Spies, lies, whys and bad tries top this week’s DVD releases.
■ Central Intelligence: Director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) allows Kevin Hart to play scenes with high energy. But he never allows him to completely fall into annoying rant mode. The result: This is one of Hart’s the best acting jobs.
Thurber’s script, written with Ike Barinholtz and David Stassen, doesn’t depend on muscle-bound jokes and mixes in plenty of smart writing, such the scene where it is suggested Joyner go to couple’s therapy, but he explains that African Americans don’t go to therapy to talk: “We go to the barbershop to talk. Or we watch Barbershop.”
■ Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates: A pair of hard-partying brothers use the internet to find dates. Zac Efron stars.
You can tell from the title Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates that the film deals with two guys who don’t want to be alone at their sister’s nuptials. There’s a lot the name doesn’t tell you. Mike and Dave need a story that doesn’t insult anyone over the age of 3.
■ City of Gold: If you are the kind of person who would prefer to collect recipe books rather than eat at a new restaurant, the documentary City of Gold is perfect for your cinematic palate. The examination of Los Angeles Times food writer Jonathan Gold is more about the process of writing about food than the actual experience of a meal being prepared and served up with all its seductive qualities.
The film is from director Laura Gabbert. It tags along with Gold as he eats his way through the small ethnic pockets in the Los Angeles area. Gold’s standard is to look deep into as many cuisines as possible to dish up the particulars about food that often sounds more like a parody than a loving dish.
■ Warcraft: The release has achieved a lofty goal: There hasn’t been a movie as unrelentingly bad since Jupiter Ascending managed to surpass the bloated and pitiful Battlefield Earth as the worst big-budget science fiction film of all time.
The special effects with the Orcs work generally well, but there are times during battle scenes where the computer-generated characters have a glitch. The landscape looks like it was lifted off a game screen and lacks any touch of realism.
It’s game over for another attempt to turn a video game into a movie.
Also out this week
■ The Shallows: Surfer is stuck on a rock a short distance from shore but a shark is in the way.
■ Valley of the Dolls: The 1967 film is being re-released.
■ Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich: Allied special ops team prepares to extract the man destined to lead a Fourth Reich.
■ The Neon Demon: Group of women will do anything to regain youth and vitality.
■ Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom: Animated tale of the early life of the noted horror writer.
■ Masterpiece: Indian Summers Season 2: Stories of love and death set in British India’s summer capital in the 1930s.
■ Two Films by Douglas Sirk: Includes A Scandal in Paris and Lured.
■ Cell: Two men race to stop a group of killers. John Cusack stars.
■ Edge of Winter: Family day trip goes bad when the group gets lost.
■ The Seventh Fire: Looks at history of injustice leveled at Native Americans.
■ Power Rangers Dino Charge: Rise: Power Rangers must overcome their differences and work together to defend the Earth.
■ Transpecos: Routine stop changes everyone’s lives.
■ Slugs: Mutant slugs go on a rampage.
■ Jericho: Widowed mother of two looks to start a new life in a remote town.
■ Barbarians Rising: Four-part History mini-series about the 700-year fight for freedom by barbarians.
■ Dirty 30: Three friends try to get out of a rut.
■ Lady in White: Young boy faces the ghost of a murdered little girl.
■ Port Protection: Group tries to survive the harsh Alaskan winters.
■ Patterns: Boardroom melodrama from Rod Serling.
■ Highlander: The Christopher Lambert film is being re-released to mark the 30th anniversary.
■ Hunt for the Wilderpeople: Misfit city kid goes on the run to avoid another foster home.
■ A House is Not a Home: New home comes with creep guests.
■ The Innocents: French Red Cross doctor helps traumatized young Polish nuns.
■ Francesca: Community is stalked by a psychopath bent on cleaning the city of impure and damned souls.
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