Saving Mr. Banks (Blu-Ray)
The story of how Walt Disney courted P.L. Travers into letting him option the rights to Mary Poppins is brought to the screen in this non-fiction drama starring Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, and Colin Farrell. A doting father, Walt Disney Hanks promises his adoring daughters that he will bring their favorite fictional nanny Mary Poppins to the big screen. Little does Walt realize that surly author P.L. Travers has no intention of seeing her most famous creation bastardized for moviegoers, a fact that makes keeping his promise a difficult endeavor. Years later, however, when Travers' book sales begin to slow, dwindling finances drive her to schedule a meeting with Disney to discuss the film rights to the beloved story.
Craig Thompson's idyllic hunting trip with his two buddies and unstable cousin is wrecked after hearing that his fiancé and best man-to-be have been cavorting behind his back. To make matters worse, his cousin appears on the verge of a murderous rampage while a rapidly-spreading Chupacabra virus is turning locals into the undead. After shooting the ranch owner, drugging the Game Warden, and narrowly escaping an insidious hillbilly gang led by British magnifico, Billy Ray, the boys must not only survive an impending zombie melee but each other. BUCK WILD turns the buddy comedy upside down while tearing zombies inside out in this tongue-in-cheek adventure through South Texas.
This baroque nightmare of a south-of-the-border mystery is considered to be one of the great movies of Orson Welles, who both directed and starred in it. On honeymoon with his new bride, Susan Janet Leigh, Mexican-born policeman Mike Vargas Charlton Heston agrees to investigate a bomb explosion. In so doing, he incurs the wrath of local police chief Hank Quinlan Welles, a corrupt, bullying behemoth with a perfect arrest record. Vargas suspects that Quinlan has planted evidence to win his past convictions, and he isn't about to let the suspect in the current case be railroaded. Quinlan, whose obsession with his own brand of justice is motivated by the long-ago murder of his wife, is equally determined to get Vargas out of his hair, and he makes a deal with local crime boss Uncle Joe Grandi Akim Tamiroff to frame Susan on a drug rap, leading to one of the movie's many truly harrowing sequences.
Director Brian Percival's adaptation of the international best-seller The Book Thief is the kind of earnest, handsomely produced, well-meaning, tearjerking historical drama that brings to mind the lament voiced by the character of Clarence in Quentin Tarantino's script for True Romance -- that there are too many unwatchable movies made from unreadable books. While that sentence is assuredly too harsh for this picture, the sentiment behind it rings true. The film stars Sophie Nelisse as Liesel, who, as the story opens, is an 11-year-old girl living in Germany just before the start of World War II. Her mother is giving both Liesel and her younger brother up for adoption, but her sibling dies en route.
Neglecting Julie Frances McDormand, his lawyer lady friend, Dr. Peyton Westlake Liam Neeson works feverishly to perfect his latest invention -- artificial skin that could be used to treat burn victims. Peyton himself falls victim to an explosion when one of Julie's crooked clients sends his henchmen to sniff out an incriminating document that's been left in Westlake's lab. Hideously disfigured and left for dead, the good doctor receives an experimental medical treatment that renders him super-strong, impervious to pain and prone to heightened fits of rage. Rebuilding his lab into an underground hideout, Westlake begins using his synthetic skin to impersonate various characters and engineer his revenge against those who destroyed his life. Reconnecting with Julie, however, becomes the unsightly vigilante's biggest challenge.
This film was one of the more mainstream offerings in the array of films that emphasized the overly hyped "Generation X" phenomenon, a list that ranges from Slacker to Singles and includes a host of other films. Winona Ryder stars as Lelaina, a recent college graduate. Out on her own and independent from her supportive, but out-of-touch parents, Lelaina faces the realities of careers and relationships. She can't stand her internship under a local television personality John Mahoney, and she's forced to choose between Michael Ben Stiller, a well-intentioned music-video network executive, and Troy Ethan Hawke, a brooding, sensitive slacker. Meanwhile, she must also protect the artistic integrity of "Reality Bites," a video documentary that depicts the everyday lives of her friends Hawke, Janeane Garofalo, and Steve Zahn.