First up this week is the new live action of one of the most beloved anime films of all time, Ghost in the Shell. Scarlett Johansson stars as Major Kusanagi, a human saved from a devastating terror attack who has become cyber-enhanced to become a perfect soldier meant to stop the world?s most dangerous criminals. When a new threat surfaces with the ability to hack into people?s minds and control them, Major must use all her resources to stop them while also uncovering disturbing secrets about her past.
Ghost in the Shell drew a fair bit of controversy for its casting of a white woman in the famously Asian lead role, but controversy aside, Ghost in the Shell is a hypnotically beautiful film that is faithful to the original movie while still having its own feel. Johansson is excellent in the role of Major and brings a deep sadness to the role that really fleshes her out. Also of note is Pilou Asb as Majors partner Batou, a formidable presence and a great companion role with excellent chemistry with Johansson. My only complaint would have been that the action sequences could have been more plentiful or at least longer, but overall the film is very engaging and harkens back to classic sci fi like Blade Runner.
Next up is Gifted. Chris Evans stars as Frank Adler, a single man raising his niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) in a Florida town. After his brilliant sister?s suicide, Frank vows to give Mary a normal life despite her incredible intelligence levels. But Frank?s mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) has other plans to exploit Mary?s mathematical genius leading to a battle for the very future of the young girl.
Gifted is the type of movie that could have easily slid down the slope into cheesiness but thanks to the incredible talents of Evans, Mckenna Grace and a great supporting cast also featuring Jenny Slate and Octavia Spencer, and a great genuine script by Tom Flynn, Gifted feels authentic and is always grounded emotionally. This is a well done drama on every level.
Lastly this month is a favorite flick of mine from 1985 making its Blu-ray debut, Prizzi?s Honor. Jack Nicholson plays Charlie Partana, a hitman for the Prizzi?s, a wealthy crime syndicate family. Charlie meets and falls in love with Irene Walker (Kathleen Turner) but is unaware that she is in fact another assassin hired by the Prizzi?s. When their jobs start to cross each other?s paths, their relationship becomes much more difficult than they could have ever imagined.
Prizzi?s Honor is 80s filmmaking at its finest. Both Nicolson and Turner are at the height of their careers and both are absolute dynamite here. Add to that a fantastic script by Richard Condon and Janet Roach based on Condon?s novel and directing duties by none other than John Huston and you have a thoroughly entertaining Comedy Crime Drama Romance that is at the top of its class. And just for good measure you also get Robert Loggia, William Hickey, Anjelica Huston, Lawrence Tierney and CCH Pounder in memorable supporting roles. Prizzi?s Honor is a great film and one that hasn?t aged a day since 1985.
Also of note this week is the new Antonio Banderas thriller Black Butterfly, the Blu-ray debut of Silkwood with Meryl Steep, Cher and Kurt Russell, and the new animated comedy The Boss Baby.
Until next week movie lovers.
DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Tuesday July 25, 2017
Bag Boy Lover Boy
Beyond the Darkness*
Billy Jack: The Complete Collection
Diff?rent Strokes: The Complete Sixth Season
Don?t Look in the Basement/Don?t Look in the Basement 2*
Duck Dynasty: Season 11 ? The Final Season
Emerald City: Season One
Ghost in the Shell
Girls: The Complete Sixth Season
LEGO Scooby Doo! Blowout Beach Bash
Lost in America* - Criterion Collection
Lust of the Vampire Girls
One Million B.C.*
Re-Animator: Special Edition
The Boss Baby
The Final Master
The Glass Coffin
The Night Shift
The Stendahl Syndrome
The Warlock Collection*
The Zodiac Killer*
Where the Boys Are (1960)*
*Catalog Blu-ray debut