The Lone Ranger - Disney - Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson, Ruth Wilson. Full cast + crew
The Lone Ranger got a raw deal when it hit theaters this summer. People knew it had a troubled production and cost Disney a ton of money, which seemed to be the blood in the water for the following feeding frenzy that sealed its fate as a total bomb. And it may be an actual bomb as far as the box office numbers go, but it's not a bad film. A little long, yes, but not bad at all.
In fact, The Lone Ranger is a huge, heaping gulp of fresh air in an era where the studios' huge tentpole movies are dominated by superheroes in tights. Instead this is a beautifully photographed epic that shows off the grandness of the American landscape while also telling a tale of how greed spread across our land (and never went away). Johnny Depp, the true star of the film, is fantastic, and it's a shame we'll never see him and Gore Verbinski revisit this world.
Special Features: Not a whole lot, unfortunately. There's less than 30 minutes of making-of material on this set, which is disappointing considering the film is of such a scale that it really deserves more exploration. Still, what's on here is quite good (particularly seeing how they built a railway for the train stunts), and there's a pretty cool deleted scene involving a plague of locusts that would have been instantly memorable had it ended up on camera.
Other Notable New Releases
It's telling of how incredible 2013 has been for movies in general that something as strong as Prisoners isn't really popping up in the year-end conversations. This is a fine, old-school thriller about how far parents will go to protect their loved ones. While I wouldn't argue it is the finest film of the year, it should certainly be seen for anyone who appreciates exceptional acting (particularly by Jake Gyllenhaal) and evocative cinematography. And if you'd like to see those similar qualities in a film without all of the Hollywood flourishes, you can probably find them in David Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints.
From there we move to a trio of R-rated but mostly forgettable studio action movies. If you love, love, lovvvved Kick-Ass, you may like the vulgar, juvenile, ugly Kick-Ass 2. If you like sci-fi imagery but don't care about pesky things like scripts, you may like Elyisum. And if you're a sucker for Robert De Niro or Michelle Pfeiffer (both who shine here), you may just love The Family, a modern, fun, ridiculous film about a mob family that can never give up old habits. This is one of the more underseen, underappreciated action movies of the year, and you'd do well to catch up on it now.
It's strange that Percy Jackson & the Sea of Monsters is actually a better film than the trio of R-rated films above. Sure, this series is just a blatant substitution for Harry Potter, but it still mostly works. If you (or, more importantly, any young kids in your house) like films about teens with great destinies, then give it a shot. It's not great, but it gets the job done in a few creative ways. I'm one of the only people who seems to have found Ghost Team One to be a funny riff on found-footage horror movies. It's crass and absurd, but it's got a real handle on its characters and letting everything stem from them first and foremost.
The rest of the week is filled with releases that are definitely targeting preexisting fan bases. The One Direction documentary This Is Us hits Blu-ray, as does a 3D conversion of the original Predator. Also, if you're picky enough that you refuse to acknowledge the fourth Indiana Jones movie, you can now buy Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade on Blu-ray on their own for the first time.
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