New in the Queue

New in the Queue: Summer Blockbusters Now on DVD

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Summer 2015 is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean we can’t snuggle up with the DVD releases of some of the season’s best blockbusters. Whether you like action, horror or drama, these fan favorites have everything you need for a fun night in.

IT FOLLOWS (film released May 17, 2014; DVD released July 14, 2015)

It Follows is hands down one of the best horror films of the last decade. Emerging director David Robert Mitchell (The Myth of the American Sleepover) created a terrifying film that echoes the styles of classic ‘80s psychological thrillers such as Friday the 13th (1980), The Shining (1980) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

Jay (Maika Monroe) is looking forward to enjoying the summer in her sleepy suburban hometown just outside of Detroit. The 19-year-old’s only thoughts are about boys, bonfires and beach parties. But after having a seemingly harmless sexual encounter with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake Weary), she begins having visions of a stalking, shapeshifting entity that follows her everywhere. As her paranoia deepens and the monster gets closer and closer, Jay and her friends must find a way to escape the murderous threat that is always just one step behind them.

The unforgettable opening scene is enough to make this movie one of the best of its kind. The combination of distinct nostalgia of small-town America with an ageless mythology that follows a nameless, unstoppable evil, creates a unique and relatable story. Long tracking shots of car rides through Detroit’s crumbling urbanscape, heart-stopping chase scenes on overcast beaches and in dark forests and a bizarre electronic soundtrack composed by indie artist Disasterpeace shapes a new cult classic on par with mind-bending thrillers such as Donnie Darko (2001). Because of its slow builds and attention to detail, It Follows offers a departure from the jump scares and tech-based nightmares that fuel most modern-day horror flicks. It’s a must-see movie for all horror film junkies. (5 out of 5 stars)

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (film released May 7, 2015; DVD released Sept. 1, 2015)

Mad Max: Fury Road is the fourth installment of George Miller’s Mad Max series which follows the life of Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), a rogue cop-turned-vigilante fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Max’s story continues in this fast-paced action thriller as he joins forces with the one-armed Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) to liberate the Five Wives of the ruthless dictator Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne).

The movie begins with Immortan Joe ruling the impoverished people of the Citadel and its satellite cities Gas Town and Bullet Farm, which together produce the only water, gasoline and ammunition for miles. He enslaves women to birth his army of War Boys and deprives his people of food and water — all practices that make him a formidable force of evil. What begins as theFive Wives’ secret flight to freedom becomes a full-fledged road war between Furiosa and Immortan Joe’s army. In a lawless desert world devastated by nuclear holocaust, it’s every person for themselves.

Mad Max: Fury Road is nothing less than a masterpiece of the action genre. Miller flawlessly extends the narrative of his three previous films while expanding the Mad Max story into even more depraved areas of human violence and vengeance. Hardy and Theron make a convincing pair of allies who, once accompanied by the loveable Nux (Nicholas Hoult) and assisted by the Five Wives, fight Immortan Joe in an epic two-hour showdown.

Punk-rock costuming, a soundtrack fueled by shredding guitars and bass and beautifully detailed use of live-action props and stunts make the film a pulse-pounding thrill ride from start to finish. The film’s story deals with the hard-hitting issues of honor killing, suicide bombing, sex slavery and environmental destruction with subtlety and cleverness, creating a well-considered social commentary advocating for peace, respect and, ultimately, hope for humanity. (5 out of 5 stars)

JURASSIC WORLD (film released May 29, 2015; DVD to release Oct. 20, 2015)

In the fourth film of the Jurassic Park franchise, Jurassic World has become the most popular theme park in the world, offering triceratops rides, baby dinosaur petting zoos, a pterodactyl atrium and a Shamu-style Mosasaurus water show. But as the demand for bigger and scarier dinosaurs puts pressure on the park to expand, the safety of its visitors is compromised.

The film follows the stories of teenage brothers Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins) Mitchell, their aunt and park operations manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), raptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and head of security Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) as they attempt to protect both themselves and the park from the rampage of the most dangerous dinosaur ever made: the Indominus Rex.

Jurassic World does a good job building on the foundation of the 1993 original, making it the perfect film for a generation of movie-goers who grew up with the franchise. There are definitely many Jurassic Park references, including scenes discussing the progress of the park in the wake of the passing of its original owner, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough). The film also delivers outstanding special effects, such as dinosaurs fighting to the death, pterodactyl attacks, a nighttime dinosaur hunt and, of course, the larger-than-life Indominus Rex.

Unfortunately, the movie gets bogged down in an excessive amount of storylines, including those of park owner Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), genetic engineer Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong), and IT assistant Lowery Cruthers (Jake Johnson). If the movie focused on only a few characters rather than trying to follow seven different storylines, the film could have explored the issues of each character in more depth. Yet, if you’re a fan of the original Jurassic Park trilogy and love creature showdowns, this is the right movie for you. (4  out of 5 stars).

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