Blu Tuesday: Heat 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.

“Heat: Director’s Definitive Edition”

Michael Mann’s 1995 crime thriller is one of the best films in the genre, and it’s aged remarkably well in the 20-plus years since its release. Though the movie is perhaps best known for the iconic diner sequence between stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, whose cat-and-mouse tension permeates the entire film despite only sharing two scenes together, “Heat” has so many memorable moments (including the opening heist and the climactic shootout) that it continues to be imitated to this day. Although there’s nothing different about the director’s cut featured here than the one that appears on the 2009 Blu-ray (for all intents and purpose, this is the official version of the movie), the new 4K remaster that was supervised by Mann is such a treat that it makes this rerelease a must-own for diehard fans.

Extras include an audio commentary by director Michael Mann, a three-part making-of featurette, the 2016 Academy panel with the cast and crew, a Q&A from the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival, deleted scenes and more. FINAL VERDICT: BUY

“Divorce: The Complete First Season”

HBO isn’t quite the domineering force that it once was, due in part to the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, so it’s hardly a surprise that the pay channel has tried to recapture its foothold on the TV landscape by welcoming back one of its former stars. Unfortunately, while it’s nice to see Sarah Jessica Parker delving into darker material, there’s very little to enjoy about “Divorce.” In trying to mine humor out of a messy situation, the show just feels sad and misanthropic instead, especially in the way that it sides with Parker’s character by making everyone else that much more idiotic and horrible. Though Thomas Hayden Church earns some laughs as Parker’s doofus husband, “Divorce” is lacking the necessary emotion to make you care about what happens to either of them.

Extras include audio commentaries on three episodes with star Sarah Jessica Parker, executive producer Paul Simms and writers Tom Scharpling and Adam Resnick. FINAL VERDICT: RENT

“Fifty Shades Darker”

The first installment in Universal’s “Fifty Shades” trilogy may not have been very good, but it at least made a concentrated effort to add a little class to its otherwise trashy source material. When the movie underperformed, however, author EL James was able to wrestle more control over the franchise (like hiring husband Niall Leonard to take over scripting duties), resulting in a sequel that’s so much worse. “Fifty Shades Darker” is melodramatic garbage of the highest degree that forces decent actors like Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan (who look as interested as their contracts obligate them to be) to deliver cringeworthy, soap opera-quality dialogue. The sex scenes still aren’t very sexy and the story is almost nonexistent, but at least there’s more to laugh at this time around, which is about the only thing this film has going for it.

Extras include a series of behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes and a sneak peek of the final installment. FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

  

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