Overstuffed ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ doesn’t impress
Original “X-Men” helmer Bryan Singer is back in the director’s chair for “X-Men: Apocalypse” (2016, Fox, PG13, $30), a follow-up to his entertaining prequel “Days of Future Past.”
But even though James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender return as well, the thrill is gone. “Apocalypse” makes the same mistake as nearly every other superhero movie this year: too many characters and too much destruction for destruction’s sake.
With the exception of a scene-stealing Evan Peters as Quicksilver, the cast members, including Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne and Oscar Isaac, fail to rise above the din. Extras: gag reel, deleted scenes, featurettes and commentary by Singer.
Also New To DVD Edge of Winter (2016, Sony, R, $20):
With roles in “Suicide Squad” and the “Robocop” remake, Joel Kinnaman demonstrated a knack for doing a lot with very little. But even though he’s the best thing about this tundra thriller, he still can’t make it worthwhile. Kinnaman stars as an unstable father who takes his kids (Percy Hynes White, Tom Holland) on a hunting trip and, after learning they might be relocating with their mom to London, begins to lose his mind. Eventually, the boys realize they’ll need to escape their dad’s grasp if they want to survive. It’s atmospheric but not much else. Extras: none.
Ma Ma (2016, Oscilloscope, unrated, $30):
Penelope Cruz is radiant as a single mother stricken with breast cancer who, on the day she receives her diagnosis, meets a man (Luis Tosar) whose wife and daughter have been killed in a car accident. Slowly, her condition seems to improve as she’s buoyed along by waves of love and affection from Tosar and her teenage son (Teo Planell). Director Julio Medem brings a bracing intimacy to the scenes between Cruz and Tosar. There are some gaffes, including a singing gynecologist (Asier Etxeandia), but, in the end, “Ma Ma” has its heart in the right place. Extras: featurette.
Finding Altamira (2016, Sony, unrated, $20):
For his first feature in more than a decade, “Chariots of Fire” helmer Hugh Hudson turns to the real-life saga of an amateur archeologist (Antonio Banderas) in 19th century Spain who discovers
cave paintings thought to be at least 10,000 years old. The findings set off a battle between representatives of the Catholic Church and the scientific community, all of whom attempt to discredit Banderas. It’s more than a little predictable but when Hudson shifts the focus to the ways in which the discovery impacts Banderas’ marriage to his devout wife (Golshifteh Farahani), the biopic finally comes alive. Extras: none.
Bill And Ted’s Excellent Collection (1989-1991, Shout Factory, PG, $50):
Bill and Ted have finally gone Blu and the results are bodacious, dude. Included in this newly remastered set are “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” from 1989 and “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” from 1991. On the
verge of flunking history, our heroes (Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter) are given a chance to time travel and hang out with Joan of Arc, Abe Lincoln and Napoleon. In the sequel, the airheads clash not only with the Grim Reaper (William Sadler) but with evil robot versions of themselves. Sweet. Extras: featurettes.
Masks (2011, ReelGore, unrated, $40):
How much should you suffer for your art? German helmer Andreas Marschall grapples with that question in this stylish horror outing about a fledgling actress (Susen Ermich) who enrolls in a Berlin acting school which promises to push its students to their mental limits. A homage to Dario Argento’s “Suspira,” this film, while overlong, scores points for its mesmerizing score by Sebastian Levermann, some freaky plot twists and a nightmarish vibe which has a way of getting under your skin. You won’t easily forget this one. Extras: deleted scenes, featurettes and a CD of the score.
Two Films By Douglas Sirk (1946-1947, Cohen, unrated, $40):
Nobody knew his way around a good, juicy melodrama like Sirk, the man behind “Magnificent Obsession” and “Imitation of Life.” Before those landmarks, the German émigré directed a pair of rarely seen thrillers that are heavy on whiteknuckle suspense. George Sanders stars in “A Scandal in Paris” as an elegant thief turned Paris police chief while Lucille Ball toplines “Lured” as a dance hall girl who is used by the police as bait to catch a serial killer. Both films have been beautifully restored for their Blu-ray bows. Extras: commentaries by film historians.
High Noon: Signature Edition (1952, Olive, unrated, $20):
Running just 85 minutes, this taut western puts you in the shoes of a man who becomes increasingly desperate to beat the clock and stay alive. Gary Cooper stars as Sheriff Will Kane, who, on his wedding day discovers that a scoundrel he arrested years earlier is out of prison and hungry for revenge. With the outlaw set to arrive on the noon train, Cooper goes around town, asking for help from his “friends.” Help is not forthcoming and the mood around Hadleyville turns grim. More than five decades later, “High Noon” is still damn near perfect. Extras: featurettes.
Where The Sidewalk Ends (1950, Twilight Time, unrated, $30):
It’s amazing how much ground director Otto Preminger covers with this 95-minute thriller, now on Blu-ray. It’s a character study of a violent, troubled cop (Dana Andrews) who accidentally kills a thug (Craig Stevens) and then attempts to cover it up. It’s also a crackerjack procedural about a crew of crafty police officers solving the murder. And finally it’s a deeply affecting romance about Andrews becoming a better man under the influence of a loving woman (Gene Tierney). Like Preminger’s “Laura,” it’s a stunner. Extras: commentary.
Angel’s (Ben Hardy) mutation gave him large wings and the ability to fly. Angel’s agility, strength and reflexes make him a lethal hand-to-hand combatant.