A ghoulish hotel, weird buddies and a nostalgic look at airlines are part of this week’s new DVD releases.
• “Hotel Transylvania,” Grade C-plus: Dracula (Adam Sandler) has created a hotel for monsters that he believes is completely hidden from the human world. His main motivation for the creepiest lodging this side of “Psycho” is his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez). Dracula promised his wife that he would keep their daughter safe, but that’s getting more difficult now that she’s 118 and ready to see the world.
The computer-generated animation from director Genndy Tartakovsky is safe. From the hotel to the local village, the film is visually fine. But it doesn’t paint a grand picture. That’s a disappointment considering the inspired animation Tartakovsky used to create “Dexter’s Laboratory.”
There’s nothing great about “Hotel Transylvania.” But there’s also nothing really wrong with the film.
• “Seven Psychopaths,” Grade A-minus: A struggling screenwriter gets involved with Los Angeles’ criminal underworld.
The focal point for the movie’s oddball insanity is Marty (Colin Farrell), a writer who’s creatively blocked. All he has is a title for his next book – “Seven Psychopaths” – and a best friend, Billy (Sam Rockwell), who splits his time between stealing dogs with Hans (Christopher Walken) and trying to be part of Marty’s next book.
No one plays psychopath better than Rockwell. His actions are crazy. But no matter how bizarre he gets, there’s something about the character that is extremely likable. It’s a similar formula that Walken has used over the years. Bringing Rockwell and Walken together is like an awards ceremony for the Psychopathic Characters Hall of Fame.
The film has two huge things going for it – a superb script by writer/director Martin McDonagh and the best cast of screwball con men who shoot to thrill since “The Usual Suspects.” Both turn what would have been a rather tepid tale of dognapping-gone-bad into crazy fun.
• “Pan Am: The Complete Series,” Grade B-minus: The short-lived ABC high-flying drama follows a group of young flight attendants during the early 1960s. It was a time when you could carry more than three ounces of a liquid, didn’t have to go through security to get on board and could smoke until the cabin looked like a Tule fog.
The show works as a spy story – it’s set when the biggest threat to the United States was Russia – that’s full of opportunities for stories dealing international espionage, and also as a soap opera with wings.
Also new on DVD this week:
“Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2”: Next entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe animated original movies.
“Downton Abbey: Season 3”: Hugh Bonneville stars in the British series.
“Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season”: Cable series where women rule.
“The Awakening”: The death of a child is blamed on a ghost. Rebecca Hall stars.
“Poirot & Marple: Fan Favorites Collection”: David Suchet plays Poirot.
“Paranormal Activity 4”: Cameras capture odd events in a house.
“Charlie’s Angels: The Complete Fifth Season”: Jaclyn Smith stars in the TV crime drama.
“Wodehouse Playhouse Complete”: Includes all three series of the BBC comedy.
“That Obscure Object of Desire”: An aging Frenchman falls in love with a young woman.
“Bangkok Assassins”: Four boys use their martial arts skills.
“Misfits: Season Two”: Five unruly teens must do community service.
“My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - Pinkie Pie Party”: Includes five awesome parties.
“The Cold Light of Day”: Wall Street trader doesn’t know who he can trust.
“Nobody Gets Out Alive”: Man’s life is turned upside down when his daughter is killed by a drunk driver.
“The Duellists”: Two officers in Napoleon’s army confront each other in a series of duels.
“To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America”: Documentary about a man’s effort to help the working poor.
“Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West!”: Includes characters from “Bubble Guppies,” “Team Umizoomi” and “Dora the Explorer.”
“Liability”: To pay his debts, a man becomes a driver for a killer. Tim Roth stars.
“Amy Schumer: Mostly Sex Stuff”: Comedian’s first special.
“Amazing Ocean 3D”: A look at the ocean depths.
“Hey Arnold! Season Three”: Includes 19 original episodes.
“Madly Madagascar”: TV special featuring the wacky zoo buddies.