Dreamland

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 1/19/21;
Paramount;
Drama;
$19.99 DVD, $22.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for some violence, language and sexuality/nudity.
Stars Finn Cole, Margot Robbie, Travis Fimmel, Kerry Condon, Darby Camp.

If it weren’t for the involvement of Margot Robbie, Dreamland would seem like a run-of-the-mill direct-to-video gangster drama.

The film focuses on a young man named Eugene (Finn Cole), who lives on his family’s farm during the Great Depression. His stepfather, a local sheriff’s deputy, is caught up in a manhunt Allison Wells (Robbie), the female half of a Bonnie & Clyde-style team on the run after a botched bank robbery.

One night, Eugene discovers an injured Allison hiding in the family’s barn, bleeding out from a gunshot wound. Claiming she’s not as bad as the press makes her out to be, she explains her partner was killed and convinces him to help her heal. In the process he ends up falling in love with her because she’s a rebellious teenager and she’s Margot Robbie.

When Eugene’s little sister, who narrates the story, starts to suspect he’s hiding something in the barn, he and Allison steal the family truck with a plan to escape to Mexico. With his stepfather leading a posse after them, Eugene begins to question Allison’s sincerity as she tries to steer him away from a life of crime.

The Blu-ray is presented with no extras.

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Dean Devlin Thriller ‘Bad Samaritan’ Due on Digital Aug. 3, Disc Aug. 14

The thriller Bad Samaritan debuts Aug. 3 on digital from Electric Entertainment and Aug. 14 on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Directed by Dean Devlin (Geostorm), the film stars David Tennant (“Doctor Who,” “Jessica Jones”), Robert Sheehan (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), Carlito Olivero (“The X Factor”), Kerry Condon (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) and (Ordinary Days). The story follows two thieves who uncover more than what they bargained for when breaking into a house they thought would be an easy score. After making a shocking discovery, they must choose to run and hide, or face the killer whose dark secrets they have exposed.

Bonus content includes deleted scenes.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Fox;
Drama;
Box Office $53.35 million;
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for violence, language throughout, and some sexual references.
Stars Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Zeljko Ivanek, Caleb Landry Jones, Kerry Condon, Abbie Cornish, Peter Dinklage, John Hawkes, Amanda Warren, Clarke Peters.

Writer-director Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards offers an intense, character-driven examination of the relationship between small-town police and the residents they serve.

Frances McDormand gives a powerhouse performance as Mildred, whose bitterness over the stalled investigation into her daughter’s murder motivates her to rent space on the billboards of the title excoriating the cops for their lack of progress.

This naturally raises tensions in the town, as supporters of the police demand she take the signs down while putting pressure on her friends and family to force her hand.

The police chief (Woody Harrelson), has his own issues to deal with, not the least of which is an alcoholic deputy named Dixon (Sam Rockwell), who is accused of torturing a black suspect in custody during an incident that allegedly happened before the start of the film’s story.

Three Billboards takes a multi-faceted view of cops’ racial attitudes in small-town America, and presents them as people and not as the caricatures some knee-jerk critics of the film would insist upon. Certainly the department must confront its troubled history of race relations, but the situation with Mildred might suggest they’re not great cops in general, or at the very least in over their head on some things.

Dixon, for example, has bigger dreams but little self-awareness, and his racism goes hand in hand with a general attitude of superiority about everyone, no doubt fueled by the toxic influences of his mother. His violent streak even extends to the white kid who sold the signs to Mildred and becomes the subject of a brutal beating in one of the film’s signature sequences — a single take of Dixon walking from the police station across the street to the advertising shop, up the stairs and back to admire the chaos of his handiwork.

Mildred and Dixon represent the opposing forces in the firestorm at the heart of the film, so it comes as little surprise that McDormand and Rockwell were among the most recognized performers of awards season.

The Blu-ray includes five deleted scenes running about seven minutes total that aren’t vital to the storylines but do offer some interesting additional character insights.

Also included is a comprehensive half-hour behind-the-scenes documentary in which McDonagh relates how seeing similar billboards on a tour of the American South inspired him to make the film. The featurette also includes a lengthy look at the making-of the single-take fight scene at the center of the film.

Finally, the disc offers McDonagh’s unrelated half-hour 2004 short film Six Shooter, which won the Oscar for Best Live-Action Short. The short stars Brendan Gleeson as a man on a train confronted with mortality and the foibles of the human condition.