Recliner Reviews for Aug. 14, 2014

08/13/2014 2:41 PM

08/13/2014 2:43 PM

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.

“Oculus”

From the preview, you may say, “I saw this film already, and it was called ‘Mirrors,’ and it was horrible.” Yes, the premise is pretty much the same – demons reside in mirrors and possess people and blah, blah, blah. But here’s the difference between that movie and this movie – this one is decent. Young up-and-coming actors Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites give tight and tense performances. Journeyman actors Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff do just enough to make the scenes eventful. It’s a small film with a small cast. The beauty of this movie is it doesn’t ever try to do too much or explain everything. That’s the trick of a good horror film - give the audience enough to keep them ahead of the victims, but always leave them guessing, during and after the credits. It’s not great, but there are noble reflections that make it worth a watch.

“Need for Speed”

Actor Aaron Paul is trying to transition from his super-success on “Breaking Bad.” So, back off him, bitch! For his first big film, post-Jesse Pinkman, he went for a video game adaptation. That leaves us asking, hmm? On closer inspection, it makes sense. Car movies are hot right now, the faster the better. And the poor underdog taking on the spoiled villain never goes out of style. The talented Dominic Cooper plays the spoiled villain. The uber-cute Imogen Poots is the love interest. It’s directed by stuntman/director Scott Waugh, whose previous directing credit was the dismal “Act of Valor.” They try to put a cool team together, to make this feel like a heist film with cool chemistry. But unfortunately, Paul is the only aspect of this movie that’s able to steal any scenes, and there are more than one flat-tire performances along the way. “Need for Speed” needs more than speed and Paul’s charisma – pass.

“Winter's Tale”

Damn confusing…that’s what can be said for most of this film. It would probably be safe to say that of the 118-minute running time, you’ll be asking what the hell is going on for at least 59 minutes of it. Here are a few little snippets of what you’re in for with this film – Colin Farrell as an immortal cat burglar, Russell Crowe as a demon, Will Smith as Satan, a Pegasus in Manhattan, gothic mansions, arctic winds, love conquering all, yada-yada-yada. This is the directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman. But someone should tell him just because some people want to see epic romance movies that string together a bunch of ideas about ever-endearing love doesn’t make it epic, nor does it make much sense. For a tale about the winter, this is a whole lot of hot air – pass.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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