War drama hits home theaters this weekend

Sundance Institute

Tye Sheridan and Alden Ehrenreich appear in The Yellow Birds” by Alexandre Moors, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival last year, the war drama “The Yellow Birds,” hit home theater outlets this week.

Against the explosive backdrop of the Iraq War, young soldiers Brandon Bartle (Alden Ehrenreich, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and “Beautiful Creatures”) and Daniel Murphy (Tye Sheridan, “Ready Player One” and “Mud”) forge a deep bond of friendship.

When tragedy strikes the platoon, one soldier must return home to face the hard truth behind the incident, and help grieving mother Maureen Murphy (Jennifer Aniston, “Horrible Bosses” and “Marley & Me”) find peace.

With a compelling mix of battle action and poignant drama, The Yellow Birds is an unforgettable movie whose power resonates long after the final frame.

The movie is based on the novel “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers, and shortly after its premier at the Sundance Film Festival last January, Saban Films and DirecTV Cinema acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film.

The Tomatometer on rottentomatoes.com is at just 45 percent while the audience score is slightly higher at 49 percent.

Top Critic Adam Graham with the “Detroit News,” said, “’The Yellow Birds’ is a difficult film that hammers home its point that war is a living hell that extends far beyond the battlefield.”

But a lot of critics couldn’t get over the fact that it all seemed to have been done before, and done better.

“It’s not only that ‘The Yellow Birds’ doesn’t have anything new to say, but that it’s playing movie karaoke with other, better war movies,” said Top Critic Brian Tallerico with rogerebert.com.

Kristen Lopez with “Spectrum Culture” said, “’The Yellow Birds’ doesn’t say much of anything outside of the mundane. The trio of young men at its center are compelling enough, but the entire ordeal feels like a mash-up of countless other movies.”

Directed by Alexandre Moors, the film is rated R for for war violence, some grisly images, sexual material, and language throughout.

Other films released to home theaters this week include:

n “Affairs of State,” directed by Eric Bross and starring Mimi Rogers, Adrian Grenier, Thora Birch and David Corenswet. In his quest for power, DC aide Michael Lawson will do anything to take part in Senator Baines’ White House campaign, including blackmailing Baines’ shady advisor and sleeping with the candidate’s wife. But when he gets involved with Baines’ alluring daughter, Lawson learns his dangerous game could have a deadly payoff.

This film is rated R.

n “2036 Origin Unknown,” directed by Hasraf Dulull and staring Katee Sackhoff, Julie Cox, Steven Cree and Ray Fearon. Mission Controller Mackenzie Wilson and artificial intelligence system A.R.T.I. conduct an investigation to find out what killed the crew of the first manned mission to Mars. A.R.T.I. is given authority over Wilson and soon they discover a mysterious intelligence on Mars’ surface.

This film is not rated.

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