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Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Feb. 13

Thor Diakow | posted Tuesday, Feb 13th, 2018

Click the movie titles for trailer links.

February 13, 2018: Roman J. Israel, Esq., Marshall, The Deuce: The Complete First Season.

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

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SYNOPSIS: ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. is a dramatic thriller set in the overburdened Los Angeles criminal court system. Denzel Washington stars as a driven, idealistic defense attorney whose life is suddenly disrupted. When he is recruited to join a firm led by an ambitious lawyer George Pierce (Colin Farrell) – and begins a friendship with a young champion of equal rights (Carmen Ejogo), a turbulent series of events ensue that will put the activism that has defined Roman’s career to the test.

Even though ‘Roman J. Israel, ESQ.’ may get little contrived in the storytelling department it’s still worth seeing for Denzel Washington’s eighth Academy Award-nominated performance. This legal drama also benefits from a solid ensemble cast, highlighted by Colin Farrell and Carmen Ejogo. In short, the film’s execution is messy at times but it still manages to deliver a powerful, timely message, with a intriguing story, and yet another sensational lead role from the veteran Washington.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
•Eight Deleted Scenes
•Three Featurettes
-“Denzel Washington: Becoming Roman”
-“The Making of Roman J. Israel, ESQ.”
-“Colin Farrell: Discovering George”

Marshall

91kJZvSaacL._SL1500_SYNOPSIS: In the year 1941, the United States teeters on the brink of entering World War II. The country’s largest civil rights organization, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) sends its only lawyer, thirty-two-year-old Thurgood Marshall (Boseman), to defend a black chauffeur (Brown) charged with rape and attempted murder by his socialite employer (Hudson). The trial quickly dominated headlines and became tabloid fodder. Marshall, in need of a win, engages the help of Samuel Friedman (Gad), a young Jewish lawyer with no trial experience. Marshall and Friedman struggle to expose the truth amidst the fear and prejudice, knowing that a young man’s life hangs in the balance. The trial set the groundwork for a career that would make Thurgood Marshall America’s first African-American Supreme Court Justice. MARSHALL is based upon a true story.

This movie contains a fascinating true story at its core but struggles at times with pacing problems. However, with ‘Black Panther’s Chadwick Boseman front and centre, along with fine support from Josh Gad, Dan Stevens, Kate Hudson, and Sterling K. Brown, the old-fashioned courtroom drama overcomes most of its narrative issues. ‘Marshall’ occasionally takes a simplistic approach to its rather complex plot and diverse character study but is well-intentioned and earnestly made plus features some fine acting.

The Deuce: The Complete First Season

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SYNOPSIS: Boasting a fine ensemble cast and executive produced by David Simon, George Pelecanos, Nina K. Noble and James Franco, The Deuce chronicles the rise of the porn industry that began in New York City in 1971-72, driven by the gradual legalization of porn and a politically motivated effort to “clean up” Times Square. Seizing the chance to cash in on the nascent porn business are a vivid assortment of characters, including: Vincent Martino (James Franco), a bartender with vision and connections; Frankie Martino (Franco again), Vincent’s identical twin, a dangerously freewheeling counterpart to his entrepreneurial brother; Candy (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a self-made, on-the-street sex worker eying a new career in porn filmmaking; pimps C.C. (Gary Carr) and Larry Brown (Gbenga Akinnagbe); young prostitutes Darlene (Dominique Fishback) and Lori (Emily Meade); midtown cop Chris Alston (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr.); newspaper reporter Sandra Washington (Natalie Paul); mob capo Rudy Pipilo (Michael Rispoli); disillusioned college student Abby Parker (Margarita Levieva); and others.

HBO knocks it out of the park once again with this sexy, sultry look at the seedy underbelly of New York City in the 1970s. Fans of the network’s previous shows like ‘The Wire’ and ‘The Sopranos’ may have fun spotting some recognizable faces. ‘The Deuce’ boasts one of the finest casts on television and some brilliant writing courtesy of David Simon and frequent collaborator George Pelecanos. The show is ultimately a triumph because it takes a sprawling story but injects it with plenty of intimacy, thanks to great acting, and handles some very delicate subject matter sensitively and tastefully, while still leaving lots of room for trademark grit. ‘The Deuce’ is one of the reasons we stay at home to watch our entertainment and here’s hoping for more success in season two.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
•The Deuce in Focus- Delve inside The Deuce with Michelle MacLaren, James Franco and Roxann Dawson as they talk about bringing the show to life.
•The Wild West: New York in the Early ’70s- Head back in time in this featurette that focuses on the frontier of the pornography business–New York City in the early 1970s–with the cast and crew of The Deuce. Creators David Simon and George Pelecanos plus James Franco and his co-stars open up about this unique period in NYC history as porn moved from the street to the mainstream screen.
Blu-ray™ & DVD Exclusive Bonus Features Include:
•Audio Commentaries- Commentaries on Episode 1 and Episode 8 with cast and crew including David Simon (Co-Creator/Executive Producer), George Pelecanos (Co-Creator/Executive Producer), Nina Kostroff Noble (Executive Producer), Michele MacLaren (Director), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Actor/Producer) and James Franco (Actor/Executive Producer).

 

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