On DVD & Blu-Ray: December 26, 2017

Israeli-born director Hany Abu-Assad makes no apologies for the type of movie he's made in The Mountain Between Us. There is no reason to, either. The film is a handsomely mounted, beautifully photographed, human drama about two people who become stranded with no documentation whatsoever about where they might be. This is a movie that totally accomplishes what it sets out to do, that completely embodies what it is meant to be, and on most levels you have to applaud a film for being as much. It's admirable that Abu-Assad, working from a screenplay by Chris Weitz (About a Boy) who adapted Charles Martin's 2010 novel of the same name, followed this desire to adapt the source material in the vein of this grand romantic adventure tale of old that so willingly commits to the type of movie it wants to be that we honestly don't see much of anymore. Is there room for criticism? Of course, but it's difficult to balance. The movie is inherently melodramatic and rather frail in its plotting in how it documents the passage of time (hint: poorly), but stars Kate Winslet and Idris Elba always look just the right amount of roughed up to still be attractive in that rugged sense that will surely make couples on a date night want to get lost in the wilderness together. All of that said, this isn't a great movie despite having several positive attributes-most being in the sweeping visuals-but when taken on the terms of the type of movie it is aiming to be and given The Mountain Between Us is essentially the most prestigious pile of dopey cheese one could ever create-it works for what it is. It does, it really does. Early in the film a plane flies overhead while Elba's character struggles to shoot off a flare. Winslet's character yells at the top of her lungs, but out of frustration Elba's Ben turns to her and tells her that they can't hear her. "I know they can't hear me! It's just what you do!" She replies. Watching The Mountain Between Us is kind of like that as well; even if you're intelligent enough to know the movie isn't a great movie you keep watching out of a need and/or want to feel something specific and have a certain kind of experience. The Mountain Between Us fills this kind of quota in spades. Full review here. C

Vince Vaughn goes from wedding crasher to head smasher in S. Craig Zahler's follow-up to his startling debut in Bone Tomahawk. Brawl in Cell Block 99 follows a former boxer-turned-drug runner who lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly. Jennifer Carpenter and Don Johnson co-star in this fun riff on a seventies-style exploitation films that you can, politically, take in whatever direction you prefer. That said, the film never truly transcends these trappings of the genre it so clearly allows to define it to become something other than an exercise, albeit a good and entertaining one, of the familiar. B-

I'll be honest-I missed what was probably about the last fifteen to twenty minutes or so of this re-make of the 1990 original, but that said-it's not too hard to tell where Flatliners was going. I can appreciate the attempts to make this more in the horror realm than that of the original, baroque-inspired psychological drama, but while this was heralded as a "spiritual sequel" of sorts it more or less ends up feeling like an uninspired re-make that doesn't take advantage of the time that has passed and what that could mean for the intriguing premise. D

Taran Killam of SNL makes his writing and directing debut with Killing Gunther, an action comedy about a group of eccentric assassins who are fed up with Gunther as played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is the world's greatest hitman, and decide to kill him. Obviously, their plan turns into a series of bungled encounters as Gunther seems to always be one step ahead. The premise and initial trailers for this made it look like a genuinely funny time at the movies with Schwarzenegger putting on a persona we'd yet to see from the performer, but critics have no been kind to the film since its quiet release on streaming services. Still, I wouldn't mind stumbling across the film at some point in the near future before I forget it exists.

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