their assistance. What they do is like nothing you’ve ever seen on screen and is as close to authentic as they could get according to the bonus features. Much of the film is spent getting to know these men, including glimpses into their home lives as they attempt to answer the question, “Why do they do it?” Though the blazes look unreal, anyone who has seen footage of the recent California wildfires can attest to its accuracy. For this reason, parts of the film are incredibly intense and the ending is particularly hard-hitting.
Special features include: commentary by director Joseph Kosinski and Josh Brolin; deleted scenes; “Honoring the Heroes: The True Stories”; “Behind the Brotherhood: The Characters”; “Boot Camp: Becoming a Hotshot”; and Dierks Bentley featuring S. Carey’s “Hold the Light” music video & featurette. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Roman J. Israel, Esq. (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Working in the overburdened Los Angeles criminal court system, Roman J. Israel (Denzel Washington) is a driven, idealistic defense attorney whose life is suddenly disrupted. When he is recruited to join a firm led by an ambitious lawyer, George Pierce (Colin Farrell), and begins a friendship with a young champion of equal rights, Maya Alston (Carmen Ejogo), a turbulent series of events ensue that will put the activism that has defined Roman’s career to the test.
Roman is a brilliant lawyer who’s memorized much of the criminal code as well as all the cases he’s ever worked on — he’s often and not mistakenly referred to as a savant. However, he doesn’t have the patience or the social prowess to be in the courtroom so he’s spent much of his career behind the curtain where his pragmatism is less impertinent. In spite of years of working low income cases, Roman still has faith in the system, as well as ideas for improvement. Washington, who is nominated for an Oscar for this role, has a very delicate task with this character because even though he can be brash he’s not unlikeable. As much as he’s out of place in this world, he’s also one of the few people who truly believe it can be made better; his mix of optimism and logicality is both impressive and mind-boggling. The script gets a little muddy at times, but it’s still an intriguing picture.
Special features include: deleted scenes; making-of featurette; Denzel Washington: Becoming Roman”; and “Colin Farrell: Discovering George.” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Same Kind of Different as Me (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Paramount Home Media Distribution
Successful art dealer Ron (Greg Kinnear) and his wife Debbie (Renée Zellweger) seemingly have the perfect life. But when their faith and family are tested, an unlikely bond with a homeless drifter, Denver (Djimon Hounsou), leads them on a journey that forges an everlasting friendship.
This movie is “Dove approved,” which generally indicates sappy drivel; however, this movie is also somewhat inspiring — but not because of anything the couple accomplish. The movie begins with Ron and Debbie on the brink of divorce before they agree to try again. One way they try to reconnect is by working at a soup kitchen, where Debbie takes a special interest in Denver’s well-being after she dreams of a transient who will change their lives. However, it’s Denver’s story that is both inspiring and heartbreaking. As they gain his trust, he shares harrowing tales from his past that makes it a marvel he’s even still here. The couple finding their way back to each other is just scenery for Denver’s journey back into the world.
Special features include: commentary by director Michael Carney, writer Ron Hall and writer Alexander Foard; deleted and extended scenes; making-of featurette; and “Filming in Mississippi.” (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
Steve McQueen: American Icon (DVD)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Steve McQueen is one of America’s most endearing and intriguing movie stars. On the surface, McQueen had everything he could want — fame, cars, homes and more money than he could spend in a lifetime. Avid fan, Pastor Greg Laurie, hits the road in his mint Mustang (replica of McQueen’s car in the classic film Bullitt) and travels the country in search of the true, untold story of McQueen’s redemption-filled final chapters.
Although this movie chronicles McQueen’s varied existence — from a troubled childhood to military service for all the wrong reasons to stardom for many of the same reasons to race car driving as a means of escape — it is primarily juxtaposing his hedonistic life with the cleaner version he pursued after finding God (and Barbara Minty). It doesn’t go much beyond the headlines of the icon’s early life, mostly speaking to acquaintances, a couple of ex-lovers/wives, fans who never met him in-person and those who knew him after he was born again. As a result, most of that information feels as if it was pulled from his biography rather than providing any real insight. The most interesting aspects of the documentary are the little things people may not be aware of, like McQueen’s philanthropy and general acts of kindness.
Special features include: extended interviews with Mel Gibson and Barbara Minty McQueen; special message form Pastor Greg Laurie; and behind the scenes look at the original Bullitt car. (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)
More about The Florida Project, Roman J Israel Esq, Marshall, Only the Brave, Daddy's Home
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