On DVD & Blu-Ray: May 10, 2016


The current cinematic landscape couldn't be more primed for a character like Deadpool. Audiences in general are all rather jaded when it comes to the superhero genre even if we don't care to admit so. That doesn't mean I think the genre and its success is going anywhere anytime soon, I don't. What I mean is simply that the genre is evolving and right now we're at the stage where we're all well aware that things have taken a turn into overdrive and are bordering on the ridiculous. That said, I kind of can't help but love it as the interconnected universes and team-up movies are everything I wanted the movies to be as a child. Even the TV platform is being invaded as super heroes are becoming just as present on the small screen as they are at the cineplexes. The market is saturated. There is no avoiding that truth and as we grow largely more self aware of what each of these comic book adventures will hold we expect our heroes to do the same thing. As the the genre grows and evolves we expect our heroes and their movies to grow and evolve as well. That is why, given his penchant for simultaneous self-aggrandizing and self-degrading humor, Deadpool is able to get away with being both a narcissistic degenerate yet inviting sympathy for his plight and pulling the audience to his side despite the fact he may not be that great of a guy. He's different. He's fresh, but it goes deeper than that. Much has been and will continue to be said about the self-aware nature of the character and his vulgar, R-rated humor that isn't inherent to the comic book movies that have allowed for the genre to become as mainstream as it is now, but the language, violence, and sex presented here is not solely for the sake of undoing every expectation set up by every super hero movie prior, but instead is simply part of who this guy is and the type of environment he was nurtured in. Deadpool AKA Wade Wilson (played by Ryan Reynolds as what I can only imagine is really just Ryan Reynolds) is simply a product of his environment in the same way Thor and and Captain America are fantastical products of theirs. The difference being what these environments stipulate as appropriate and in Deadpool's world there is no excuse to not let it all hang out and that's exactly what Reynolds along with director Tim Miller do. Full review here. B

Ethan Hawke seems like the type of actor who does as much work as he can no matter the genre, or the paycheck simply because he loves the idea that he gets to make movies for a living. What's it matter, really? He can justify it all by saying one never knows what will catch on and he'd be right. After all, he made a low budget horror flick in The Purge three years ago that will see its third installment be released this year. Of course, it was also around this time that Hawke began to seem to give into the temptations of making more pure genre flicks outside of what is largely an independent filmography. With Sinister, Getaway, and what feels like a handful of direct to DVD releases Hawke has become the actor we wouldn't be surprised to see turn up in anything. His presence no longer signals whether what we're watching might be a horrible film or a near masterpiece as he's arguably starred in films on either end of that spectrum. With Regression the actor wanders back to the territory of the horror genre with what are nothing but honorable intentions, but unfortunately that willingness to commit to almost anything lets him down here. Written and directed by Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar, who shared those same duties on both 2001's The Others and 2004's The Sea Inside that garnered him a barrage of rave reviews and what was undoubtedly a large amount of good will and momentum, Regression is inspired by a rise in the suspicion of Satanic cult-related activities in the early nineties and how such acts began making their way into the mainstream as well as what were apparently many a police investigations. Of course, through this guise the narrative feels all the more familiar given the number of horror films we've seen that get their "in" through a tortured official investigating these claims that are always scoffed at initially. While AmenĂ¡bar certainly has an interesting approach to this type of story it might have aided his film even more had he come at it from a different perspective. As it is, there are both some beautifully haunting and cringingly cheap images on display with a few cool period details, but ultimately we've seen this all before and in much better, more effective fashions. Full review here. C-

Like any good research paper Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next states its thesis at the end of its introduction and then continues to give examples and take us through its methodologies until some type of conclusion might be drawn and some discussion might be had about those results. Moore follows each of these steps in assessing where his beloved United States of America has gone so wrong over the last few decades. How have we come full circle and wound up in a situation where tension in race relations is at an all-time high, education scores are at all-time lows, obesity is at an all-time high, and the overall quality of life couldn't be further from the imagined "American Dream"? It is in this grain of an idea that Moore decides to go to other countries around the globe and "invade" them to see why they seem to be excelling in areas where the States are having trouble and "steal" their ideas. The simple revelations these countries offer to some of America's most dire issues are striking and Moore, taking on this optimistic point of view that things really do stand a chance of changing, is refreshing. This isn't a cynical man poking fun at how badly we've failed, but someone who seems to genuinely want to turn things around for the better. Even if one doesn't necessarily agree with all of the politics of the proposed resolutions, the goal is admirable and I can't help but hope the decent population of people in this country can see through the differences in the details to the real message of the documentary. That it doesn't have to be about the political lines, a particular parties beliefs, or the presumed prejudice that some group will undoubtedly call foul when any decision is made, but that to make such changes would be to benefit as many people as possible-what is best for all of us and not just a select group of individuals. B+

After seeing The Forest I had little interest in watching any more January horror offerings, but there have been enough kind things said about The Boy that I may just give this thing a shot now that it has arrived on home video. Starring The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan as an American nanny who is shocked to learn that her new English family's son is actually a life-sized doll. After violating a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive.