Monday, June 27, 2016

This week's major DVD releases

**** Excellent.
*** Good.
** Fair
* Poor
No stars Abysmal

Click on title to see the film’s trailer.

Eye in the Sky *** Directed by Gavin Hood. Leading an operation to nab a terrorist and her collaborators in Kenya, Col. Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) ends up in a political and moral quagmire as the mission changes and a drone strike is ordered, putting a young girl at risk of becoming collateral damage. The movie is literally all over the map in its depiction of drone warfare, and right on target, if flagrantly contrived, in examining the ethics of killing by remote control.

Kung Fu Panda 3 **½ Directed by Alessandro Carloni, Jennifer Yuh. After Po (voice of Jack Black) is reunited with his long-lost dad, the two set off for a secret panda village, where Po must quickly teach his brethren the art of kung fu when a villainous ancient spirit named Kai (voice of J.K. Simmons) threatens all of China. Fitfully amusing and certainly heartfelt, this latest chapter in the likeable animated saga will work best with younger viewers, but its life lessons and emotional beats feel slathered on rather than deftly woven into the storyline.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ** Directed by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa. A journalist (Tina Fey) recounts her wartime experiences in Afghanistan.It’s to Ficarra and Requa’s credit that they try to juggle romance and political commentary, daring to make a studio movie that doesn’t fall into cookie-cutter genre rules. But the overriding problem is that their film doesn’t go far enough in its risk-taking, settling for a story that gets more predictable as it rolls along.

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