New on DVD & Blu-Ray: Blackhat, Still Alice, and More

by | May 11, 2015 | Comments

It’s another thin week on home video, but we’ve at least got one Oscar-winning drama, followed by a couple of movies with big stars that flopped at the theaters in early 2015. You can watch those at your own risk, but for better or worse, read on for all the details:

Still Alice (2014) 89%

Since the other big releases coming out this week were fairly heavy misfires, let’s start with the smaller movie that actually earned critical acclaim. Julianne Moore earned her fifth Oscar nomination and first Best Actress Academy Award for her work in Still Alice, a drama based on the Lisa Genova novel of the same name about a linguistics professor (Moore) struggling with the effects of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The film earned a Certified Fresh 89 percent on the Tomatometer, thanks largely to Moore’s stellar, heartbreaking performance and a gentle touch with some sensitive themes. Moore’s career is filled with accolades, and most critics felt that Still Alice was a worthy choice to win her the Oscar. It’s not a feelgood story by any means, but it’s a touching, well-acted, sincere vehicle for an outstanding veteran actress to demonstrate her considerable talents.

Blackhat (2015) 33%

And now, for the not so acclaimed movies. Chris Hemsworth is undeniably a star, especially when you consider the number of people online crying foul over the limited screentime Thor got in the new Avengers movie. But Hemsworth’s star power wasn’t enough to generate a fat box office take or good reviews for Blackhat, an espionage thriller that opened during the January dead zone, even with Michael Mann at the helm. The story revolves around a brilliant criminal hacker (Hemsworth) whose talents are called upon by the FBI and the Chinese government to help track down a network of cyberterrorists. Pretty timely stuff, right? Unfortunately, critics found the film stale and mostly lifeless, benefiting little from Mann’s typically stylish direction and mistaking the frantic click-clack of a keyboard for suspense. At just 33 percent on the Tomatometer, it’s a false step for Hemsworth and another unfortunate blemish on Mann’s recent filmography.

Mortdecai (2015) 13%

As a screenwriter, David Koepp’s got a few heavy hitters on his resume (Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible, Spider-Man), and his last two films as director (Ghost Town, Premium Rush) were both Certified Fresh. So what happened with Mortdecai? Johnny Depp stars as the titular art dealer and “part time rogue,” who embarks on a globetrotting adventure to retrieve a painting that may hold the key to secret Nazi gold. It seems like a hoot of a caper, which is probably why folks like Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Goldblum, Paul Bettany and more signed up for it. Talk to most of the critics who saw it, though, and they’ll tell you that it feels dated, it’s more than a little weird, and it isn’t particularly funny. There’s gagging, potential testicle electrocution, and a manservant named Jock Strapp. It’s also at 13 percent on the Tomatometer. Take that information and do with it what you will.



Make Way for Tomorrow (1936) (100 percent), Leo McCarey’s 1936 drama depicting a Depression-era family’s troubles, as told through the elderly mother and father, is Criterion’s offering this week in a new Blu-ray.
These Final Hours (2015) (78 percent), an apocalyptic drama about a man desperate to reach his girlfriend amidst societal chaos as the end of the world draws near.
The Cobbler (2015) (9 percent), starring Adam Sandler and Method Man in Tom McCarthy’s magical realist fable about a cobbler who is able to experience other people’s lives when he wears their shoes.