On DVD & Blu-Ray: November 17, 2015


Though it doesn't indicate the quality of the film in the slightest, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. will always fall under the unfortunate circumstances of having to open two weeks after Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation. This is unfortunate due to the fact it will mean The Man From U.N.C.L.E. will have less of a cultural impact than the already slight one it was going to have without having to follow-up the last great action hurrah of the summer. This isn't really relative to the film itself, but while it seems there was never much expected of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., it's worth noting it is something of a shame due to the fact it now will definitely not come to mean much in the larger pop culture landscape. A shame because the film is actually quite fun and therefore rather satisfying when taken on the terms of what it is intended to be. Coming to us courtesy of director Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and the Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes films) this film, based on the NBC show that ran from 1964-68 about two secret agents who work for a secret international counter espionage and law-enforcement agency called U.N.C.L.E. or the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, is everything you'd expect from the director and all you could want from the genre in general. Enlisting Superman (Henry Cavill) and The Lone Ranger (Armie Hammer) to star is another way of suggesting this could possibly be another sub-par take on an old television property, which is a trend in and of itself that feels dated now (how ya doin' 2000?), but Ritchie and his team (including first time feature writer Lionel Wigram) have somehow managed to cobble together a pile of standard spy movie cliches and make them into something astonishingly direct and abundantly stylish that completely owns what it is and, as a result, comes off as confident and self-assured as Cavill's Napoleon Solo. Full review here. B-

We Are Your Friends is a movie accompanying a soundtrack rather than the other way around. It is a movie about a DJ and we all know how rough the plight of a DJ can be. The problem with the premise in general is that it does feel rather inconsequential in the wide range of stories to be told and it seems wasteful that a movie about a DJ gets such a wide release instead of something more substantial. And so, the question is: does this DJ tale use it's opportunity to say something more? Unfortunately the answer is no. While the trailer for the film did in fact hint at something more-is the cost and the grind of the collegiate system worth the job it grants you afterwards that is largely utilized to pay back those student loans? The film hints it might not be if you do something worthwhile with that time, but Cole Carter (Zac Efron) and his friends aren't doing much besides melting away in the San Fernando Valley. Despite it's rather hollow exteriors I was optimistic that the film might actually take the opportunity to explore a few existential themes that become prevalent for the first time in your early twenties, but it keeps in key with it's hollow exteriors by being a hollow portrait of the sunshine state lifestyle. To say that is to say there isn't much to the film and again, unfortunately that is true. Director Max Joseph (MTV's Catfish) makes his narrative feature debut here and while he is keen on tapping into that younger audience he knows so well, at thirty-three this drama of young angst feels more manufactured than authentic. We Are Your Friends is one of those movies about a group of friends who are in the midst of trying to accomplish their dreams and fulfill their aspirations, but feel stuck or even worse, know they don't have what it takes to make it out of their hometown. The thing about Cole though is that he's basically granted unprecedented access to a well-known DJ and all the resources he could ever need in order to flourish and yet there isn't enough drive there for him to take the obvious path. Full review here. D

The Stanford Prison Experiment is a film I've heard a lot about and plan to see very soon. Starring a who's who of young male talent in Hollywood that includes Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Tye Sheridan (Mud), Michael Angarano (Sky High), Ki Hong Lee (The Maze Runner films), Moises Arias (Ender's Game, The Kings of Summer), Nicholas Braun (The Poltergeist), Gaius Charles (Friday Night Lights), Keir Gilchrist (It Follows), Thomas Mann (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Logan Miller (Scout's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) and Johnny Simmons (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) the film is about twenty-four male students out of seventy-five who were selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.





Co-directed by Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) and Christian Duurvoort (Blindness, City of Men) Trash did not receive the awards attention a Daldry film is typically awarded and has largely been ignored altogether. Starring Rooney Mara and MArtin Sheen the film, set in Brazil, is about three kids who make a discovery in a garbage dump and soon find themselves running from the cops while trying to right a terrible wrong. I'm not sure if I'll get around to this one despite finding it's credentials interesting.