Blu Tuesday: Jack Reacher 2 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.

“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back”

The first Jack Reacher movie may have underperformed at the box office, but it would’ve been a shame if that had marked the end of the character’s cinematic adventures. Granted, “Never Go Back” isn’t as much fun as its 2012 predecessor, but the film still succeeds thanks to Tom Cruise’s charismatic turn as the badass ex-military man. Though the family dynamic between Reacher, Cobie Smulders’ framed army major and Danika Yarosh’s feisty teenager allows Cruise to explore the character’s emotional side, this particular story would have been better saved for a future installment. After all, Jack Reacher is at his best when he’s working alone, and while “Never Go Back” features some great Reacher moments, it fails to make a strong enough case for continuing the series.

Extras include six featurettes that cover topics like shooting on location in Louisiana, filming the rooftop battle, on-set photography and more. FINAL VERDICT: RENT

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Dry Herbs, Waxes and Oils: Top Tips for Choosing the Right Vape Device for You

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If you are one of the millions of people who are turning to e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking traditional tobacco, then you may have a few questions. There’s plenty of things you should know so that you choose the right vape device and accessories to enjoy the experience.

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4 Life Stressors That May Cause You to Turn to Substance Abuse

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The challenges of life can become overwhelming at times. Regardless of what your individual situation may be, you may feel that life is simply too much at different stages. It can be tough to get different circumstances without feeling the need to have something to lean on in the process. Many individuals turn to drugs to help cope with these things, and it’s ideal to know what some of the top stressors in life may be.

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Never Miss a Game: Best Baseball Apps for Armchair Athletes and Season Ticket Holders

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Baseball has a timeless appeal. However, today’s fans need to use time wisely to get scores, scoops and inside analysis. Yesterday’s fans relied on the reporting of mainstream radio and television stations. Season tickets are expensive and driving long distances wears on the car. Today, baseball fans leverage a number of apps so they never miss a game despite sitting in their home armchair.

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2016 Holiday Gift Guide: Television

Television fans must love the holidays, because it’s the one time of year when studios unleash a host of massive box sets collecting their favorite dramas and comedies. But while we like to devour an entire TV show just as quickly as the next person, sometimes a little self-discipline is required, which is why we’ve devoted most of this year’s guide to some less time-consuming (and more affordable) suggestions. If you don’t find anything for your friends and family here, a Netflix gift card works just as well.

Click the links within the write-ups to purchase each product online, and check back throughout the week for more additions to our Holiday Gift Guide.

American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson

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There’s been a lot of great television this year, and FX’s “American Crime Story” is right up there at the top. Though most people of a certain age remember the media circus surrounding the so-called Trial of the Century, “The People v. O.J. Simpson” manages to feel like an entirely fresh experience, revealing things about the case you may not have known before while also recapturing all the infamous moments. Told largely from the perspective of the lawyers, the show examines topics like race, gender, celebrity and the criminal justice system and how each one affected the outcome of the trial. There’s hardly a dull moment throughout the show’s debut season, including the excellent bottle episode “A Jury in Jail,” which details the mental and physical strain placed on the jurors throughout the lengthy court case. At its core, however, “American Crime Story” is just a really excellent actor’s showcase that features award-worthy performances by Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Vance and Sterling K. Brown, among others. The series is so engrossing and expertly cast that it’s like watching the murder trial all over again, only this time, with an unrestricted view of the chaos and drama.

The Night Of

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The Night Of” was originally supposed to star James Gandolfini before the actor’s untimely death, but within the first few episodes of the HBO limited series, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than John Turturro in the role. The veteran character actor is so riveting as the down-on-his-luck attorney that it seems a near-certainty he’ll walk away with an Emmy for his performance. He’s that good, and the same could be said for the rest of the cast, including co-star Riz Ahmed and supporting players like Bill Camp, Michael Kenneth Williams and Peyman Moaadi. However, what really elevates “The Night Of” beyond the typical crime drama is the superb writing by co-creators Richard Price and Steve Zaillian, which delivers a probing examination of the systemic problems in the U.S. criminal justice system (from the police, to the prisons, to the lawyers) and how one crime can affect the lives of not only the accused but the people connected to them as well. Though the actual investigation feels a bit rushed, and the series doesn’t hit as many highs in the later episodes, “The Night Of” is an excellent piece of filmmaking that challenges the way we watch television and tell stories.

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