new films

‘John Wick,’ ‘Dracula Untold’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Keanu Reeves has always had a limited range, but he’s solid when tapped for the right role, and he’s particularly good with action. “John Wick” plays to the actor’s strengths, giving him a part that requires both impressive athleticism and old-fashioned movie star charisma. The film focuses on its title character (Reeves), a former assassin who retired to a more peaceful existence after finding the love of his life.

Deadpan Humor, Acerbic Wit Are Main Themes of Quirky Rom-Com ‘Appropriate Behavior’

Angelo Franco

In her screenwriting and directorial debut, Desiree Akhavan’s Appropriate Behavior is engrossing, provocative, and entirely inappropriate. Laced with Akhavan’s unquestionable flare for frames and motion (or lack thereof), the film explores the depths of sexuality within a cultural context, posing realities that are heartbreakingly honest and widely unexplored, often at the same time.  

Jean-Paul Salome’s ‘Playing Dead’ Offers a Comedic Take on Solving Crime

Gabriella Tutino

In Playing Dead, Jean Renault is a recent unemployed actor—he has a reputation for being high maintenance and unpleasant to work with on set. After meeting with his agent, he is given the opportunity to re-enact murders for law enforcement. And so, Jean finds himself in Megeve, in the Alps, playing dead for the murders of the Beauchatel brothers.

‘Boyhood,’ ‘Get On Up’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Look beyond the production hype, the five Golden Globe nominations and the appearances on numerous top-10 film lists, and one finds an intimate relationship drama that follows a boy and girl from childhood to young adulthood. The primary focus is on Mason (Ellar Coltrane), but the movie also looks at the most important people in Mason’s life. They include his sister, Samantha (Lerelei Linklater, the director’s daughter); their mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette); and his father, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke). 

‘The Equalizer,’ ‘Tusk’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

There’s nothing inventive about director Antoine Fuqua’s big-screen adaptation of the 1980s TV drama “The Equalizer,” but it is plenty entertaining. Most of the credit goes to Denzel Washington, an actor who can take any role to unexpected heights. In “The Equalizer,” he plays Robert McCall, a former special-forces officer who has retired to a quiet life working at a retail store. 

‘Magic in the Moonlight,’ ‘This Is Where I Leave You’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Bateman, Fey, Fonda and Rose Byrne (in a supporting role) give the film energy and star power, and their lesser-known co-stars are just as solid. The primary failing of “This Is Where I Leave You” is the fact that there’s so much going on. While all families have drama, Levy’s film piles one unlikely scenario atop another until viewers are left with a teetering monster that strains all credibility. Viewers who can suspend disbelief and enjoy the craziness will have a good time, but those expecting subtlety will be disappointed.  

New Film Celebrates the Life of Altina, the Woman Behind the Harlequin Glasses

Sandra Bertrand

Altina, a film by Peter Sanders, is a documentary valentine to his artist grandmother.  It may not solve the riddle about the woman behind the cat’s eye frames she invented, but it’s a lively enough pastiche of the turbulent 20th century she inhabited.  Through newsreels, archival home videos and close-up glimpses from some of the people whose lives she touched, we can enjoy the journey.  

‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘Calvary’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Although “Guardians” is a Marvel Comics property, it lacks the name recognition of staple heroes, like “Spider-Man,” “Iron Man” and “Captain America.” It also relegates its most marketable stars (Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel) to roles where their faces are hidden. Ultimately, the perceived marketing issues don’t matter because the movie – a wild mix of comedy and science-fiction – is a blast, and theatrical audiences figured that out right away. 

‘The Hundred-Foot Journey,’ ‘Planet of the Apes’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Director Matt Reeves takes over for “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” a sequel that maintains the themes of the original while placing a greater focus on action and spectacle. That type of shift has the potential to doom a franchise, but Reeves’ work is so good that he takes the series to new heights. “Dawn” is more exciting and action-packed than it’s predecessor, but it’s also exceedingly smart, and it features an Oscar-worthy, motion-capture performance by Andy Serkis. 

’22 Jump Street,’ ‘If I Stay’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

When “21 Jump Street” hit theaters in 2012 it was a delightful surprise. The film – a comedic, big-screen re-imagining of the 1980s and early ’90s television series – was witty, unexpected and creative. It also marked the pleasant introduction of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as a comedy duo. With “22 Jump Street,” returning directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller continue the fun, producing a movie with a likable plot.

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