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 Facebook and Twitter with your friends.
WHAT: U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) is reassigned from Miami to his childhood home – the poor, coal-mining town of Harlan, Kentucky – where he faces off against a group of backwoods criminals, including Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), a smooth-talking outlaw who will lie, steal and cheat his way to the top of the food chain.
WHY: “Justified” is one of those shows that never really got the credit (or the audience) it deserved, because it’s a sharply written and well-acted neo-Western that managed to pull off what most series have failed to do: stick the landing. Though it started out as a more formulaic, crime of the week-type drama, “Justified” evolved into something much richer over the years by focusing on the relationship between Raylan and Boyd, two men who grew up under similar circumstances but ended up on different sides of the law. Both Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins deliver strong, well-rounded performances in their respective roles, but while it would be difficult to imagine the show without either of them, the supporting cast is just as important, especially Nick Searcy as Givens’ crusty boss, Jacob Pitts and Erica Tazel as fellow Marshalls, and Joelle Carter as Boyd’s fiancée/partner in crime. The rotating cast of guest stars is also impressive, adding to the series’ rich tapestry of down-and-dirty hillbillies, criminals and lawmen to create a lived-in world that feels more genuine than just about anything else on television. The fact that “Justified” was able to maintain its high quality throughout all six seasons is pretty extraordinary, but it’s also one of the few shows to produce a satisfying series finale, and that definitely earns it a spot among the TV drama elite.
EXTRAS: In addition to the previously released bonus material (consisting of audio commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes and outtakes), there’s an additional disc of all-new extras that includes a look at making the final season, a tour of the writer’s room with creator Graham Yost, the cast and crew’s favorite moments and a gag reel. The box set also comes packaged with a branded flask to carry around your own personal supply of (hopefully not poisoned) apple pie moonshine.
FINAL VERDICT: BUY
WHAT: After discovering a pin that magically transports her to a futuristic world called Tomorrowland, science prodigy Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) teams up with cranky inventor Frank Weller (George Clooney) – who was exiled from there as a young boy – to return to Tomorrowland in order to save Earth from its impending destruction.
WHY: Director Brad Bird certainly didn’t do himself any favors by shrouding “Tomorrowland” in so much secrecy, although it’s easy to see why, because the movie doesn’t really appeal to any particular audience. It’s too grown-up for kids, while most adults will have a difficult time buying into its childlike idealism. The film also happens to be incredibly boring, bogged down by a bloated runtime and unnecessary opening sequence that could have easily been addressed with a few lines of dialogue. It feels like Bird and co-writer Damon Lindelof created the titular world first, and then tried to build a story around it, because “Tomorrowland” doesn’t always make sense. In fact, while the movie features several flashbacks and large chunks of exposition designed to do exactly that, the purpose of Casey and Frank’s adventure is never totally clear. There are some fun set pieces along the way, and youngsters Britt Robertson and Raffey Cassidy make up for George Clooney’s lifeless performance, but there’s very little payoff. After all, for a film that generates so much excitement and mystery around Tomorrowland, you’d think the audience would get to spend more time there.
EXTRAS: There’s a trio of featurettes on production, casting and the score, as well as director Brad Bird’s video diaries, deleted scenes, a faux children’s TV program hosted by Hugh Laurie’s character, an animated short about Tomorrowland and more.
FINAL VERDICT: SKIP