New in Home Entertainment – August 19, 2014



New in Home Entertainment


August 19, 2014


The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D
Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield) continues his new adventures here as he fends off Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), Electro (Jamie Foxx) and The Rhino (Paul Giamatti) from destroying New York City. You would think that the filmmakers would have learned their lesson from watching Spider-man 3, but apparently they are comfortable with history repeating itself. As in that critically pounded pic, this second in the new franchise has thrown too much in the mix. Too many bad guys, too much tortured love, too much story. There is a great plot to be found here in Parker’s relationship with the Green Goblin’s alter ego Harry Osborn, but rather than let that mature, they dumb it down and drown us with too much other unnecessary material. And its not like they needed that other material to show off their technological prowess. This new franchise has decent special effects, but is definitely not ground breaking by any means. That being said, sacrificing story for action has not hurt this Spidey’s box office as it has surely made a killing and will no doubt continue to do so in peoples’ homes. C

Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Fourth Season
Rated TV-MA
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
While HBO’s hit show about prohibition in Atlantic City isn’t getting quite the critical reception it once did, it is still churning out a binge-worthy serial with superb drama and fantastic performances. Joining the cast this year is Jeffrey Wright as Doctor Valentin Narcisse, a proclaimed man of God who also runs a drug empire. While not as scary a villain as the third season’s Gyp Rosetti (Bobby Cannavale), Narcisse provides an intriguing new dimension that counterbalances the weaker plot lines involving the characters played by Michael Shannon, Kelly McDonald and Gretchen Mol. With the upcoming season five to be the last, Empire’s sendoff is looking to be quite a bit better than True Blood’s desperately awful finale. B+

Muppets Most Wanted
Rated PG for some mild action
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In this latest addition to the Muppet franchise, a notorious gangster who looks similar to Kermit the Frog takes Kermits place, sending Kermit to a Siberian prison upon the mixup. The film tries so incredibly hard to be clever that it just can’t accomplish the feat. Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell and Tina Fey are so into making a “kids” movie that they forget to entertain the adults. Aside from a couple of decent songs, the movie fizzles as it bores you into not caring about the Muppets again. This is something that has happened before, and I’m sure someone brilliant like Jason Segel will come to rescue them again. C

God’s Not Dead
Rated PG for thematic material, brief violence and an accident scene
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
As far as Christian films go, this drama that centers around an atheist professor who publicly battles one of his Christian students was a huge box office hit for the genre. While the whole setup is unbelievable and forcibly dramatic (what professor could ever keep his job if he made his students sign a piece of paper that reads God is dead?), the central message is presented in a convincing fashion. Where the film ultimately lets down though is in its desire to be overly complicated, almost mimicking the film Crash, and in its shameful over-publicizing of Duck Dynasty and The Newsboys. At times it feels like you are watching commercials for the real-life characters rather than a narrative that is supposed to move you. Had the filmmakers tightened the story and left out the fluff, maybe they could have had a film that would have been impactful for everyone rather than just Christians who would have liked it no matter what. B-

A Brony Tale
Not Rated
Available on DVD
Most consider the show My Little Pony to be a cartoon for little girls. This documentary follows a new subset of weird called Bronies, grown men, mostly straight, who openly love the show, primarily told from the point of view of one of the voice actresses who cautiously visits a Brony convention in New York City. While I find the subject matter extremely over-the-top, the documentary does give a fascinating and fairly framed look at a sub-culture that I really have no desire to understand further. B-