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article imageReview: Avoiding one’s path isn’t very effective in this week’s releases Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Mar 22, 2020 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include a man whose 15 minutes of fame becomes a nightmare; a boy who overcomes his destiny; a comedian growing closer to his goal; an innovative action movie; and another bear-y cute lesson.
The Courier (Blu-ray)
Untitled
VVS Films
A motorcycle courier (Olga Kurylenko) must fight off a sadistic crime boss (Gary Oldman) in order to protect the one witness that can bring him down.
This is an action movie that primarily unfolds in a parking garage, which provides a lot of hiding spots and chase opportunities. Kurylenko is the badass protagonist risking her life to save that of a stranger. She’s clearly a well-trained operative doing a job she’s way over-qualified for because she’s trying to avoid something from her past. The action scenes are fast-paced, well-choreographed and gripping. The courier uses her surroundings and anything she can find to her advantage. Beginning unarmed, she outsmarts her opponents and gains the trust of their target, who doesn’t have much other choice. He provides some of the comic relief in an otherwise cynical display of dirty cops and power.
Special features include: commentary. (VVS Films)
Crashing: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
Untitled
HBO Home Entertainment
This season, Pete (Pete Holmes) starts to explore what he really wants out of comedy as he grows more assured of his talents, but continues to struggle over finding a happy balance between his old, faith-based self and the new, more ambitious comic he's becoming. While Pete continues to orbit around fellow comic and ex-girlfriend Ali (Jamie Lee), he connects with a new woman, Kat (Madeline Wise), who has a unique perspective on the comedy world as someone not trying to make it big by telling jokes.
Pete’s college tour was a major success, but he still has something to learn about playing to the crowd when he tries to use similar material to impress one of New York’s comedy gatekeepers. However, all his newfound confidence does result in a new girlfriend who is almost his complete opposite. Their relationship introduces Pete to a whole new world that pushes his comfort zone and causes him to question his direction… that and an encounter with a young comic who experiences immediate success. Pete’s comedy has definitely improved and there are a lot of recognizable cameos to keep the laughter going, including the famed Emo Philips. It’s hard to tell where next season might go and even harder to anticipate the hurdles, but it’s sure to be worth the wait.
Special features include: commentaries; “Comedy Highs and Lows”; “Season 3 Crashing on the Set”; and “Crashing Live!” (HBO Home Entertainment)
John Henry (DVD & Digital copy)
Untitled
Paramount Home Entertainment
Ex-gang member John Henry (Terry Crews) is a quiet man with a violent history. John is forced to revisit his troubled past in order to save two immigrant kids on the run from his former gang leader (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges).
When centering a film on a man whose current status is a result of his past, it’d likely be better if his previous actions weren’t kept so secret. Instead, audiences are left constantly guessing why people are shooting at or helping each other until the filmmakers decide to let them in on the secret. Even the kids he’s trying to protect generally lack subtitles so anyone who can’t speak Spanish is left in the dark. In the meantime, Crews plays the strong silent type who carries a big stick over a gun. He suddenly feels the urge to do what he has to do, though this seems like a demon he should’ve confronted a long time ago for the good of everyone. The movie includes a little bit of a lot of things, but it doesn’t do any of the especially well.
There are no special features. (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Nezha (4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray)
Untitled
Well Go USA
A young boy, Nezha, is birthed from a heavenly pearl by the Primeval Lord of Heaven. Born with unique powers, Nezha finds himself as an outcast who is hated and feared. Destined by prophecy to bring destruction to the world, the young boy must choose between good and evil in order to break the shackles of fate and become the hero.
This animated tale is a striking narrative about a boy who is literally restricted from reaching his potential because he frightens people. Rather than teach him to embrace and manage his power, he’s inhibited and secluded. Yet his counterpart, who should’ve been the representative of good between them, has a dark agenda he unleashes on the village. The gods in these stories are always a little kooky and this one is no different as he rides a flying pig and doesn’t seem very celestial. The juxtaposition of the two boys born of the pearls is an interesting one, as is their fates which ends up being determined by their upbringing more than their purpose. It’s a beautifully whimsical picture that will captivate audiences from beginning to end.
There are no special features. (Well Go USA)
Norm of the North: Family Vacation (DVD)
Untitled
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Overwhelmed by his Kingly duties, Norm struggles to make time for both his kingdom and his family. But when his crown is mysteriously stolen in the dead of the night, Norm must embark on an epic journey — disguised as a family vacation. Norm sets out to track down the thief and find his crown, and learns the valuable lesson that by working together as a family, nothing is impossible.
This is another straight-to-home-video chapter of Norm’s reign. It’s not quite as amusing as the others, which may in part be due to some of the usual supporting players having a lesser role in this picture. Nonetheless, it’s a typical Norm adventure in that his naiveté gets him into trouble and someone, in this case the lemmings and his family, have to come to his rescue. This time, instead of leaving the North Pole for a recognizable city, they travel to one created by a brilliant tiger that’s filled with sites unfamiliar to the polar bears and audiences. Perhaps the well is starting to run dry, but fans can hope Norm’s next adventure will be back up to snuff.
There are no special features. (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Richard Jewell (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Untitled
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
This movie tells the story of the security guard (Paul Walter Hauser) who discovers a bomb at the 1996 Atlanta Games and takes swift, heroic action, saving countless lives. But in a turn of events, he becomes the FBI’s number one suspect, vilified by the press and public alike.
Richard’s desire to please the people around him and fit in doesn’t really match his law enforcement ambitions. However, his personality traits also fit the profile of a lone bomber and his deference for authority certainly doesn’t help his case. Luckily, his lawyer (Sam Rockwell) knows how to play hardball and has enough distrust of “the man” for both of them. Unfortunately, getting Richard to stop helping the FBI build a case against him is a difficult task. Over the last couple of years, Hauser has been making an impression on audiences with these odd characters who are socially awkward and entangled in extraordinary situations. Even though the personalities he’s portrayed haven’t varied much, he’s certainly found a niche that works. Director Clint Eastwood’s depiction of Richard’s story is unquestionably siding with the accused, but it’s still a fascinating story with captivating characters who draw in viewers.
Special features include: making-of featurette; and “The Real Story of Richard Jewell.” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Universal Horror Collection Volume 4 (Blu-ray)
Untitled
Scream Factory
Volume 4 includes four tales of terror from the archives of Universal Pictures. An inventor (Boris Karloff) is kidnapped by a gang of burglars and forced to help them commit robberies in Night Key. Bela Lugosi stars in a creepy tale of strange characters, secret passages and a murderer who masters the art of “mind over matter” in Night Monster. In The Climax, a mad doctor’s (Karloff) insane jealousy over a beautiful opera singer may drive him to murder. A giant of a man is used as an instrument of evil by a mad sculptor in House of Horrors.
While none of the characters in these pictures are classic horror icons, their tales all make an impression. In Night Key, the inventor of a “state-of-the-art” security system sets out to prove to the profiteer hawking his work that he should heed his warnings and give him what he deserves. Unfortunately, the wrong people get wind of his high-tech lock-picking skills, putting everyone in danger. In Night Monster, the whodunnit may not have entirely surprising answers for modern audiences, but it’s still a classic mystery with many new arrivals in an ill-fated house. Viewers may wish the people around the young opera singer were wiser, but Karloff’s mad doctor is unsettlingly persistent. Finally, the House of Horrors is similar to A Bucket of Blood, but perhaps the more interesting aspect is the bonus feature about the film’s unique looking star and his characterized career.
Special features include: commentary with film historians; “The Creeper – Rondo Hatton at Universal”; still galleries; and theatrical trailers. (Scream Factory)
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