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.
WHAT: When he wakes up in a hospital in Florence, Italy with no memory of the last 48 hours, famed symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) must team up with Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) to stop the release of a deadly virus created by an American billionaire (Ben Foster) who believes that the only way to solve the world’s overpopulation problem is through mass genocide.
WHY: Just when you thought that the Robert Langdon franchise was dead, Ron Howard and Tom Hanks have teamed up again for another installment based on the fourth (and latest) book in Dan Brown’s ongoing series. Why the studio chose to adapt “Inferno” over 2009’s “The Lost Symbol,” we may never know, but this is easily the worst installment to date. The opening 30 minutes is an overdirected mess of bright lights, quick cuts and hazy visions that’s meant to simulate the effects of Langdon’s amnesia but only proves to be incredibly annoying. Though it’s refreshing to see Langdon out of his element for once (even if the idea that he can remember obscure facts and not the word for “coffee” is as ridiculous as some of the film’s major plot turns), it also defeats the purpose of going to see a Robert Langdon adventure. Hanks and Felicity Jones are both fine in their roles, but between the lack of a compelling villain and the absurdity of the story itself, “Inferno” is a dull reminder why this franchise never really took off.
EXTRAS: The Blu-ray release includes six featurettes on the film’s main characters, director Ron Howard and location shooting, as well as some deleted scenes.
FINAL VERDICT: SKIP
WHAT: While living on a remote island off the coast of Australia, lighthouse keeper Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) and his wife Isabel (Alicia Vikander) rescue a baby from a drifting rowboat and decide to raise it as their own. Wracked with guilt over his failure to report the incident, Tom upends their perfect life when he anonymously contacts the baby’s real mother (Rachel Weisz).
WHY: Derek Cianfrance was hailed as one of the most promising young directors in Hollywood after 2010’s “Blue Valentine,” and while he continued to build on that potential with “The Place Beyond the Pines,” his latest movie represents a major step back. Although it boasts strong performances from Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz, “The Light Between Oceans” is a melodramatic slog that’s neither as emotional nor engaging as it intends to be. Based on M.L. Stedman’s debut novel of the same name, “The Light Between Oceans” deals with some pretty heavy themes like guilt, forgiveness and the things we do for love, but it doesn’t dig deep enough into its characters’ psyches to leave much of a lasting impression. The first hour is sluggish, detailing Tom and Isabel’s courtship and ensuing miscarriages, while the latter half basically asks the audience to sympathize with a pair of kidnappers. Obviously, there’s more to the story than that, but Cianfrance doesn’t do enough with it to make you care.
EXTRAS: In addition to an audio commentary by writer/director Derek Cianfrance, there’s a pair of featurettes on making the film and the Cape Campbell Lighthouse.
FINAL VERDICT: SKIP