'Lone Survivor' ***
Like the first 20 minutes of "Saving Private Ryan," "Lone Survivor," based on a true story, is unflinching, bloody and brutal in showing four Navy SEALs under barbaric attack in the mountains of Afghanistan.
It's an exceptional tale of brotherhood, sacrifice, physical and mental endurance and the cost of doing the right thing.
Director-writer Peter Berg was guided by retired Petty Officer 1st Class Marcus Luttrell, who chronicled his story in the 2007 book "Lone Survivor." Operation Red Wing has four Navy SEALs -- Petty Officer Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), Lt. Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), 2nd Class Petty Officer Matthew "Axe" Axelson (Ben Foster) and Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz Jr. (Emile Hirsch) -- heading into a remote mountainous region in the Kunar province near the Pakistan border to capture or kill a Taliban leader believed to be nearby.
None of them counts on accidentally running into three goat herders. The Americans, unable to reach their commanders hours and miles away, figure they have three choices: Kill the civilians (an old man, a boy and what appears to be a teen) and pursue their original target, responsible for killing 20 Marines the previous week; tie up the strangers and leave them to freeze to death in the mountains; or let them go and risk the Taliban discovering their position.
After briefly debating their options -- and mindful of the penalties and inflammatory "SEALs kill kids" headlines they could ignite --- they follow the rules of engagement, free the Afghans and seal their fate.
When the Americans are attacked by 50 enemy anti-coalition militia fighters, they are outmanned, outgunned and outmaneuvered for the high ground.
Almost everything that can go wrong does, although "Lone Survivor" demonstrates the unwillingness of the SEALs to give up on themselves, on each other, on the battle.
In some ways, "Lone Survivor" is as difficult to watch as "12 Years a Slave," with enough strong bloody war violence and pervasive language to easily merit its R rating. Mr. Wahlberg has never been better, and he is ably supported by his co-stars in this reminder that war is still hell.
Rated R for strong bloody war violence and pervasive language.
Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette and Operation Red Wings profile. Blu-ray adds profile of Mr. Luttrell and featurettes on the firefight, the Pashtun code of life and basic SEAL training for the four lead actors.
This remake and update of 1987's "RoboCop" is set in 2028 when Detroit is (as in the original) crime ridden. The defense company OmniCorp has grown rich selling robots, drones and other metallic fighters.
But OmniCorp, led by CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton), has yet to crack the U.S. market, which could bring an additional $600 billion in revenue. He comes up with the idea of putting a man inside a machine, and the perfect candidate emerges when a seasoned, honest police officer, husband and father Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is gravely injured in a fiery explosion. Alex is reconstituted and reborn, although his body is more machine than man.
"RoboCop," directed by Brazilian-born Jose Padilha, sacrifices much of the family part of the story in the interest of more action, with Jackie Earle Haley as an ex-military operative who derisively calls Alex "Tin Man," and a weakly developed plot about corruption in various corners of the city.
Mr. Keaton and Gary Oldman are as solid (without resorting to mustache-twirling villainy) as ever, and Samuel L. Jackson electrifies in a small role as a TV gadfly.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality and some drug material.
Blu-ray extras include deleted scenes, a making-of short and other featurettes.
'Son of God'
Is it possible to love Jesus and not like "Son of God"? That's the slightly discomfiting question some viewers might face upon seeing the feature film, presented by producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett as a condensed form of their 2013 History Channel miniseries, "The Bible."
Still, "Son of God" is nothing if not sincere, its earnest retelling of Jesus' life story resembling a gentle, pop-up book version of the New Testament, its text re-enacted for maximum reassurance and intellectual ease. After a brief scene at the manger, the film focuses on his teachings as an adult.
Contains violence. Extras include a behind-the-scenes peek at life on set, making-of videos, cast, producer and director interviews, a "Christians Today" featurette, a "Jesus for a New Generation" featurette, a photo booklet, and a Spanish-language version.
-- The Washington Post
Other DVDs also being released this week:
"Breaking Bad: The Complete Series": All 62 uncut episodes of this amazing cable series about a high school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin is available in this set. If the outstanding writing, cinematography and acting aren't reason enough to own the set, the 16-disc Blu-ray set features about 55 hours of content, including the "No Half Measures: Creating the Final Season of Breaking Bad" documentary that chronicles the making of the final season from the first table read to the last day on set.
"In the Blood": Gina Carano plays a trained fighter with a dark past.
"We Always Lie to Strangers": A look at life in the Branson entertainment world.
"The New Adventures of Superman Seasons 2 & 3": The Man of Steel continues to conquer the world's villains.
"Valentine Road": Documentary looks at school shooting that took the life of a gay teen.
"Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Fourth Season": Hits stores in time for the season five premiere on ABC Family.
"Barbary Coast": William Shatner plays an undercover agent patrolling the streets of 1880s San Francisco.
"Graceland: Season 1": Cable series about an FBI agent assigned to an undercover team based in a Los Angeles beachfront mansion.
"Rawhide: The Eighth and Final Season": It's the end of the road for the Clint Eastwood series.
"The Pretty One": Zoe Kazan stars in this tale of self-discovery and empowerment.
"Workaholics: Season Four": Comedy Central series about very different employees.
"Power Rangers Turbo, Volume 2": Power Rangers battle Divatox.
"New Tricks, Season 10": Semi-retired curmudgeons solve cold cases.
"The Nutty Professor": Jerry Lewis film is being released as a "50th Anniversary Collector's Edition."
"The Adventures of Batman": Animated series first broadcast as part of "The Batman/Superman Hour" in 1968.
"Breaking Through": A look at the journeys of openly LGBT elected officials.
-- Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee
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