Blu Tuesday: Star Trek Beyond, Bad Moms and More

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 social media with your friends.

“Star Trek Beyond”

WHAT: When the USS Enterprise is ambushed by Krall (Idris Elba), a ruthless enemy with a personal grudge against the Federation, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his crew are separated on a hostile planet. With the help of a rebellious alien warrior named Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), the crew must reunite in time to stop Krall from destroying a nearby Federation outpost.

WHY: After all the criticism surrounding “Star Trek Into Darkness,” it was probably time for the franchise to undergo a changing of the guard. But while director Justin Lin and writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung have returned the series to its television roots with “Star Trek Beyond,” it’s easily the weakest installment starring the new cast. That doesn’t mean the movie’s bad – in fact, quite the contrary – but while the decision to pair off the various crew members is a clever idea, it takes away from the group dynamic that worked so well in the first two films. Karl Urban, whose odd-couple pairing with Zachary Quinto’s Spock is the movie’s highlight, gets more to do as a result, but often at the expense of other characters like Sulu and Uhura. “Star Trek Beyond” also suffers from yet another forgettable villain, as well as some solid but unspectacular action. Although it’s still a satisfying addition to the “Star Trek” universe, the ensemble cast and Gene Roddenberry’s characters deserve better.

EXTRAS: There’s a series of featurettes on the writing process, filming in Dubai, production design and creature effects, a profile on Idris Elba’s villain, a tribute to Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin, deleted scenes, a gag reel and more.

FINAL VERDICT: RENT

“Bad Moms”

WHAT: After overworked and underappreciated mother Amy (Mila Kunis) has a public meltdown at a late-night PTA meeting, she befriends a pair of fellow mothers (Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell) who agree to be bad moms for once and have a little fun. But when her antics make an enemy of uptight PTA overlord Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate), Amy decides to challenge her presidency and alter the status quo.

WHY: From mall Santas, to school teachers, to spelling bee contestants, Hollywood has a penchant for bringing out the worst in people we don’t normally associate with bad behavior. But while the premise behind “Bad Moms” is certainly ripe for comedy, it’s not lewd enough to justify its title. “Bad Moms” is an R-rated raunch-com that’s surprisingly short on both raunch and comedy. In fact, filthy language aside, it’s really a PG-13 movie at heart, failing to push the boundaries as far as you’d expect from the guys who wrote “The Hangover.” The film sorely lacks the insight that a female voice would offer, though it’s not a complete letdown. When it focuses on the humor found in everyday situations or showcases its protagonists behaving badly, it can be quite fun, but there aren’t enough of these moments to compensate for the dry spells that occur in between. The main trio makes the movie a lot more watchable than it deserves to be, but between the flawed script and shortage of laughs, “Bad Moms” doesn’t make good on its promise.

EXTRAS: The Blu-ray release includes interviews with the cast and their real-life mothers, deleted scenes and a gag reel.

FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

“Imperium”

WHAT: When an illegally imported supply of caesium-137 goes missing in Virginia, young FBI agent Nate Foster (Daniel Radcliffe) is recruited by Angela Zamparo (Toni Collette) from the domestic terrorism unit to go undercover and infiltrate a white supremacist group that she suspects is planning to use the toxic materials to build a dirty bomb.

WHY: Daniel Radcliffe could have easily coasted on the success of the Harry Potter movies for the rest of his career, but instead, he’s made a concentrated effort to continually push himself as an actor, improving with each new role. Though “Swiss Army Man” will likely go down as his best reviewed movie of 2016, “Imperium” is a more accessible and enjoyable film that, despite falling victim to the same formula as most undercover cop thrillers, succeeds thanks to a strong performance from Radcliffe. Inspired by the real-life experiences of former FBI agent Michael German, who co-wrote the screenplay with first-time director Daniel Ragussis, “Imperium” is a tense and incredibly timely movie that finds much of its suspense in the high-wire act that Nate must perform in order to avoid blowing his cover. The movie is a little unrealistic at times (particularly in how quickly Nate rises up the ranks of the “movement”), but it’s a fairly gripping thriller that would work nicely as a double feature with “American History X.”

EXTRAS: There’s an audio commentary by director/co-writer Daniel Ragussis and co-writer Michael German, a pair of featurettes on production and the undercover lifestyle, and some cast and crew interviews.

FINAL VERDICT: RENT

“Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders”

WHAT: The Dynamic Duo’s greatest foes – The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler and Catwoman (Julie Newmar) – join forces to unleash a nefarious plot to take over Gotham City. But when Batman (Adam West) begins acting strangely after being drugged by Catwoman, Robin (Burt Ward) must team up with the two-timing supervillain to break the spell and save the day.

WHY: The “Batman ‘66” comic book series – which continues the adventures of the cult TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward – has been in publication for three years now, but for as fun as those stories may be, they’re unable to capture the show’s absurdity and cheesiness in all its glory. That’s why it was such a great idea to produce an animated film that would a) provide a better channel for its trademark gags, and b) open the door for the surviving cast to reprise their iconic characters one more time. Though Julie Newmar’s age definitely shows in her performance, it was a nice touch bringing back the actress, as well as West and Ward, whose careers have been defined by these roles. Despite its brisk 78-minute runtime, “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders” begins to run out of steam by the midway point, but between all the nods, inside jokes and villain cameos that director Rick Morales packs into the film, it’s an entertaining throwback that succeeds as a great piece of fan service and not much else.

EXTRAS: There’s a featurette on the voice cast and a look at how Batman’s most popular adversaries became pop culture icons.

FINAL VERDICT: RENT

  

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