Blu Tuesday: The Hunger Games and Daddy’s Home

Every Tuesday, I review the newest Blu-ray releases and let you know whether they’re worth buying, renting or skipping, along with a breakdown of the included extras. If you see something you like, click on the cover art to purchase the Blu-ray from Amazon, and be sure to share each week’s column on Facebook and Twitter with your friends.

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2”

WHAT: After Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) sneaks into the Capitol against direct orders, she’s assigned to a specialized military unit, which also includes Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and a mentally unstable Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), to shoot more propaganda videos on the war-torn streets of the city. But Katniss has other plans – namely, to assassinate President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and end the fighting once and for all.

WHY: Amid the glut of YA book-to-film adaptations, “The Hunger Games” has always stood head and toe above the competition. That’s what makes “Mockingjay: Part 2” such a hard pill to swallow, because while it seemed like the stage was set for an exciting finale after the tedious third installment, it’s yet another incredibly slow burn that underlines just how bad the final book is in Suzanne Collins’ dystopian saga. Apart from a couple well-staged action sequences, the movie never really gets going. It hits all the major moments within Collins’ grim novel, but there’s very little emotion to it, as if director Francis Lawrence is just ticking off boxes as he goes along. Even Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t appear particularly enthused about having to slog through this downer of a finale, and it’s hard to blame her, because instead of going out on a high note like the franchise and its loyal fans deserved, my first thought when the film ended was, “Thank God it’s finally over.”

EXTRAS: In addition to an audio commentary by director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson, there’s an eight-part making-of documentary, a behind-the-scenes look at the “Hunger Games” exhibition and more.


“Daddy’s Home”

WHAT: Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell) has always dreamed of being a father, and ever since marrying the lovely Sara (Linda Cardellini), he’s gone above and beyond to win the affection of her two children. But when their deadbeat biological father Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) suddenly arrives in town looking to make up for lost time, the two men engage in a battle of wits to prove who is the better dad.

WHY: “Daddy’s Home” is one of the worst studio comedies in recent years – it’s lazy, unfunny and so farfetched that even the few sincere moments ring false. After all, this is a movie where Will Ferrell’s mild-mannered stepdad crashes a motorcycle through the second story of his house and somehow walks away with barely a scratch. It’s a completely ridiculous gag that treats violence like a “Looney Tunes” cartoon, and the film only goes downhill from there. Though Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg worked really well together in Adam McKay’s “The Other Guys,” the decision to pit them against each other as adversaries isn’t as effective, squandering their natural chemistry. The supporting cast doesn’t fare any better, although Hannibal Burress does earn a few laughs as a laidback handyman who becomes an honorary member of the family. Unfortunately, that’s about all the movie has to offer, because while there’s definitely a good comedy to be made from such a relatable premise, “Daddy’s Home” is a big swing and a miss.

EXTRAS: The Blu-ray release includes a making-of featurette, a series of additional featurettes that focus on specific elements of the film, and some deleted scenes.



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