There’s not a huge amount on offer this month but it varies from historical epics to true stories, to spinoffs from a galaxy far far away.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The high expectations set for the first Star Wars spinoff perhaps set it up for a bit of a loss. It does well with what it has, but is very much a small side dish to the main episodes.
Rogue One steps back into the era of the original trilogy, focusing on a small group (led by Felicity Jones’ Jin Erso) on a mission to steal the Death Star plans – thus occurring simultaneously with Luke’s adventures. It will no doubt be exciting for fans even just to be transported back to that same time and world, and be allowed to see it from a totally different view. It expands the Star Wars universe beyond the core characters we know and love, but doesn’t ever match the story or heart of the Episodes themselves. Some of the characters are a little lacking in substance, and the story is a little simple, although still carries the main familial themes of the franchise. The reappearance of old characters provides an extra layer of familiar warmth (even if a lot are digitally rendered). It will certainly take on a greater poignancy to fans in the wake of Carrie Fisher’s sad passing, and, even though it doesn’t reach the heights of the main episodes, earns its place in the Star Wars canon.
Is it worth a Blu-ray? For fans, no doubt, the spectacular explosions and otherworldly visuals are certainly worth it. Either way, a Blu-ray wouldn’t be a waste.
Read the full review: ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Review
Clint Eastwood’s retelling of ‘The Miracle on the Hudson’ – Captain ‘Sully’ Sullenberger’s (portrayed by Tom Hanks) incredible emergency water landing – isn’t quite as good as you might expect it to be. Then again, it is based solely on 208 seconds of disaster, so it would be forgiven for being a little thin on plot.
The film not only details the crash landing itself in a creative way – utilising a non-linear narrative effectively – but builds around it, the legal investigation to determine whether Sully’s movements were the only life-saving option, or if they, in fact, unnecessarily endangered the lives of the 155 souls on board.
The courtroom scenes show how frustrating the corporate sides can be in their ignorance of what the pilots really go through, as well as the ways being challenged can affect an individual’s certainty in themselves. The plane sequences are especially gripping – despite the fact that you know the outcome, and are scattered effectively throughout the running time in order to not weight the action solely in one place.
As would be expected, the acting is excellent, especially from Hanks (but what else would you expect), and the directing is more than assured (again, what else would you expect from Eastwood).
As a whole, it is an entertaining and engaging tribute to real life heroes, but doesn’t have quite enough meat on its bones.
Is it worth a Blu-ray? Most of this film takes place in hearing rooms, and the crash-landing remains with the characters, not the plane, so high-definition wouldn’t be especially worth it.
Read the full review: ‘Sully’ Review
The latest effort from Robert Zemeckis is a historical romantic epic, starring two Oscar-winning actors. Sadly, it never quite lives up to the sum of its parts.
The film centres on a Canadian intelligence officer (Brad Pitt) and French resistance fighter (Marion Cotillard), two World War II spies who fall in love whilst on a dangerous mission together. The real story begins, however, once they return home together after the war and suspicions arise as to whether Cotillard’s character is still an active double-agent, spying for the Germans. It is once the film reaches this plot point that it begins to pick up the pace after a slow first half (not helped by the lack of chemistry between two characters supposedly falling head over heels). There are some brilliant scenes and clever choices, but not enough to sustain a consistent quality. It is the intrigue of the story that carries a lot of the film, but the fact it will likely manage to evoke an emotional response in the end shows the film does have enough right to get you invested.
It makes for an entertaining couple of hours, and looks gorgeous, but is a little disappointing considering the epic that it could have been.
Is it worth a Blu-ray? It doesn’t quite reach the epic levels it strives for, and thus doesn’t necessitate a Blu-ray.
Read the full review: ‘Allied’ Review