Blu Tuesday: Thanks for Sharing and Badges of Fury

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.

“Thanks for Sharing”

WHAT: The film follows the intersecting lives of three men in various stages of sex addiction recovery, including eco-friendly businessman Adam (Mark Ruffalo), his dedicated sponsor Mike (Tim Robbins) and unmotivated newcomer Neil (Josh Gad).

WHY: Sex addiction is a tricky topic, which is probably why so few movies have been made on the subject. But whereas 2011’s “Shame” took a darker look at the effects of sex addiction, writer/director Stuart Blumberg’s “Thanks for Sharing” is more interested in the recovery phase. As you might expect from a film with that title, and written by the same guy behind the dialogue-heavy “The Kids Are All Right,” this is a very talky movie that relies more than usual on its actors to drive the story. Luckily, Blumberg’s directorial debut is buoyed by solid performances from top to bottom (including good work from Mark Ruffalo and Patrick Fugit), even if it’s more concerned with drilling the recovery program’s philosophies into your head like some self-help video than developing its character. It deserves credit for its stark honesty, however, refusing to pull any punches or let its characters off the hook too easily, and that goes a long way in not only creating a realistic story, but one that’s more enjoyable than its subject matter might suggest.

EXTRAS: In addition to an audio commentary by writer/director Stuart Blumberg and co-writer Matt Winston, the Blu-ray includes a making-of featurette, some deleted/extended scenes and a gag reel.

FINAL VERDICT: RENT

“Badges of Fury”

WHAT: Following a series of related murders, Hong Kong detectives Wang Bu Er (Zhang Wen) and Huang Fei Hong (Jet Li) are assigned to the case. When they learn that all of the victims previously dated budding actress Liu Jin Shui (Shishi Liu), Bu Er agrees to go undercover as her new boyfriend to reveal the identity of the killer.

WHY: With the exception of the “Expendables” films, Jet Li hasn’t appeared in a Hollywood production since 2008, instead choosing to focus on making movies in his homeland of China. But while fans were excited at the prospect of what Li’s return would mean for the Hong Kong film industry, no one could have imagined that it would result in a movie as shockingly bad as “Badges of Fury.” Perfectly described as a “cruel trick” by fellow critic Rob Hunter, the film isn’t the gritty crime thriller that its promotional materials would lead you to believe, but rather an incredibly goofy (think “Naked Gun”) action comedy filled to the brim with childish slapstick humor. To make matters worse, the veteran action star is a supporting character at best, missing for large stretches of the movie, despite the fact that he’s proudly displayed as its star. That wouldn’t be so bad if the film was any good, but it’s unbearable to watch, dragged down by spotty acting, terrible CGI and cartoony sound effects. Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves, but no one more than Li.

EXTRAS: There’s a making-of featurette and additional behind the scenes footage.

FINAL VERDICT: SKIP

  

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