Blu Tuesday: Logan 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.

“Logan”

Despite being the most popular character in the X-Men franchise, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine hasn’t had much luck when it comes to his solo outings. Though director James Mangold made half of a good film with “The Wolverine,” his second bite of the apple is a much-improved genre flick that finally gives the character his due. “Logan” may be a slower, more character-driven comic book movie, but it’s incredibly gritty and violent as well, easily earning its R rating with a handful of claw-slicing action sequences peppered throughout. While “Logan” certainly isn’t without its flaws (from the underwhelming villains to the overlong runtime), there’s enough great stuff here, including strong performances from Jackman and Patrick Stewart, to succeed both as a refreshing deviation from the typical superhero formula and a fitting end to Jackman’s remarkable 17-year run as Wolverine.

Extras include an audio commentary by director/co-writer James Mangold, a six-part making-of featurette, deleted scenes and a black-and-white version of the film titled “Logan: Noir.” FINAL VERDICT: RENT

“Get Out”

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut may not be what fans were expecting from the comedian, but it’s a clever and confident genre mashup that expertly blends suspense and humor with biting social commentary on race relations. Heavily influenced by horror films like “The Stepford Wives” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” “Get Out” keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout its intense 104-minute runtime, utilizing extreme close-ups and Michael Abels’ eerie musical score to build tension and create an unsettling atmosphere of paranoia that effectively puts you in the protagonist’s shoes. Though Daniel Kaluuya and the rest of the cast are all great in their roles, the movie’s true star is Peele himself, whose singular vision makes “Get Out” one film that you won’t soon forget.

Extras include an audio commentary by writer/director Jordan Peele, a making-of featurette, a cast and crew Q&A, and some deleted scenes. FINAL VERDICT: RENT

“The Great Wall”

Pairing one of Hollywood’s biggest stars (Matt Damon) with esteemed Chinese director Zhang Yimou might sound like an exciting idea on paper, but “The Great Wall” lacks the prestige that such a high-profile collaboration warrants. Though the film boasts some fantastic visuals and rousing action that’s entertaining in the moment, it’s a fairly generic monster movie (think “Starship Troopers” in Ancient China) that’s hindered by its formulaic and underdeveloped story. Yimou’s attempt to blend Western and Eastern sensibilities is admirable, but you can feel the strain as it tries to appease both audiences; it’s not bonkers enough and yet too silly to be taken seriously. Though it works just fine as a piece of mindless entertainment, “The Great Wall” should have been better considering the level of talent involved.

Extras include a series of behind-the-scenes featurettes on making the movie, a look at Matt Damon’s experience filming in China and deleted scenes. FINAL VERDICT: RENT

“Rock Dog”

Based on the graphic novel by Chinese rock star Zheng Jun, this Chinese-American co-production is every bit as generic as it looks, from the second-rate animation to the clichéd story, which unabashedly borrows from “Kung Fu Panda,” “Ratatouille” and other animated films. It’s hard to believe that director Ash Brannon got his start at Pixar, because not a single ounce of ingenuity can be found within this mediocre kid’s flick. (How he managed to convince bands like Radiohead and the Foo Fighters to license their music is a mystery). Granted, there are much worse movies out there than “Rock Dog,” but while it may keep your child distracted on a rainy afternoon, the chances that they’ll ask to watch it again are about as good as the film’s lone original song – which is to say, not very good at all.

Extras include a making-of featurette, as well as additional featurettes on casting, the music and the animation process. FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

  

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