“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”
Hugh Jackman may be the contractual star of this Marvel Comics-inspired production, which explores the history of one of Marvel’s most popular and conflicted heroes, but technology is what makes the movie what it is – a film with the personality of a $150 million video game.
The story starts in 1845, in darkest Canada, where young brothers James and Victor see the man they think is their father gunned down. Before the intruder can spit out what he has come to tell them, he gets skewered on the irate James’ nascent bone claws.
Throughout history, James (Jackman) and Victor (Liev Schreiber) kick major enemy butt together. Victor/Sabretooth is always the more sadistic of the two and James (aka Logan, aka Wolverine) constantly has to rein him in. But you can see where this is going: conflict. (1:47; PG-13 for violence, intense action and fleeting nudity)
This traditional English comedy of manners is cut from the same drapery as “Gosford Park” and any Oscar Wilde film adaptation, minus the thematic heft and belly laughs of either. But for those thirsty for an unchallenging diversion, this may be your cup of tea.
The English countryside is lovely, after all, and so are the actors: Kristin Scott Thomas as the cold matriarch Mrs. Whittaker, Colin Firth as her uncouth husband and Ben Barnes as their dapper son John. John recently married an American (heavens!) who’s also a famous race-car driver with an accomplished sexual resume (gracious!).
What might’ve been a scrumptious, chocolatey dessert of a movie – a Noel Coward delight – is instead a scoop of lemon ice, not filling, faintly sweet and mostly water. (1:33; PG-13 for sexual content, smoking and brief partial nudity)
“Next Day Air”
Benny Boom’s flimsy comedy is fascinated by the mechanics of drug distribution, but, like its pot-addled protagonists, is easily distracted.
When a doofus deliveryman (Donald Faison) accidentally delivers cocaine to a jittery, fast-talking hood named Guch (Wood Harris) and his partner Brody (Mike Epps), the two small-timers can’t believe their good luck. “God sent this!” marvels Brody.
But soon a brutal California drug lord (Emilio Rivera) is threatening his underlings with death if they don’t track down the shipment.
As its appealing cast spreads across Philadelphia, the film settles into a heavy-lidded comic groove. But it screeches to a halt once all its characters come together in a gruesome, overcrowded final showdown that leaves few standing at the end. (1:30; R for pervasive language, drug content, violence and brief sexuality)
Also available: “An American Werewolf in London: Full Moon Edition,” “Army of Darkness: Screwhead Edition,” “The Big Bang Theory: Complete Second Season,” “Bonanza: Official First Season, Vol. 1 & 2,” “Doctor Who: The Next Doctor,” “Fame” (1980 movie), “Fame: Complete Seasons One and Two,” “Grey’s Anatomy: Complete Fifth Season,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season Four”
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