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Review: This week’s releases reside in the dark corners of the screen

This week’s releases include a dark crime drama; a feature ending to a series; & the charismatic devil we know.

A scene from 'The Batman'
A scene from 'The Batman' courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
A scene from 'The Batman' courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally posted June 17, 2022

This week’s releases include a seedy crime drama; a feature ending to a series; the charismatic devil we know; a high-def horror; and an action throwback.

A Dangerous Man on Blu-ray
Seville Pictures

A Dangerous Man (Blu-ray)

Shane Daniels (Steven Seagal) is an ex-Special Forces operative released from prison after serving six years hard time for a murder he didn’t commit. Back on the street, he comes to the rescue of a beautiful young hostage stashed in a car trunk with millions in cash. Wielding a devastating combination of street fighting smarts and martial arts skills, he suddenly finds himself in a deadly showdown with international drug merchants and the local corrupt cops. As the only ones standing between him and his newfound freedom, they’re about to discover just how dangerous one man can be.

This movie is pretty typical Seagal fair as he beats anyone he encounters with his martial arts skills — having been released in 2009, the actor was in better form than more recent years so the action is still relatively believable since it’s not performed in slow motion. The story doesn’t make a lot of sense as it crosses so many criminal organizations with the Russians stepping into a fight that has nothing to do with them. The imprisonment at the beginning of the film doesn’t seem to have much to do with the rest of the narrative, while the kidnapped young woman doesn’t contribute much to her survival.

Special features include: making-of featurette; and trailers. (Seville Pictures)

The Batman on 4K
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

The Batman (4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & Digital copy)

More than a year of stalking the streets as the Batman (Robert Pattinson), striking fear into the hearts of criminals, has led Bruce Wayne deep into the shadows of Gotham City. With only a few trusted allies —Alfred (Andy Serkis) and Lt. James Gordon (Jeffrey Wright) — amongst the city’s corrupt network of officials and high-profile figures, the lone vigilante has established himself as the sole embodiment of vengeance amongst his fellow citizens. When a killer targets Gotham’s elite with a series of sadistic machinations, a trail of cryptic clues sends the World’s Greatest Detective on an investigation into the underworld, where he encounters such characters as Selina Kyle (Zoë Kravitz), Oz, aka The Penguin (Colin Farrell), Carmine Falcone (John Turturro), and Edward Nashton/aka The Riddler (Paul Dano). As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator’s plans becomes clear, Batman must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit, and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued Gotham City.

Departing from the more common approaches to the superhero’s narrative, director Matt Reeves capitalizes on his experience to deliver a captivating film noir. The detective element of the Batman story is front and centre in this picture. While there are some high energy scenes and a few fight sequences, the intense atmosphere is primarily fuelled by the search for the killer. Not surprisingly, the movie is very dark — literally and figuratively. Initially, the storyline feels like a cross between Saw and Seven as the victims are inventively murdered. Fortunately, the movie shifts its focus from the design of the murders to the reason these specific people are being targeted, though the correlations cannot be entirely dismissed. Another advantage is the film does not rehash Batman’s origin story for the umpteenth time. Instead, it seeks to highlight the vulnerability Bruce was experiencing when he donned the mask. Consequently, in spite of early concerns regarding the casting, Pattinson is more than suited to play this version of the Caped Crusader.

Special features include: deleted scenes with director’s commentary; “Vengeance in the Making”; “Vengeance Meets Justice”; “The Batman: Genesis”; “Becoming Catwoman”; “Looking for Vengeance”; “Anatomy of The Car Chase”; “Anatomy of The Wingsuit”; “A Transformation: The Penguin”; “The Batmobile”; and “Unpacking the Icons.” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

Candyman on 4K
Scream Factory

Candyman (4K Ultra HD & Digital copy)

When Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) hears about Candyman (Tony Todd), a slave spirit with a hook hand who is said to haunt a notorious housing project, she thinks she has a new twist for her thesis. Braving the gang-ridden territory to visit the site, Helen arrogantly assumes Candyman can’t really exist … until he appears, igniting a string of terrifying, grisly slayings. But the police don’t believe in monsters, and charge Helen with the crimes. And the only one who can set her free is Candyman.

