New in Home Entertainment – April 4, 2017

New in Home Entertainment

April 4, 2017

Rogue One
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
Phase one of Disney’s Star Wars spinoff movies is this story, mentioned in the crawl of A New Hope, about a group of heroes who go in, under certain peril, to deliver to the rebellion the plans for the Death Star. With an exceptional cast, including Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, and my favorite go to villain Ben Mendelsohn, the film doesn’t lack in talent in any aspect. Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters) was an excellent choice and in spite of its very dark nature, it represents sacrifice and bravery in a way that is surprisingly okay for children. If Disney keeps doing the right thing by these new projects, then I expect big and exciting things to come from the Mouse House. A-

Office Christmas Party
Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, drug use and graphic nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 41%
Jennifer Aniston and TJ Miller are siblings who own a company in bad need of a break, so against his sister’s command, Miller throws a party, with the help of Jason Bateman, to lure a key customer. Of course this turns into something worse than an out of hand fraternity party. As far as stories go, this one goes a little far, but if you are in the mood for a bunch of bad behavior from a talented cast of comedic actors, it might give you what you are looking for. It did have me laughing at times, but a classic Christmas comedy it is not. C

Why Him?
Rated R for strong language and sexual material
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 40%
Yet another raunchy comedy that landed with a lukewarm thud is this take on bringing home the parents to meet the boyfriend. In this case, Bryan Cranston is the uptight dad who must meet his daughter’s crazy and unfiltered millionaire boyfriend played by James Franco. While it’s no Get Out (wrong genre I know, but it does star Keegan-Michael Key so it is related in more way than one), it is a surprisingly sweet movie, that while completely predictable, serves up some very funny jokes to make up for its lack of nuance. All of the characters are likable, although I can’t imagine a father being this overprotective in such a situation. So while I did not love it, I did find it mildly entertaining, which is something I didn’t think I would say given its critical and box office reception. B-

Rated R for some language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
Adam Driver (Silence, The Force Awakens) stars in this indie Jim Jarmusch film about a bus driver named Paterson, who lives in Paterson, NJ and who likes to write poetry. The movie takes place over a week and has almost zero in plot, but due to the likability of the characters and its gentle nature, the lack of story seems almost forgivable. You sit in his driver’s seat and listen to the conversations, watching him listen to other peoples’ stories rather than living out his own. If it sounds dull – well it is. It’s sweet, but quite boring. And like all of Jarmusch’s films, it is art house fare with no disguise. C+

New in Home Entertainment – March 27, 2017

New in Home Entertainment

March 28, 2017

Rated R for some disturbing violent content
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
According to Martin Scorsese, he has been working on this film based on the 1966 novel for 28 years. To put that into perspective, that means that when he was making Goodfellas and Cape Fear – this film was going through his mind. And its stars, Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge) and Adam Driver (The Force Awakens) were still in grade school. The story follows two Jesuit missionaries who head to feudal Japan in the 1600s in order to locate and rescue their mentor, played here by Liam Neeson. If they are found, they will be captured and tortured. But if they don’t locate their mentor and help the struggling people, they will have failed in their mission. The film is made with the utmost of integrity and sincerity and you can see how meaningful it was to Scorsese throughout every minute. Sure its a tough one to watch, and you must contend with a three hour run-time, but it is a marvelous work of art worth the investment of your time and energy. A

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Rated PG-13 for some fantasy action violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%
In this Harry Potter spinoff prequel, and going off of a JK Rowling screenplay, a young wizard named Newt Scamander shows up in New York City to rescue some magical creatures when he happens upon a situation within the wizarding world of America that needs his help. What has been sold as the first of a very large franchise, Fantastic Beasts delivers a terrific story, not overly-dependent on the Harry Potter series, but that will most likely set up some major plot points in the Potter tales that we aren’t aware of yet. It has the right amount of comedy, action and charm to keep you fully engaged and desirous of more stories from the Potter world. A-

20th Century Women
Rated R for sexual material, language, some nudity and brief drug use
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
In this thoughtful and touching dramedy, Annette Bening stars as a single mother to a young boy in the late 70’s who tries to raise him right, fully aware that he is growing up with an over-abundance of women in his life. Bening definitely shines in this pic, but the supporting cast, including Lucas Jade Zumann, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig and Billy Crudup, gives the film that something special, leaving you with a thought of your own family story in your head as you reach its touching finale. A-

A Monster Calls
Rated PG-13 for thematic content an some scary images
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
In order to deal with his mother’s terminal illness, a young boy finds an unlikely friend and protector in a giant tree monster, voiced by Liam Neeson. In spite of great reviews and eye-popping visual effects, the film fizzled at the box office, bringing in less than four million domestically. If I had to guess why, people just didn’t want to cry in January. You can’t even get through the trailer without balling, so to sit through 108 minutes was too much to ask most audiences. But it is a well-made film, and sometimes you need a good, solid cry. So go get a pint of your favorite ice cream, a box of tissue, and prepare yourself to open up the water works. B+