New in Home Entertainment – April 23, 2013

New in Home Entertainment

April 23, 2013

Gangster Squad
Rated R for strong violence and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

We all know that the phrase “based on a true story” can be exaggerated but Gangster Squad just might be the worst abuse of that moniker that I’ve ever seen.  That being said, this overly-stylish little gangster movie about the notorious Los Angeles kingpin Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) and a group of cops that take him on is a nice bit of mindless entertainment, but nothing more.  Overall, the performances are uninspired even though the actors look like they might have had a fun time filming.  The one positive note is that it makes me want to revisit one of my favorite crime dramas, The Untouchables, which I will most likely do this coming weekend.  C+

Promised Land
Rated R for language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Matt Damon and John Krasinski co-write and co-star in this little indie about a natural gas salesman (Damon) who goes into a small American town in order to convince them to allow his company to tap into their resources only to find opposition from a young out-of-towner (Krasinski) who is determined to thwart his every effort.  There are a lot of surprises here, especially given the subject matter, that lend to a very entertaining experience that is slightly less educational and preachy than it looks from the outside.  Hal Holbrook lends a nice voice to the film as a local who is not convinced of the company’s sincerity while Rosemary DeWitt plays the single girl in town forcing the two leads into a very unconvincing and contrived love triangle.  Damon and Krasinski are both terrific as the commercial arch enemies.  So while the film might look like a green-skewed message movie, it ends up just being an interesting story with a good cast and some nice twists.  B+

The Central Park Five

Not Rated
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Documentarian Ken Burns, famous for his award-winning stories about American history, tackles a great injustice played upon five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were arrested and convicted for raping a white woman in Central Park in 1989.  They spent between 6 and 13 years in prison until evidence proved them innocent.  As expected from Burns, this is well-made doc that will both infuriate and possibly reconfigure your paradigm about our justice system.  It flat out made me angry and helpless at the same time.  A