Sometimes it’s a dilemma: what DVD should you rent or what movie should you stream or order-on-demand? Do you want a date flick, an action caper, or a goofy comedy? Weekly Surge is here to help with our reviews of recent at-home movie releases, which we’ve watched from the comfort of that favorite recliner.
Since the Academy Awards first started giving Oscars for the Best Animated Feature in 2001, Pixar has saved Disney’s ass. In the previous 12 years, Pixar has won the award seven times, and never once did a Disney film in the classic mold bring home any gold. That is until now. Not only is this Disney in the classic sense, it’s also an old school musical. Co-directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee combine Hans Christian Andersen with some princesses and a bunch of dramatic and fun songs, and processed the whole thing through some glitzy animation. But it’s really brought to life by the playful voices of Kristen Bell, and “Glee” actors Idina Menzel and Jonathan Groff. But a snowman named Olaf, voiced by comic actor Josh Gad, steals the show. But it’s not like this is a secret – this flick killed at the box office. There’s enough newness in the story to not make it cookie-cutter, and warmth in it to the point of being really worth a watch.
Director Ken Scott remakes his own French-Canadian film, “Starbuck.” The story is a pretty common one – 20 years ago, a man anonymously donates enough sperm to father 533 children, and now, 142 of those kids are suing to find out the identity of the donor. What’s a donor to do? Try to be an anonymous dad – that’s what. The great thing about Vince Vaughn is he knows who he is as an actor, and he doesn’t try to stretch too much. He’s just a smartass from Chicago, who can be charming and unassuming when he wants to be. This film allows Vaughn to do a little of everything he’s good at, and not have to reach for the unattainable. He is also given a capable buddy to bounce lines off of in Chris Pratt. And yes, there’s a bit of a clunky love interest with Cobie Smulders. It still delivers on a feel-good comedy level that’s worth a watch.
If you grew up watching action movies in the ‘80s, you were always hoping for films like this one – a Stallone/Schwarzenegger team-up. “The Expendables” should’ve been an ’80’s action fan’s wet dream, but instead, those films offered tired plots and flabby casts of B-movie actors to fill the time between one-liners. So when they pare the cast down to these two giants of yesteryear, with decades of successful experience under their gun-belts, how can any action fan miss this one? Well, there are two reasons why. First, these two were never good actors to begin with and together they’re horrible. And the second reason, and we can’t say this one enough, the plot is horrible. The only redeeming factor of this movie is the name recognition alone, and that’s sad. Actors get older. After awhile, their films go straight to video. There’s no shame in it. The world needs B-movies, but let’s not pretend it’s an A-list event. Make a plan to escape this one – pass.
Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge