Sci-fi film ‘Equals’ is a dystopian fantasy worth watching
Even if you’re burnt out on dystopian fantasies, check out “Equals” (2016, Lionsgate, PG-13, $20), a visual stunner of a thriller which works beautifully thanks to director Drake Doremus’ decision to hinge the action on a love story.
Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult star as illustrators who are attracted to each other but, according to the rules of their futuristic society, forbidden to couple. When an inoculation is invented to “cure” people of their emotions, Stewart and Hoult plot an escape.
Despite an overly somber tone, “Equals” pulls off the neat trick of combining romance with white-
knuckle suspense. Check it out. Extras: commentaries and featurettes.
Also New To DVD
The Conjuring 2 (2016, Warner, R, $30): The Enfield Haunting, or England’s Amityville, might have been the basis for a tightly-plotted horror thriller. Instead, director James Wan stretches the thin tale out for a very long, 134 minutes. Almost an hour passes, in fact, before paranormal sleuths Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) show up in the U.K. to help a single mother (Frances O’Connor) rid her home of malicious spirits. Still, the second half picks up steam as the Warrens hunker down for a battle with a genuinely scary demon. Extras: deleted scenes and featurettes.
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016,
Universal, R, $30): In this lively though onenote mockumentary, Andy Samberg stars as Conner4Real, a rapper facing a quarter-life crisis after his second album tanks. Unlike “Zoolander” which relied on a spy story to move the plot along, “Popstar” is the simple saga of Conner patching things up with his former bandmates (Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, who also directed). If you don’t mind a bit of repetition, individual sequences provide plenty of laughs and the all-star cameos (Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey, Ringo Starr) are fun. Extras: deleted scenes, gag reel, featurettes and commentaries by Samberg, Schaffer and Taccone.
The Darkness (2016, Universal, PG-13, $22):
A lesser effort from the usually reliable producer Jason Blum (“Insidious”), this mediocre outing centers on an autistic teenager named Michael (“Gotham’s” David Mazouz) who collects five mysterious stones on a Grand Canyon vacation. The artifacts turn out to be haunted by evil spirits who wreck havoc on Michael’s family (Radha Mitchell, Kevin Bacon). The ghosts are also supposed to bring out the evil impulses, or “the darkness,” in their owners but this theme barely registers thanks to the inept plotting. Extras: deleted scenes.
Seven Miles From Alacatraz (1942, Warner Archive, unrated, $20):
In this crispytwo convicts efficient (JamesBmovie, Craig, Frank Jenks) break out of Alcatraz and take refuge in a nearby lighthouse which, unbeknownst to them, is home to a Nazi spy ring. At first, the outlaws think only of themselves but, eventually, all of the Nazi talk about “the master race” turns the thugs into patriots. The film concludes with a nail-biting fight to the death between Craig and one of the bad guys on the lighthouse’s three levels. Shot without the benefit of special effects, the battle puts most modern cinematic dust-ups to shame with its authenticity and ferocity. Extras: none.
Raising Cain (1992, Shout Factory, R, $20): After “Bonfire of the Vanities” flopped, Brian DePalma returned to his horror movie roots for this preposterous yet wildly entertaining thriller. John Lithgow stars as a
child psychologist who, after catching his wife (Lolita Davidovich) cheating with an old lover (Steven Bauer), undergoes a mental collapse. Cue the murders, the kidnappings and multiplepersonality weirdness. In a bold move, DePalma melts down the barriers between dream and reality so the whole picture has a woozy, jarring quality. Something of a riff on “Psycho,” this undervalued outing, now on Blu-ray, is DePalma at his most daring and dazzling.
Extras: both the theatrical and director’s cut of the film and featurettes.
Night Train To Munich (1940, Criterion, unrated, $30): The great filmmaker Carol Reed (“The Third Man”) is at his most Hitchcockian in this littleseen espionage thriller that makes a delicious cocktail out of light comedy, nailbiting suspense and killer action scenes. Rex Harrison stars as a British undercover agent who poses as a Nazi to help a Czech scientist and his daughter (Margaret Lockwood) escape from Germany into the Swiss Alps. Reed paces the movie like a fast-moving locomotive yet he makes time for a delightful flirtation between Lockwood and Harrison as well as a darker relationship between Lockwood and a German spy (Paul Henreid). Now on Blu-ray, it’s essential viewing. Extras: featurettes. Elementary: The Fourth Season (2016, Paramount, unrated, $55): Investigate for yourself the shock waves that Sherlock Holmes’s unpredictable father (“Fringe’s” John Noble) sends through the series after he arrives in the Big Apple for an extended visit. Once again, Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) teams up with Dr. Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) to solve a series of twisty crimes. The six disc
set includes 24 episodes. Extras: gag reel, featurettes and deleted scenes.
Inspector Lewis: Series 8 (2015, PBS, unrated, $30): For the last season of the popular “Inspector Morse” spin-off, Oxford detectives Lewis (Kevin Whately) and Hathaway (Laurence Fox) must solve fresh mysteries, including the murder of an avantgarde artist and the death of a womanizer decimated by a letter bomb. On the personal front, the detectives are also dealing with family ties, retirement issues and a new boss (Steve Toussaint). Extras: none.
The Knick: The Complete Second Season (2016, HBO, unrated, $25): With the latest batch of episodes, the cocaine-addicted surgeon John Thackery (Clive Owen) deserves to join the list of TV’s most flawed yet compelling anti-heroes. At the outset of the superb sophomore season, Thackery returns to the Knickerbocker Hospital where, as he tries to kick his habit, he tends to those on the fringes of society. Under the direction of Steven Soderbergh, Owen is particularly splendid, especially when he’s sharing scenes with the terrific André Holland, the Knick’s only African-American physician. Extras: featurettes.
Nicholas Hoult (“Silas”) stars in Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s EQUALS.
Kristen Stewart (“Nia”) stars in Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s EQUALS.
Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s EQUALS.