DVDs: ‘Ender’s Game’ doesn’t live up to potential
A wide range of DVDs hit stores this week, just in time for Valentine’s Day gifts.
• “Ender’s Game,” C-minus: Adults have figured out that youngsters have a better aptitude for the kind of high-tech battles that are going to be waged. The trick is to find the one gamer who has both the skill and the strategy to lead a pre-emptive strike.
The script by director Gavin Hood and Orson Scott Card spends more time on preparation than participation. What should have been the movie’s huge emotional moment ends up flat because of the way the story is built.
• “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” B-plus: When Mike Tyson was pounding opponents in the boxing ring, it was those on the other end of his gloves feeling the pain. In this one-man show directed by Spike Lee, it’s Tyson who reveals all of the pain in his life. And his truthful recounting is compelling.
Tyson talks about everything from his broken family upbringing to how family has changed his life. He shows a funny and tender side recounting the events that made him one of the greatest heavyweight champions and also one of the most notorious figures in sports history.
• “G.B.F.” B-minus: A Gay Best Friend is the latest high school fad, and no school queen bee is completely worthy of being worshipped until she has one. The only problem is that in this high school, no one has come out.
That changes when Tanner (Michael Willett) is outed. He becomes the focus of three girls who are convinced that having Tanner as a friend will make them a lock for prom queen.
Director Darren Stein’s 1999 production “Jawbreaker” is a dark comedy about what happens when the prom queen gets accidentally killed. “G.B.F.” would have benefited from a little of the black humor that made “Jawbreaker” work so well.
Also new on DVD:
“Best Man Holiday”: College friends get together over Christmas.
“Hetty Wainthropp Investigates: The Complete Collection”: BBC detective series starring Patricia Routledge.
“Grace Unplugged”: Teen’s faith and family ties are put to the test when her dreams start to come true.
“A Night in the Woods”: Camping adventure turns into a terror trip.
“The Armstrong Lie”: Documentary on cyclist’s rise and fall from grace.
“The Red Skelton Show: The Lost Episodes”: Features 16 episodes previously unreleased on DVD.
“Dallas: Complete Second Season”: Includes final episodes with Larry Hagman.
“Afternoon Delight”: A bored woman finds an unexpected friendship in an unlikely place.
“Sherlock: Season Three”: Modern take on the classic detective series.
“Festival Express”: Concert film featuring The Band, Grateful Dead.
“The King Family Classic Television Specials Collection Volume 1”: Includes “Easter with The King Family” and “Mother’s Day with The King Family.”
“Newhart: The Complete Second Season”: New Yorker (Bob Newhart) runs a small B&B in Vermont.
“Swamp People: Season 4”: More gator hunting adventures.
“Jewtopia”: Jewish and gentile unite in a search for love.
“Diana”: Naomi Watts plays the Princess of Wales.
“Wadjda”: A girl is determined to challenge traditional women’s roles in Saudi Arabia.
“All is Lost”: Man (Robert Redford) faces the deadly sea alone.
“And Then There Was You”: Wife learns her husband has a secret life.
“How I Live Now”: Explores themes of survival, self-sufficiency and love.
“Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer”: Documentary follows the group’s arrests, trials and sentencing.
“Sorority Party Massacre”: College girls share a dangerous secret.
“Hindenburg – The Last Flight”: Fictional account of the devastating accident.
“Austenland”: Women finds herself in a Jane Austen world.
“Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon”: Dee Renjie’s beginnings in the Imperial police force.