Blu-Ray & DVD Reviews: ‘Batman v Superman,’ ‘Elvis & Nixon,’ ‘Demolition’

SALT LAKE CITY, July 19, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Three films are being released for home viewing on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download.

On March 25, “Batman v Superman” opened to a ton of critical backlash. Rotten Tomatoes rated the film at just 27 percent but the the superhero film earned $166 million its first weekend out.

The film, starring Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot, earned a domestic total of $330.3 million in and a global tally of $872.6 million in its 13-week run.

“Elvis & Nixon” was released April 22 and ran only three weeks in theaters. The film managed to earn $1.0 million in its abbreviated release, despite a 77 percent approval rate from Rotten Tomatoes.

And speaking of short stays in the theater, Jake Gyllenhaal’s “Demolition” opened April 8th and ran for just two weeks in theaters earning $1.9 million. The critics were almost split evenly on the film as Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 52 percent rating.

The Reviews:

Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Jesse Eisenberg
Rated PG-13

Following his titanic struggle against General Zod, Metropolis has been razed to the ground and Superman is the most controversial figure in the world.

As far as Bruce Wayne is concerned, Superman is clearly a danger to society. He fears for the future of the world with such a reckless power left ungoverned, so he dons his mask and cape to right Superman’s wrongs.

The rivalry between them is furious, fueled by bitterness and vengeance, and nothing can dissuade them from waging this war.

“Batman v Superman” is a darker film than expected. It clearly is the route most of the superhero films are taking.

There’s lots of pathos, lots of rage and lots of lashing out. Some parts of the film do not make sense, and nag at the viewer.

The two heroes grapple with each other, but there’s really nothing to keep the battle going other than the producers thinking an elongated battle was good for box office. Honestly, despite erstwhile acting on everyone’s part, the film never involves the audience. And that’s the big flaw.

“Batman v Superman” is a good movie, but not the great film we all expected to see. It needed more humanity and humor to underline the edginess of the film.

It gets a C and is rated PG-13.

Elvis & Nixon
Starring: Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon
Rated R

This is based on the true story, when the King of Rock ‘n Roll showed up in 1970 on the lawn of the White House to request a meeting with the most powerful man in the world, President Richard Nixon.

The film is all about the acting. Michael Shannon takes on the role of Elvis and offers us a beautifully nuanced performance without going into an impersonation or overacting.

Likewise is Kevin Spacey’s Nixon. Spacey manages to capture Nixon’s mannerisms, speech patterns and gestures without going overboard.

The combination is truly captivating, and makes the film very watchable, with some wonderfully humorous moments as well as some thought-provoking dialogue.

“Elvis & Nixon” gets a solid B and is rated R.

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts
Rated R

As an investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash, his increasingly confessional series of letters to a vending machine company catch the attention of a customer service rep with whom he forms an unlikely connection.

The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2007 Blacklist of the “most liked” unmade scripts of the year. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper.

Ultimately, “Demolition” falls into that category of movie about people who just need to feel something — much like “American Beauty”.

The script seems to be working overtime to jerk tears, and several scenes feel like attempts at shock value that leave the audience feeling unsettled. Gyllenhaal portrays both humor and heart in his character, and disappears into the role.

The object here is clearly to rip his character apart and rebuild him from the pieces. The result is perhaps the best Gyllenhaal performance to date.

Despite Gyllenhaal’s great performance, I don’t think this is a film audiences will glean much enjoyment from.

The film is rated R and I give it a C.


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