This week on home video, we’ve got a less than satisfying sci-fi tale and another Liam Neeson thriller, as well as a dark comedy starring Kristen Wiig, a couple of TV series finales, and both a bland comedy and a horror misfire. Read on for the full list:
South African director Neill Blomkamp loves his brainy sci-fi, but as his first three feature films now demonstrate, he doesn’t always know what to do with his big ideas. Set in the near future, Chappie centers on a police enforcement droid gone rogue after his creator (Dev Patel) uploads new artificial intelligence programming that causes the droid to become self aware. Christened “Chappie” by his adoptive parents — a couple of common criminals (played by hip hop duo Ninja and Yolandi Visser of Die Antwoord) — he learns quickly that not everyone is happy to see his transformation come to fruition. Co-starring Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, and Blomkamp regular Sharlto Copley as the voice of Chappie, the film boasted a strong cast and seamless visual effects, but critics felt it was too derivative and tonally inconsistent for its message to resonate. The Blu-ray comes with several featurettes on everything from a profile of Johannesburg to a look at the weaponry to an examination of real A.I., as well as an alternate ending, an extended scene, and concept art.
Liam Neeson furthers his late career badass cred in Run All Night, his third collaboration with director Jaume Collet-Serra after Unknown and Non-Stop. When retired mob hitman Jimmy Conlon (Neeson) kills the son of his former boss (Ed Harris) during an altercation, his own son (Joel Kinnaman) becomes the new target, and Jimmy fights to protect him at all costs. The bottom line for Run All Night is that there’s hardly anything new here, but Neeson’s performance and a propulsive storyline make it a passably entertaining revenge thriller. Disc features include two featurettes — on shooting the film and on Liam Neeson as a gritty action hero — and a handful of deleted scenes.
Wild Tales (2015) (96 percent), a Certified Fresh dark comedy anthology comprised of six scenes themed around ordinary people pushed to violence.
Welcome to Me (2014) (69 percent), starring Kristen Wiig in a dark comedy about a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder who wins the lottery and decides to produce her own TV talk show.
The Lazarus Effect (2015) (13 percent), starring Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde in a thriller about a group of scientists who discover the secret to reanimation but soon realize it brings unforeseen side effects.
Unfinished Business (2014) (11 percent), starring Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, and Dave Franco in a comedy about three business partners who travel to Europe to close a deal and get wildly sidetracked on the way.
The Certified Fresh third and final season of HBO’s The Newsroom (2015) (76 percent), starring Jeff Daniels as a self-important but idealistic anchor at a failing cable news network.
The twelfth and final season of CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men (2014), starring John Cryer and Ashton Kutcher as mismatched housemates.