On DVD & Blu-Ray Today: January 24, 2017


In a world where even Tom Hanks has a franchise it's something of a shame America's favorite actor isn't in a better one than this. That said, the now trilogy based around symbologist Robert Langdon (Hanks) and based on the wildly popular series of novels from author Dan Brown are movies of pure junk food status and aspire to be nothing more than appeasing puzzles audiences unravel along with Langdon and whomever his next adventure decides to pair him with. Though the novels are said to very much be of the same variety as far as quality is concerned (I haven't personally read any of them) it is easy to see why there are such pleasures to be taken from the high caloric intake these movies serve up despite the lack of any real weight or nutritional value. Mystery adventures such as Inferno and its predecessors should be taken at face value and little more. There is an obvious factor to an actor of Hanks caliber taking on such a role if he were going to choose an ongoing series of films to be a part of in that Langdon is always the smartest guy in the room and Brown's novels along with the film adaptations spout facts upon historical facts in order to present the facade of intelligence and inventiveness, but while there is certainly an amount of creative ingenuity that comes along with writing any piece of fiction much less one that concerns ancient architecture, Renaissance artists, and their personal lives-each containing clues that further both the main mystery and the arc of its protagonist-there is also something inherently ridiculous to the quest Langdon and his peers are asked to go on. Making huge leaps to vague conclusions time and time again and encountering more secret passageways in old museums than there are plot twists, Inferno falls perfectly in line with the two previous films in the series if not more with 2009's Angels & Demons which saw director Ron Howard and his team taking things a lot less seriously than they did with the still daunting and tepidly paced The Da Vinci Code from 2006. Still, as its seven years on from the last sequel Inferno can't help but to feel a little less inspired and a little more under baked as it's obvious the only reason Hanks and Howard returned to this world and this character was for secure box office returns and likely the chance to make something they're a little more invested in. Whatever the case may be, Inferno is serviceable if not rather forgettable in its brisk pacing and handsome presentation. In other words, Inferno is little more than empty calories, but often times enjoyable calories nonetheless. Full review here. C-

The Light Between Oceans was my most anticipated film of the last two years that I still haven't seen. From the director of Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines, Derek Cianfrance's latest suffered the unfortunate fate of finally being released at the tail end of summer/beginning of September when no one was paying attention and Walt Disney Studios and Entertainment One made no push for it at all. The push was so weak in fact that it didn't open in enough theaters playing it at enough times for me to catch it on the big screen. As it has finally arrived on home video though, I hope to get a look at the film I have been waiting to see since Cianfrance declared it his next project. Hopefully that time will come this weekend.

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