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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.
“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”
WHAT: In 2003, cable news producer Kim Baker (Tina Fey) leaves behind her banal, dead-end life in New York to accept a daring assignment covering the war in Afghanistan. Dropped into a chaotic war zone without the comforts of home, Kim befriends a fellow female reporter (Margot Robbie) and a charming photojournalist (Martin Freeman) to help navigate her strange new surroundings.
WHY: Based on journalist Kim Barker’s 2011 memoir, “The Taliban Shuffle,” about her experiences reporting in Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2004-2009, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is a tonally confused war satire that struggles to find the right balance between drama and comedy. This isn’t the first movie of its kind to run into that problem, but it handles the juggling of the two genres better than most thanks to a solid script by Tina Fey’s longtime writing partner, Robert Carlock (“30 Rock,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), and some deft direction by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (“Crazy Stupid Love”). Though the decision to cast non-Afghan actors in prominent roles is disappointing, Christopher Abbott’s local fixer, and the relationship he forms with Kim, is one of the best things about the film. (Alfred Molina’s government official is more problematic, although that has more to do with the character itself than who’s playing him.) “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is equally as hit-and-miss on the whole, but it’s nonetheless a fun if slight tragicomedy that benefits greatly from its talented cast.
EXTRAS: The Blu-ray release includes a behind-the-scenes look at making the movie, four additional featurettes and some deleted scenes.
After falling behind 3-1 to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, it seemed like the Cleveland Cavaliers fell into an insurmountable hole that they would not be able to climb out of. Then LeBron James flipped the switch. 32 teams tried, and 32 teams have failed. Until now. The Cleveland Cavaliers are the first team to overcome this daunting deficit and are now NBA champions. It feels like a dream.
King James fulfilled his promise and delivered Cleveland their first professional championship in 52 years while leading all players in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. And in the closeout game, LeBron got the best of Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors by finishing with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. It was his 16th career playoff triple-double and his seventh in the NBA Finals. He was also awarded the Finals MVP for the third time, but not before making the biggest block heard around the world. With the game tied at 89, Andre Iguodala had an open layup and James had his signature moment. He chased down the play from behind and out of nowhere pined the ball against the backboard preventing the Warriors from taking the lead. After a Kyrie Irving 3-pointer and Steph Curry missed 3-pointer, LeBron James sealed the game at the free thrown line and the Cavs become World Champions. Cleveland has endured The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot and The Move, but now that is all forgotten because of The Block.
With the Cleveland Cavaliers losing the first two games of the NBA Finals by a combined 48 points, everyone has already written their eulogies and buried the Cavaliers. It’s crazy how fast things change in the NBA. Not too long ago, the Warriors were down three games to one to the Oklahoma City Thunder and everyone had prematurely punched the Thunder’s ticket into the NBA Finals.
LeBron has climbed out of an 0-2 series hole before and can do it again. In 2007, the Cavs lost the first two games on the road to the Detroit Pistons, and in Game 3 of that series, King James scored 32 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and shot 57% from the field. He then went on to average 31.3 points for the rest of the series and the Cavs went onto win that series and advanced to their first NBA Finals.
After the Golden State Warriors came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, it set the stage for a rematch in the NBA Finals that everybody wanted to see. The Cleveland Cavaliers breezed through the first two rounds of the playoffs, sweeping the Detroit Pistons and the Atlanta Hawks, before finishing off the Toronto Raptors in six games. The road wasn’t as easy for the defending champion Golden State Warriors after completing the best regular season in NBA history.
No disrespect to Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder, but this is the best match-up for the NBA. It’s the top seed from each conference, it has the revenge factor from last season, and it will feature the best player in the NBA, LeBron James, and the league’s back-to-back MVP in Steph Curry. Together, they have won six of the last eight MVP awards, and three of the last four championships.