This was a powerful horror narrative that emerged in the ‘90s. Not only did it feature a commanding, black antagonist, it relied on America’s sordid history to explain his brutal origin that resulted in an eternal monster. Moreover, there is a sexual overtone to the adversarial relationship between Candyman and Helen, which was unpopular at the time. In spite of all of Candyman’s menacing, the murders are committed off-screen and people’s versions of the legend create an even scarier killer than he physically presents. To this end, no one really knows what happens while Helen is blacked out, but the aftermath paints a horrific story.

Special features include: unrated and theatrical cuts; commentary with writer-director Bernard Rose and actor Tony Todd; commentary with Stephen Jones and Kim Newman; commentary with director Bernard Rose, author Clive Barker, producer Alan Poul and actors Tony Todd, Virginia Madsen and Kasi Lemmons; commentary with director Bernard Rose, from “The Movie Crypt Podcast” hosted by filmmakers Adam Green and Joe Lynch; “Sweets to the Sweet: The Candyman Mythos”; “Clive Barker: Raising Hell”; “The Heart of Candyman”; “Looking Back in the Mirror”; “Be My Victim”; “It Was Always You, Helen”; “Reflection in the Mirror”; “A Kid in Candyman”; “he Writing on the Wall: The Production Design of Candyman”; “Forbidden Flesh: The Makeup FX of Candyman”; A Story to Tell: Clive Barker’s ‘The Forbidden’”; “Urban Legend: Unwrapping Candyman”; “Bernard Rose’s Storyboards”; still gallery; TV spots; and theatrical trailer. (Scream Factory)

Lucifer Season 5 on DVD
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Lucifer: The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)

The story of the original fallen angel continues with the charming, charismatic and devilishly handsome Lord of Hell, Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis), abandoning his kingdom for the gorgeous, shimmering insanity of Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping savvy LAPD detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German) take down criminals. In the fifth season, the stakes are higher than ever. Secrets will be revealed, Lucifer makes a tumultuous return, Chloe rethinks romance, Ella (Aimee Garcia) finally finds a nice guy, and Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) adjusts to the whole fatherhood thing.

In this penultimate season, Lucifer returns a changed man — quite literally for at least part of the season. Michael’s presence on Earth unsurprisingly wreak’s havoc on Lucifer’s life, forcing the Lord of Hell to clean up his mess. The relationship between the Devil and Chloe once again takes centre stage as they finally find themselves in a place where they must decide whether they’re going to pursue their feelings for each other. New parents Amenadiel and Linda grapple with the possibility their child could be part angel and what that means for his future. As various celestial family members continue to make appearances, audiences finally get to see their all-powerful father, God. This season also has a very amusing musical episode as the characters breakout in popular songs while investigating a murder. The season finale features an inevitable, explosive confrontation that defines the final chapter.

Special features include: deleted scenes; and gag reel. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

Ray Donovan the Movie on DVD
Paramount Home Entertainment

Ray Donovan: The Movie (DVD)

The film picks up where season seven left off, with Mickey (Jon Voight) in the wind, and Ray (Liev Schreiber) determined to find and stop him before he can cause any more carnage. It also weaves together the present-day fallout from the Donovan/Sullivan feud with Ray and Mickey’s origin story from 30 years ago.

When the series concluded, there was definitely unfinished business still to be resolved. Mickey had once again screwed over his family, leaving Ray to clean up the mess. However, this trip into the past, exploring Ray’s first job as a fixer, reveals a lot about his character. Picking up shortly after their sister’s death, audiences can see the animosity Ray held for his father, irked by his very presence. However, it turns out Ray was always good at compartmentalizing and distancing himself from Mickey. Yet, the revelations in this picture will shock viewers, leading to a reckoning that is brutal — but only somewhat unexpected. It’s great the entire cast returned to close out this story as they each play a significant role and could not be replaced, nor could their characters have been put to rest without them.

There are no special features. (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Written By

Sarah Gopaul is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for film news, a member of the Online Film Critics Society and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved critic.

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