by Rebecca Kelley
What to do as we roll toward big summer movies? Catch a flick at home with XFINITY On Demand or head to the theater? We’re here to break down the options. Click on the movie titles for more information about ordering On Demand or buying tickets online through Fandango. Be careful out there, kids.
What’s On Demand?
Stephanie (Katherine Heigl) needs work. So, naturally, she becomes a bounty hunter for a bail bondsman. Because, why not? And, again naturally, her first big case involves her ex from high school.
Our take: Words fail me. No. For the love of god, no.
Mommy killed a bunch of people and got locked up in an asylum. But was it mommy, or the demons inside mommy? Her grown daughter aims to find out.
Our take: “Found footage” + a M.I.A. ending = a movie that is best avoided.
When a pack of burly, tough oilfield workers crash in Alaska, they’re up against the cold, wind, snow and lack of food. But their biggest enemy is a pack of wolves. Liam Neeson plays the leader of the pack – the human pack, that is.
Our take: Surprisingly effective for what it is, this movie lacks big-time special effects, but makes up for it in other ways. Neeson is fantastic and the rest of the cast rises to meet him. The film is suspenseful and tense on one level. On another, it becomes a metaphor for life and death, pointing out that what we believe in the safety of a warm home is very different than what we believe when confronted by death. Death is a wolf that stalks us all. Trippy.
Three teen boys are changed by a meteor into three teen boys with superpowers. At first, they just do what boys do, but enhanced. Sports take on a whole new level, girls are easier to impress. But teen angst and daddy issues enter a different dimension when the teen can, say, crush cars with his mind. Suddenly, each boy has to decide if he will use his power for good or for self.
Our take: We thought we’d seen everything about the superhero concept, but this film approaches it in a new and fresh way. The young actors are fantastic and the direction is a new-ish take on the “found footage” genre by using camcorders, phones, security cameras, police dash cameras and iPads to tell the tale. Most of all, the characters are completely relatable, and makes you love superheroes all over again. This surprise hit is one of the best movies of the year so far.
What’s in Theaters?
Sacha Baron Cohen leaves his “Borat” and “Bruno” ways by making a movie with actors instead of unsuspecting dupes. He plays the dictator of Wadiya, a fictional North African country, who finds himself without an identity on the streets of New York, as his assistant schemes with his body-double to bring democracy to the oil-rich nation. We can’t have that happening, now, can we?
Our take: Cohen merrily offends everyone in this surprisingly substantial political satire. Although he includes his “I can’t believe he went there” scatological humor, it generally falls flat, while the political humor is sharp and effective. Sending up dictators, Cohen defends democracy as hairy-armpitted (it makes sense in the film) and stinky, but still the best thing we’ve got. Hilarious and smart, this one is a winner, if you can take Cohen’s gross-out humor in stride.
Four couples are looking forward to adding a baby to their families, but life doesn’t always play out the way you planned it. One couple finds out dad and his young, hot wife are having a baby too. Another couple only just started dating. And one thing’s for sure – the babies are coming and everybody had better get ready.
Our take: Although it deserves some credit for including unplanned pregnancy and adoption storylines, this movie just doesn’t make the cut. The script is sappy with no real insight, the gags are tired, the jokes are cliché and the acting from an ensemble cast is so-so at best. Although there are a few sweet moments, the movie feels emotionless. Some women will like it. Men will run away (fast), and there’s no blame in that.
What’s that in the ocean? Why, it’s an invading alien force. Good thing the boys and girls of the U.S. Navy are there to blast it out of the water, eventually.
Our take: Loud and not particularly intelligent, this movie scratches the summer blockbuster itch. Things blow up. Other things blow up. We all leave happy, if not edified. “Battleship” earns extra points for honoring the veterans of the United States Navy at the beginning and, again, later in the film. If nothing else, it is a fine, explosive salute to our men and women at sea.
Ticket or Click It?
Click It! If you missed “Chronicle” in theaters, you have a chance to make it right with XFINITY On Demand. It’s an excellent, fun movie.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.