Despite winter hanging on tight, and a smaller selection this week, we still have some killer titles starting with the newest film in the Transformers universe, Bumblebee. A war rages on the planet of Cybertron. In order to survive, Autobots leader Optimus Prime sends Bumblebee to Earth to secretly set up a base for the Autobots to regroup. On Earth in 1987, Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld) is a girl in California on the verge of her 18th birthday looking for her purpose. When she buys an old car to call her own and discovers it is actually Bumblebee, she must help him stop a band of Decepticons who have discovered Earth and plan to take it over for their own.
I have thoroughly enjoyed all the Transformers films thus far, but I have to say Bumblebee may be the best film yet. Not only is the 80s setting and soundtrack kick ass, but Steinfeld is an excellent lead, Jorge Lendeborg Jr. is great as Charlie’s friend Memo, and the visual effects and further exploration of the Bumblebee character are fantastically entertaining. John Cena makes a great foil as well, although it is a little hard to buy him as a bad guy, which even the filmmakers seem to admit. The scenes on Cybertron are also of note as they are the first time the films have perfectly matched the original cartoon and are absolutely beautiful eye candy. Overall, Bumblebee actually makes me excited for any more Transformers movies they may have up their sleeves.
Next up is the new film directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. The Mule. Eastwood plays 90-year-old horticulturist and Korean War veteran Earl Stone, who finds himself with nothing after he goes out of business. After estranging his entire family for decades, Earl takes a job driving drug shipments for a cartel to make money for his family and friends and try to make a difference while he still has a chance. While Earl turns out to be very good at what he does, there is a high price to pay for taking such great risks.
Eastwood is a true master and it is great to see him get behind and in front of the camera again. As with most Eastwood films, the pace is slower and deliberate, but the story is tense and holds your interest throughout. Eastwood is excellent and his supporting cast including Bradley Cooper, Dianne Wiest, Alison Eastwood and Taissa Farmiga all do admirable work backing him up. There are some great lighter moments thrown in as well but The Mule remains a powerful story of redemption and another notch on Eastwood’ directorial belt.
Lastly this week is the new Adam McKay film, Vice. Christian Bale plays Dick Cheney, who was chosen by Governor George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) to be his Republican running mate in the 2000 presidential election. Cheney, the former CEO of Halliburton Co. uses his formidable business smarts with is newfound power to try and reshape the country and the world.
Vice is a pretty eye opening look into the life of one of the most influential men of his era. As usual, Christian Bale physically transformed himself for the role to such a drastic degree he is barely recognizable here. Apparently, he even kept recordings of Cheney on his phone to learn every single mannerism and facial expression of the man to faithfully portray him. Director McKay, known more for his silly comedies with Will Ferrell, does a great job of telling Cheney’s story while still keeping the tone lighter overall. And the rest of the cast is a virtual who’s who of Hollywood with the likes of Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Alison Pill, Eddie Marsan, Jesse Plemons, Lily Rabe, Tyler Perry and more. Vice is fascinating and entertaining.
Also of note this week is the Sam Elliott film The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot, and the teen mystery Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase.
Until next week movie lovers!
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday April 2, 2019
A Silent Voice: The Movie
Bumblebee & Transformers Ultimate 6-Movie Collection
Emmanuelle 2 (1975)*
Enigma (1982)* - MVD Marquee Collection
Goodbye Emmanuelle (1977)*
Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms and Blood & Iron 4K
My Brilliant Friend
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase
Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us
Pokémon: Indigo League - Season 1
Seven in Heaven
The Great Buster: A Celebration
The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot
WWE: Best of NXT Takeover 2018
*Catalog Blu-ray debut