Thursday, April 24, 2014
NEW ON THE SHELF
Adam Brody and Amanda Seyfried star in “Lovelace.”
“GROWN UPS 2,” Adam Sandler, Kevin James. Unabashedly juvenile nonsense should please fans of its leads, who all appear to be having a blast engaging in all manner of lowbrow scatological hijinks, being urinated on by enormous deer here and being attacked by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin there. Utterly scattershot, but not without its base charms. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:41. Suggested retail price: $30.99; Blu-ray $40.99.
“LOVELACE,” Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard. Troubling biopic details the whirlwind rise to fame of one Linda Lovelace (Seyfried), a relatively ordinary young woman who turns a particular sexual ability into worldwide fame with the help of her absolutely horrendous husband (Sarsgaard, going all out), who secures her a lead role in “Deep Throat,” a porn flick that goes on to break box office records and makes Lovelace an unlikely household name. What may have resembled a glamorous life to audiences at the time is revealed to have been a ceaseless nightmare of physical abuse and humiliation in this difficult-to-fully-enjoy drama, an ordeal improved considerably by the uniformly excellent cast, with Hank Azaria, James Franco (offering a memorably loopy take on Hugh Hefner), Robert Patrick and Sharon Stone all standouts in supporting roles. Rated R. Running time:1:33. Suggested retail price: $24.98; Blu-ray $29.99.
NEW TO DVD
“MAD MEN: SEASON SIX,” Jon Hamm, John Slattery. Everybody’s favorite morally questionable ad exec faces the late ’60s with his usual blunt flair in AMC’s ever-popular drama, still far and away one of the best shows on TV. An all-time classic in the making. Not rated. Running time: 10:11. Suggested retail price: $49.98; Blu-ray $49.97.
“UNDER THE DOME,” Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre. Based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, this high-concept adaptation introduces us to the little town of Chester’s Mill, an otherwise ordinary community that wakes up one day to find itself enclosed within the confines of an impenetrable “Dome,” leaving the understandably taken-aback citizens to wonder how, why and what now. A sprawling sci-fi fable that manages to sneak in more than a few political potshots in the process of unfurling its complex tale. Not rated. Running time: 9:01. Suggested retail price: $54.99; Blu-ray $76.99.
NEW TO BLU-RAY
“THE RIGHT STUFF: 30TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION,” Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn. One of the most inexplicable box-office failures of all time, 1983’s “The Right Stuff” is a brilliant docudrama following the seven astronauts of the Mercury Program, including Alan Shepard (Scott Glenn, “Backdraft”), John Glenn (Ed Harris), Chuck Yeager (Sam Shepard) and Gus Grissom (Fred Ward, “Tremors”). The opportunity to watch several beloved but now craggy and ornery character actors at the beginning of their career (you won’t get many other opportunities to refer to Lance Henrickson as “fresh-faced” in this life) is just one of the many pleasures afforded by this groundbreaking, acclaimed film. Rated PG. Running time: 3:13. Suggested retail price: $27.98.
“CLEAR HISTORY,” Larry David, Jon Hamm. Larry David isn’t a performer who benefits from stepping outside his comfort zone. People want to see him overreact to imagined slights and everyday inconveniences, or turn normal conversations into unbelievably awkward social disasters through his own inability to censor himself. That’s what he provides in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and that’s also what he provides in “Clear History,” an HBO original movie that finds David wracked with bitter jealousy when his former boss (Hamm) moves into his neighborhood years after David quit his lucrative job at an electric car company, a decision he made that he still somehow pins on Hamm. So of course it’s time to get a few local goons together (portrayed here by Danny McBride, Bill Hader and Michael Keaton, who make for a reliable updated Three Stooges of sorts) to blow up the guy’s house. And that’s just for starters. Naysayers may point out a lack of versatility, but David knows his strengths and has tailored a vehicle perfectly geared towards them. It’s just funny, pure and simple, with a supporting cast that clearly relishes the opportunity to participate in David’s particular brand of comic insanity. Not rated. Running time: 1:40. Suggested retail price: $19.97; Blu-ray $24.99.
“PARKLAND,” Marcia Gay Harden, Zac Efron. With the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination on the horizon, it only makes sense that filmmakers would return to that well for dramatic re-examination, but it’s unlikely many of them will come across as incisively and skillfully as director Peter Landesman’s “Parkland,” which kicks off with a startlingly immediate re-enactment and follows those most immediately affected by the killing, including Secret Service agents (represented here by Tom Welling, Ron Livingston and Billy Bob Thornton), the doctors who performed the autopsy (Efron and Colin Hanks), and onlookers, memorably embodied by Paul Giamatti as a parade attender with a brand new 8mm and a clear view of the action. Capturing both the look and the emotional atmosphere of the era, “Parkland” can’t hope to touch on every aspect of the event within its relatively tidy 93 minutes, but it’s an effective time machine that ably transports the viewer to a tragic turning point in our nation’s history. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:33. Suggested retail price: $19.99; Blu-ray $29.99.
– Courtesy of Videoport