On DVD & Blu-Ray: August 8, 2017

I like Guy Ritchie, I like his style, and I enjoy his approach to storytelling. The writer/director understands the unique ways in which one can convey something as simple as a montage and how such interpretive change can alter the reception and/or investment of an audience in something as simple as a montage. If you've seen any of Ritchie's s previous films, such as Snatch, RocknRolla, or either of the two Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes adventures, then you'll certainly recognize the marks of the director in his latest film; another re-telling of the King Arthur story. It was inevitable the legend of Arthur and his knights of the roundtable would eventually get their own gritty re-boot, but when it was announced Ritchie would be the one bringing said gritty reboot to the big screen the trend all of a sudden didn't feel so tired. Too bad we spoke too soon for despite the fact Ritchie gets a director, co-writer, and producer credit on this $175 million flick-it reeks of studio intervention and countless pacing issues due to as much. Before we get too far into this though, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword isn't an outright train wreck and has some rather inspired and interesting moments whether that be in character and set design, some of the performances, or of course the notable editing and inventive storytelling. Still, at the end of the day, this is a film whose parts are greater than its (overlong) summation and unfortunately that leaves a rather forgettable taste. Bland. Bland is the word I'm looking for. And while one might have advised Ritchie and the gang against rebooting a brand name no one seemed to be particularly interested in (the last incarnation of King Arthur came just over a decade ago and only delivered $200 million worldwide) there was always that hope Ritchie might put enough of a directorial stamp on the material that this new version might come to be more than justified. There are hints of Ritchie's British blue collar mentality and sense of humor that pop up throughout that hint at what could have been, a medieval Lock, Stock if you will, but more often than not King Arthur: Legend of the Sword becomes a bloated, CGI-fest that is more hollow spectacle than engaging character drama. Full review here. Video review here. C-

If Snatched is what you expect it to be is that necessarily a good thing? Probably not, but if it's better than you expected does that make it a good movie or, just, not a terrible one? It's a tough line to walk and an even more difficult one to decipher, but at the end of the day it can't help but to feel as if Snatched, overall, is more of a missed opportunity than a success by the standards of its genre tropes. Missed opportunity due to the fact that not only was it written by a single screenwriter in Katie Dippold (The Heat, Ghostbusters) and directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50, Warm Bodies), but that it also stars one of the world's most popular stand-up comedians (like it or not) while being able to pull seventy-one year old Goldie Hawn out of a fifteen year semi-retirement. If one is able to rope in a comedic legend like Hawn for your project one might imagine that individual or team would utilize her and her talents to their greatest effect, but in Snatched it seems Levine and everyone around him were afraid to ask Hawn to do anything too uncomfortable and instead kept her tasks in as safe and as easy a box as possible. This only stands to resort the movie to Hawn playing an overly-cautious mother figure while Amy Schumer is the irresponsible, narcissist of a daughter that exemplifies every negative stereotype one could come up with about millennials and then throws them into a hostage situation where balance in the two competing personalities is supposed to be found. Alas, that is what the movie goes for, but none of it ever feels natural or authentic, but rather very much like a movie. Everything about Snatched is very movie-like and while that isn't always a bad thing, especially when as much is intentional, this technique only bodes well for Snatched part of the time and most of that time is when the film is actually being funny. In short, when the film owns up to its promise and delivers on the capabilities of its talented cast and creative teams, but more often than not Snatched feels like a given of a movie where, after it was decided Schumer and Hawn would play a bickering mother/daughter pair, the rest was left up to that chemistry to make the ship sail successfully. Schumer and Hawn more anchor the film than anything though; holding the antics steady despite the fact the ship itself hasn't been that well-constructed. Full review here. C-

Oren Moverman (The Messenger, Rampart) writes and directs The Dinner, a drama/thriller based on Herman Koch's novel, about a former history teacher and his wife Claire who meet at a fancy restaurant with his elder brother, a prominent politician and his wife Babette. The plan at this dinner is to discuss how to handle a crime committed by their teenage sons. The crime, involving a violent act of some sort, has been captured by a security camera and shown on TV, but, so far, the boys have yet to be identified leaving the parents to decide what they should do. Starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan, and Rebecca Hall I've enjoyed each of Moverman's previous directorial efforts as well as many films he's had a hand in writing and though this one didn't get too wide a release I look forward to catching up with it at some point soon.

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