Monday, November 10, 2014
This Week’s DVD Releases
(Click on the title to see the trailer)
Abuse of Weakness *** Directed by Catherine Breillat. Isabelle Huppert. A stroke-afflicted filmmaker (Huppert) is manipulated by a notorious con man. Another fascinating entry in the director’s ongoing exploration of the sadistic and masochistic facets of human behavior.
How To Train Your Dragon 2 *** Directed by Dean DeBois. Jay Baruchel, Kristen Wiig, America Ferrera, Kit Harington, Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett, T.J. Miller, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Djimon Hounsou. When Hiccup and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace. At times terrifying and too tough for tinies, this is nevertheless a triumphant sequel that puts its faith in Hiccup and Toothless to find a way through dark times for man and dragon. Until we all get our own dragon to go flying with, the result is a story sufficiently thrilling to have us all airborne.
Happy Christmas *** Directed by Joe Swanberg. Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey. After splitting up with her boyfriend just before the holidays, a young woman moves in with her older brother and his family. But as she tries to climb out of her rut and start over, her self-destructive behavior gets in the way. It’s not always pretty, and it’s not always exciting, but you genuinely don’t know from one moment to the next how these characters will behave.
Deepsea Challenge **½ Directed by James Cameron. Chronicles Cameron’s solo dive on March 26, 2012, as he pilots a submersible seven miles down to the lowest point of the Mariana Trench to gather data for scientific research. While Challenge makes for a pretty dull glimpse into the inner workings of the sea, it provides a fascinating look at the inner workings of Cameron, whose obsessive and demanding personality translated to movies like Titanic and Avatar.
Mood Indigo ** Directed by Michel Gondry. Wealthy, inventive bachelor Colin (Romain Duris) endeavors to find a cure for his lover Chloe (Audrey Tautou) after she’s diagnosed with an unusual illness caused by a flower growing in her lungs. No amount of imaginative trickery can fill the void of feeling at the movie’s center. Whimsy for whimsy’s sake is just too much to take.
Jersey Boys ** Directed by Clint Eastwood. John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, Erich Bergen, Johnny Carrizzaro, Renée Marino, Mike Doyle, Christopher Walken. The story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons. The singing talent is there, but Eastwood and writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elise opt for a more realistic depiction of events. They transform Jersey Boys from jukebox musical it was on stage to movie biopic, exchanging one much-maligned genre for another.
Tammy *½ Directed by Ben Falcone. Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Allison Janney, Mark Duplass, Dan Aykroyd, Kathy Bates. After losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, a woman hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother. Where 1991's Thelma & Louise was funny and action-filled, Tammy’s story is thin, cringe-inducing and, worst of all for a comedy, not funny. Jokes land with a thud and the pacing is leaden.
Let’s Be Cops * Directed by Luke Greenfield. Damon Wayans Jr., Jake Johnson, Rob Riggle, Nina Dobrev, James D’Arcy, Andy Garcia. When two pals show up at a costume party dressed as cops, they end up being mistaken for the real thing and get drawn into a bona-fide crime drama. The screenplay co-written by Nicholas Thomas and Greenfield fails to mine the potentially humorous premise for the necessary laughs, with nearly all of the gags falling thuddingly flat.