- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A hunter takes on a powerful witch and a young auto mechanic dreams of a warmer life highlight Blu-ray home entertainment releases this week.

Seventh Son (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Rated PG-13, $34.98) — Surely two Academy Award winners could guarantee success of yet another big-budgeted medieval fantasy film filled with magic, sorcery and demon hunting.

Alas, despite the combined might of Jeff Bridges as a knight called Gregory of a near-extinct order battling Julianne Moore as the evil witch Mother Malkin (looking her goth best), audiences and critics were not impressed with director Sergei Bodrov’s efforts earlier this year.

Its arrival to Blu-ray potentially salvages the mythical tale of the seventh son of the seventh son and his magical powers, kind of making for an evening of routine entertainment.

However, each scene of dialogue within the 102-minute-long effort appears to exist to just get to the next epic computer-enhanced fight scene, looking crystal clear in the digital transfer by the way, between creatures and Gregory with his apprentices.

That’s not always a bad thing to appreciate, especially when dragons get involved.

Yet a viewer may have a bigger issue with moments between the big action. Mr. Bridges chose an accent for this character that makes his dialogue so muddled, it sounds like he is speaking with marbles in his mouth.

Now, here’s a first: The featurettes are actually required watching before diving into the movie.

We first learn about the origins of the seventh son in other cultures and actually allow the movie’s plot to make much more sense.

More importantly, a three-part, roughly 25-minute-long documentary allows creators to explain the mythos of Malkin’s trusted lieutenants.

Apparently they are culled from witch mythology from around the world, tapping into creatures from Africa, Siberia and Transylvania to name a few.

If some of this information was actually built into the plot and a few extra scenes were added to demonstrate any level of chemistry between Mr. Bridges and Miss Moore, I would have gladly appreciated “Seventh Son” much more and even longed for an extended cut of the movie.

Cut Bank (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Rated R, $24.99) — A Fargo-esque crime thriller arrives on Blu-ray elevated with worthy extras from its basic video-on-demand release last month.

The tale of mechanic Dwayne McLaren (played by Liam Hemsworth) and his yearning to get out of the small town of Cut Bank, Montana (proudly proclaimed as “the coldest spot in the nation”), presents a woeful case of supposed good luck turned into a nightmare.  Mr. McLaren unwise actions unleash a snowball effect of violence on his fellow citizens.

Viewers get to appreciate a veteran group of actors known for their quirky performances, including Billy Bob Thornton, John Malkovich, Bruce Dern, Oliver Platt and a terrifying Michael Stuhlbarg while the plot of murder, greed and obsession unfolds.

The early scene of the Canola fields bloom (the film was shot in Edmonton, Canada) offers an explosion of yellow that highlights a digital transfer taken from its 35 mm origins that director Matt Shakman chose to beautifully deliver a grainy, 1970s, noirish look to the entire proceedings.

Just enough extras give fans reason to add the disk to their collection.

Best of the bunch is a commentary track with Mr. Shakman and writer Robert Patino, who are bit self-congratulatory, but the track is equally filled with production minutia about a film with a bizarre vision of justice and brutality.

The extras list rounds out with five deleted and extended scenes, and an 18-minute documentary that overlaps a bit too much with the commentary track.

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