Romance for the young and not so young top this week’s new DVD releases. • “If I Stay,” B-plus: A teen (Chloë Grace Moretz) must decide between life and death.
Director R.J. Cutler’s film of Gayle Forman’s best-selling novel is a complex examination of how love takes many forms and each version can bring its own heart-lifting highs and heartbreaking lows. How we deal with it is what shapes us as human beings and serves as the blueprint of the film.
“If I Stay” never falls into an emotional funk. Cutler flows between the present and the past to show the teen’s loving connection to her family, music and friends in her life. This design makes it difficult to predict where this story will end, an accomplishment considering the limited options.
Stacy Keach turns in the performance of his career.
• “And So It Goes,” C: Veteran real estate agent faces being a grandfather.
The combination of Academy Award winners Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton with Oscar-nominated director Rob Reiner should add up to something more magical than this bland offering.
What keeps this mature romantic comedy from being a winner is a script by Mark Andrus that starts out vapid and barely rises to mediocre. Douglas and Keaton give it their best shot as two bickering New England neighbors. Their best isn’t enough.
• “Into the Storm,” C-minus: Group fights to survive when a supertornado hits.
This is the latest attempt to pull off the “found footage” style, but it stumbles so often it takes a lot of wind out of the sails of this film about massive tornadoes.
Couple that with some absurd dialogue and scenes that look like they were lifted out of another movie, and this movie is little more than a cheesy cable film with a lot more money to spend and a lot fewer sharks.
• “The Wind Rises,” A-minus: Animated film about a young man who finds magic in flight. It would be a great loss if this does end up being Hayao Miyazaki’s last movie.
There hasn’t been an animator since Walt Disney who understands as deeply how to make his work become more than just a projection of light and sound. Animation is an art form that’s lifted to amazing heights when in the hands of a master craftsman like Miyazaki.
Also new on DVD
“Power Rangers Megaforce: Robo Knight Before Christmas:” One Power Ranger goes on a journey to find the true meaning of Christmas.
“Reclaim:” Adoption leads couple into battle with man running human-trafficking ring. John Cusack stars.
“Three Dogateers:” Three dogs fend for themselves a few days before Christmas.
“Housebound:” Woman forced to stay in the home her mother is convinced is haunted.
“Ragnarok:” Archaeologist looks for proof to myth about the end of the world.
“Northpole:” Santa’s home is in trouble.
“Jeff Dunham: All Over the Map:” Stand-up comedy special featuring Dunham.
“Masterpiece: Worricker: Turks & Caicos:” Sun, sand and CIA are themes of Johnny’s (Bill Nighy ) retirement on a Caribbean island.
“The Jimmy Wang Yu Collection:” Includes four martial arts movies.
“Brazilian Western:” Film adaptation of the song “Faroeste Caboclo.”
“The Dark Half:” George A. Romero film based on the Stephen King novel.
“Frozen Sing-Along Edition:” Bouncing snowflake helps you follow the lyrics.
“Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings:” Five teens resurrect a demon.
“Masterpiece: Worricker: Salting the Battlefields:” Johnny (Bill Nighy ) manages to stay a step ahead of an international dragnet.
“Kiki’s Delivery Service:” Enterprising young girl who must follow tradition to become a full-fledged witch.
“Monkey Shines:” Paralyzed man uses monkey to get revenge.
“The Paradise: Season Two:” Britain’s first department store re-opens its doors for a second season.
“Women of the Bible:” Examination of influential and inspiring women in the Bible.
“As the Light Goes Out:” Firefighters battle to save Hong Kong.
“Wolfblood Season 2:” Series about high school students who are part human, part wolf.
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