Recliner Reviews for Aug. 21, 2014

08/19/2014 11:14 AM

08/19/2014 11:15 AM

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.

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

The new Spider-Man franchise has taken a hit by most critics, panned for being unneeded and heavy on the schmaltz. But with the explosion of superhero films in theaters every summer, why wouldn't the web-slinger get his turn? This adaptation, helmed by Marc Webb, keeps more to the storyline of the original comics. Brit actor Andrew Garfield proved in the first film he had Spidey sense when it comes to portraying Peter Parker, and he proves it again. His chemistry with real-life girlfriend Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy makes it feel like a rom-com that happens to have Spider-Man in it. But superhero films are always judged by super villains. And here, we have three – Electro (Jamie Foxx), Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan), and Rhino (Paul Gaimatti). It's a mixed bag – Foxx tries too hard. DeHaan is too emo, and Gaimatti is too cartoonish. But in the end, all three add fun-filled fight scenes, which is the only reason why you're watching in the first place. Throw in some Sally Field (as Aunt May) to keep it all creditable, and you’ve got an action film that everyone should stop bitching about and simply enjoy – worth a watch.

“Blue Ruin”

So many indie films come at you with a stylish revenge tale. Filmmakers will splash some blood across the screen with art-house cinematography, throw in some whip-smart dialogue, keep it gritty and call it indie. But writer/director Jeremy Saulnier does something remarkable by allowing this film to take on the identity of actor Macon Blair, who acts rather unremarkable. The results are a nail-biting affair where Blair's subtle performance transforms a pitiful/laughable character into a man audiences can cheer for. The scenes move swiftly. There's plenty of grit. But there's no pretension. Saulnier and Blair lay it all out in the open and dare you to blink. It's one of those small, unforgettable movies. Far from a ruin, this one is a dirty work of art and worth a watch.

“The Other Woman”

Who are these perfect people roaming around Manhattan, and why must we watch so many movies about them? This little warm-up film for a ladies-night-out is from the director of "The Notebook," Nick Cassavetes. Now, Cassavetes has made two films that women might enjoy when they come down with a cold or line up a movie marathon. All that might sound sexist, if you haven't seen this film. To its credit, that's the only thing this film gets right, allowing the script to be playful with the roles of women. But in the process, it also makes convenient generalizations of every other stereotype it comes in contact with – the young bimbo, the horny old men, the sensitive artist. Plus, we are introduced to Nicki Minaj as an actress, and how fast she can single-handedly destroy a scene. There are no sparks firing for Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton. Only Mann's neurotic ramblings manage to keep this thing interesting, but not incredibly interesting – pass.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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