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.
Contrary to what some people have suggested, M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film isn’t much of a comeback at all. Instead, it’s yet another case of the premise being better than the final product. A psychological thriller that’s largely devoid of actual thrills, “Split” owes much of its success to James McAvoy, who gets a chance to flex his acting muscles as a man with 23 distinct personalities. Though we only see a handful of them in action, each one is so unique (from their voices to their mannerisms) that it’s amazing to watch as McAvoy jumps back and forth between them, sometimes in the same scene. Unfortunately, Shyamalan’s inability to get out of his own way prevents “Split” from fulfilling its full potential, despite a killer last-minute twist that will excite fans of his early work.
Extras include a making-of featurette, profiles on actor James McAvoy and writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, an alternate ending and deleted scenes. FINAL VERDICT: RENT
It’s no surprise that John Lee Hancock’s “The Founder” has garnered comparisons to “The Social Network,” but while there are definitely similarities between the two films, the former doesn’t even come close to rivaling David Fincher’s Oscar-winning drama. Though the story behind McDonald’s is fascinating on its own, the movie is an aggressively mediocre biopic that feels like it’s just going through the motions. Michael Keaton does a fine job as Ray Kroc – the perpetual loser who struck it big when he transformed a small yet successful burger joint in San Bernardino, California into a fast food empire – and the same goes for the rest of the cast, but between its unlikable protagonist and bland storytelling, “The Founder” is as forgettable as eating at McDonald’s.
Extras include behind-the-scenes featurettes on the story, characters and production design, as well as a press conference with the cast and crew. FINAL VERDICT: RENT
Swiss director Baran bo Odar’s English-language debut is a dull and cliché-ridden remake of the 2011 French crime thriller “Sleepless Nights” that fails to rise above its B-movie trappings. Fueled by an absurd chain of events involving an undercover cop, some stolen drugs and the internal affairs officer on his trail, “Sleepless” tries so hard to imitate peak Michael Mann that bo Odar even resorts to aping the director’s trademark visual style. Though the movie improves considerably in the latter half thanks to a handful of bruising fight sequences, it’s not enough to save it from the messy storytelling and uninterested cast. Jamie Foxx was undoubtedly hoping to get his career back on track with this no-nonsense genre flick, but it’s yet another disappointment in a string of recent flops.
Extras include a making-of featurette and deleted scenes. FINAL VERDICT: SKIP