New Blu-ray/DVD Releases (03/21/17) – Affleck as Gangster and Chastain as ‘Miss Sloane’

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This week, Ben Affleck goes behind the camera again and Jessica Chastain gives a tour de force performance in some of the films coming to Blu-ray and DVD. In addition, they’re part of a large group hitting shelves today, so let us dive right in!

PICK OF THE WEEK

Miss Sloane

Jessica Chastain owns the screen in this underseen political thriller. A sort of Aaron Sorkin-lite piece, Chastain is easily the highlight. Even when the film loses some of its steam, she remains a captivating presence. This is one of her best performances to date, which is really saying something. Here is what Clayton had to say in his rave review last year:

‘Miss Sloane’ crackles with excitement and performances. A riveting game of cat-and-mouse, standing toe-to-toe with other political machinery films of the last few decades. It unmasks the raw, honest truth of the system.

Chastain came up short in her quest for another Oscar nomination. Even so, this remains a must-see for fans of her brilliant work.

Special Features: N/A
Total Box Office: $3,500,605
Major Award: Nominated for Best Actress in a Drama (for Chastain) at the Golden Globes

Vintage Viewing

In honor of this week’s release of “Life,” we’re going to be citing the movie that clearly inspired this new one. Yes, it’s “Alien,” the granddaddy of spaceship-set horror films. It’s an undeniable masterpiece and something Ridley Scott has been trying to recapture for years. It just works. Variety has this to say about the classic:

An old-fashioned scary movie set in a highly realistic sci-fi future, made all the more believable by expert technical craftmanship.

You can’t go wrong with “Alien.”

Other Films Being Released

Here’s a look at what else is hitting shelves today, besides Chastain’s new film:

Assassin’s Creed

Once thought of as the video game movie to break the curse of video game movies, this instead wound up one of the worst releases of 2016. In addition, it wasted Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender, which is a cinematic crime. It was an embarrassment for all involved, as we wrote in this review on the site:

This version of ‘Assassin’s Creed’ is the worst possible one that could have hit screens. Equal parts ridiculous and self serious, it’s a complete misfire.

Avoid it at all costs.

Box Office: $54,647,948

Fire at Sea

This Academy Award-nominated documentary is about as timely as it gets these days. Here’s our positive take here at Awards Circuit:

Ultimately, ‘Fire at Sea’ isn’t explicitly a film about advocacy or trying to find solutions for the migrant crisis. But even without any targeted ‘talking head’ interviews, Rosi lets his incredible images speak for themselves.

Oscar completists should have this one preordered already.

Box Office: $114,189 (and counting)

In Dubious Battle

James Franco just received the best reviews of his directorial career out of SXSW for “The Disaster Artist.” Until that comes out, we’ll have to deal with unfortunate efforts like this one. The Wrap, for example, wasn’t impressed, writing:

Rarely has such star wattage resulted in a film so dull.

Box Office: N/A

Julieta

The latest from filmmaker Pedro Almodovar has its fans, though few put forward out and out raves. Clayton was fond of this outing, writing the following out of the Middleburg Film Festival:

While not a slam dunk by his own nearly immeasurable standards, especially since his résumé includes ‘Talk to Her,’ there’s a sense of satisfaction and familiarity that will pull you through the cunning tale.

Fans of Almodovar will be pleased.

Box Office: $1,408,440 (and counting)

Live by Night

This is Ben Affleck’s first effort behind the camera not to be universally beloved. In addition, it’s his first not to be nominated for an Oscar. This gangster flick was met with a collective shrug by critics and audiences alike. Furthermore, it was undoubtedly harmed by the poor response to “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Clayton had this to say about the movie:

Thoroughly ambitious in its technical construction, Affleck has a handle on capturing a time and paying homage to old Hollywood movies, but has very little control of its narrative sensibilities and what keeps an audience invested in a movie.

Box Office: $10,378,555

Sing

A crowd pleasing bit of animation, this charmer got better reviews than expected. One such example comes from Entertainment Weekly, which wrote:

After conquering the box office with yellow minions and pets with secret lives, Illumination Entertainment returns with its sweetest and most charming project yet.

If you have kids, this seems like a safe bet to pick up. Plus, yo