New in Home Entertainment – June 30, 2015

get hard

New in Home Entertainment

June 30, 2015

Get Hard
Rated R for pervasive crude and sexual content and language, some graphic nudity, and drug material
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In his latest raunch-com, Will Ferrell is an investment banker who is given a harsh prison sentence and thus hires Kevin Hart, a man who he just assumes has been to prison, to toughen him up for his upcoming years behind bars. From the trailer I was rather excited about the concept and the fact that it looked really, really funny. And there are some big laughs throughout. But there are way too many groans for me to fully recommend. Once Farrell is full into prison training, the movie takes a turn for the worse by going completely over-the-top. The cast was having too much fun and the whole thing looked like a collection of bloopers rather than a narrative. I think had they try to keep a spirit of authenticity, even with such a farcical story such as this, the movie could have been a fantastic comedy. C

While We’re Young
Rated R for language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In the latest adult comedy from Noah Bombach (The Squid and the Whale), Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts are a forty-something childless married couple who try to find themselves as a couple by gravitating towards a young twenty-something pair (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) who they find more interesting and vibrant than their child-rearing friends of the same age. At first this feels like a lovely little story about the differences between generations and the desire for staying young in the face of reality. I rather liked that beginning. But when the narrative kicks in and the film becomes more about motives and conflict, I must admit that I checked out. Still, the performances are all very good. Every time I see Stiller like this it makes me miss him as a serious actor. Like Jim Carey, Adam Sandler and the late Robin Williams, Stiller proves that he is a much better actor in these low-budget indies than he gets credit for in his big-budget stupid comedies. B-

The Gunman
Rated R for strong violence, language and some sexuality
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Taken director Pierre Morel delivers here a slightly boring action thriller starring Sean Penn as a former mercenary from the Congo who tries to unravel who is trying to have him killed years after a political assassination he carried out. I have very mixed feelings about this latest movie. It is an interesting enough story but the execution (no pun intended) is flawed to say the least. The pacing is too tired for it to be an action thriller and yet it doesn’t seem to want to hang out in the drama category either. And with Penn in the leading role I thought we could at least get a nice political message, maybe more like The Constant Gardener, but instead we get a lot of promises of what could be without much of a delivery. C

I Am Evel Knievel
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
One of the better movies I saw this year at South By Southwest in Austin was a documentary about the life of Evel Knievel. But not this one. That one, Being Evel, will be released by the History Channel later this year. This one is another polished doc about the daredevil that tells many of the same stories with many of the same people associated with the legend being interviewed. While not as flashy as the other doc, you do still get to really know the man by the end. Until the third act, I was convinced that the other one was stronger, simply because of its style, but then some of Knievel’s most controversial actions were discussed from very differing viewpoints. For example, while Being Evel made Knievel into almost a villain for the events that sent him to prison, this film made his actions seem almost justified. Honestly, I liked seeing both films, especially given their viewpoints from differing angles. B

Into the Grizzly Maze
Rated R for animal attack/disturbing images, violence, terror, brief sexuality and language
In theaters and available on iTunes
James Marsden, Thomas Jane and Billy Bob Thornton lead this fairly all-star cast as individuals, all with different motives, who attempt to hunt down a monstrosity of a grizzly bear who is terrorizing the community. It’s fairly obvious from the stale performances that everyone involved was there for a paycheck, but at least the filmmakers keep the movie short and full of fun bear-induced violence. I was actually impressed at the final battle sequence which looked semi-believable. In fact the ending is almost worth having to put up with the rest of the movie. C+