New in Home Entertainment – April 28, 2015

gambler

New in Home Entertainment

April 28, 2015

The Gambler
Rated R for language throughout, snap for some sexuality/nudity
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Mark Wahlberg stars in this dismal drama about a college professor whose reckless gambling endangers not only his own life, but that of his family and friends as well. Movies about gambling have always expressed the negative aspects of the sport, but at least in films such a Rounders and 21, there is some fun to be had as well. The Gambler is negative all the way down and by the end you could care less if he wins or loses. Honestly, it’s a film that shouldn’t have been greenlit, and if it weren’t for Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt at the helm, it would have had difficulty getting funding even from indie circles. D

Paddington
Rated PG for mild action and rude humor
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
While a bigger box office hit outside of the states than within, this highly praised pic about the huggable bear and his adventures in England is an extremely lovable and very funny picture, whether you’re young or old. Upon seeing the first trailer, I’ll admit that my eyes were rolling and I couldn’t imagine myself enjoying a film such as this. But with such a heart-warming yet exciting story and an immensely enjoyable cast of characters, it’s hard to imagine anyone not changing their mind away from any negative misconceptions going in. B+

Inherent Vice
Rated R for drug use throughout, sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some violence
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Ever since Boogie Nights, I’ve been a big fan of Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s work. Even when his films took two or three viewings for me to come around, like with There Will Be Blood, Magnolia and Punch Drunk Love, I found myself really fascinated with his work. Inherent Vice marks the first time I have been disappointed with what I have seen. I’ve tried to watch twice now and this jumbled mess of a film that stars Joaquin Phoenix as a drugged out private eye on a trippy investigation is too much weird and not enough story. Based on the book by Thomas Pynchon, the movie has a cult feel to it but never arises to the level of compelling cinema. C-

Last Days in Vietnam
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
This Academy Award nominated PBS documentary takes an up close and personal look at the final days of the Vietnam War and the impact on both those that got out of Vietnam and those that didn’t. The film is very successful at providing a feeling of what it must have been like to be a patriotic American trying to help a desperate people survive an imminent threat. What it doesn’t do is tackle both sides of the equation, and instead attempts to portray the war as simply the good guys losing. Still, I found it profoundly interesting and a great source of deeper discussions. B

Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Another PBS documentary seeing its debut this week is this masterfully produced documentary from Ken Burns and Barak Goodman, based on the book by Siddhartha Mukherjee. This incredibly ambitious six-hour documentary explores the history, present and future of cancer and its many treatments in a detail never seen before. Expertly crafted, the film works as both a highly informational piece and as a compelling story. And while some of the material will hit you like a ton of bricks, the overall feeling once completed is that of pure hope. A

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