• “Million Dollar Arm,” B-minus: Sports agent (Jon Hamm) travels to India to find the next great major-league pitcher.
There’s a natural energy that comes out of sports movies – especially those dealing with baseball – that makes them easy to like: the pulsating beat of competition blended with endearing human stories. The latest offering in the genre has its engaging moments, but the sports part of the story is the least interesting.
It’s a case of hating the game but liking the players.
• “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” B-minus: A woman helps a coward find his courage and learn to shoot a gun. Charlize Theron stars.
If Seth MacFarlane ever corrects the bad habits he’s developed as a director, he could become the Mel Brooks of the 21st century. He already has the same kind of quirky, weird and often outrageous sense of humor Brooks displayed in so many comic films. He even has similar pacing when it comes to setting up jokes.
The big difference, as so blatantly shown in this film, is that MacFarlane never knows when to move on from a joke, often leaving it to die a slow death or go from smart to juvenile.
• “Edge of Tomorrow,” B-plus: The fate of the world depends on what a man can learn as he repeats the same day.
Maj. William Cage (Tom Cruise), a master of public relations, is roped into being on the front lines of a battle with alien invaders where the fate of the world comes down to one big showdown.
Cruise redeems himself for the slow-moving sci-fi offering “Oblivion.”
• “Obvious Child,” C-minus: Give writer/director Gillian Robespierre credit for even attempting to make a romantic comedy built around a woman’s decision to have an abortion. The film’s slow pacing and spirited banter makes it feel like a perfect entry for a small film festival.
Also new on DVD
“Sleeping Beauty”: The animated Disney film is being re-released on Blu-ray.
“The Great Train Robbery”: Story of the 1963 heist from the perspectives of both the criminals and the police.
“Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart”: Adaptation of Mathias Malzieu novel.
“American Horror Story: Coven”: Miss Robichaux’s Academy witches are under assault.
“Ava & Lala”: Young girl befriends a tiger-like creature.
“Power Rangers: In Space, Vol. 2”: Set contains the final 21 episodes of the series.
“Still Life: A Three Pines Mystery”: Based on the book by Louise Penny.
“The Almighty Johnsons Season 1”: Johnson brothers are descendants of Norse gods.
“Hemlock Grove: The Complete First Season”: In a small Pennsylvania town, something evil has come in search of prey.
“Roger & Me”; Documentary about the tough times in Flint, Michigan, is being re-released for 25th anniversary.
“Republic of Doyle, Season 2”: Canadian mystery features a father and son sleuthing team.
“School Dance”: Nick Cannon directs this comedy.
“In the Flesh: Season Two”: Zombies continue to adjust to life among the living.
“The Little Penguin: Pororo’s Racing Adventure”: Pororo chases dream of being super sled champion.
“Breaking at the Edge”: Woman faces pregnancy complications from strange events.
“The Following: The Complete Second Season”: Includes 15 episodes of the Kevin Bacon thriller.
“Adventure Time: The Complete Fourth Season”: All 26 episodes of the animated series.
“Duck Dynasty: Season 6”: Robertson family is up to its old tricks.
“Houdini”: Adrien Brody stars in the look at the famous escape artist.
“Alien: 35th Anniversary Edition”: Ridley Scott film on Blu-ray.
“Tasting Menu”: Group gathers for closing of a restaurant.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”: First season of Nickelodeon’s CGI-animated series.
“Rick and Morty: The Complete First Season”: Eleven episodes of the Adult Swim series are included.
“Perry Mason Movie Collection: Volume 4”: Six TV movies are in the set.
“Good Witch’s Charm”: Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell) is back to her bewitching ways.
“The Devil Incarnate”: Dreams of newlyweds are crushed.
“Ancient Aliens: Season 6, Volume 1”: Digs deeper into role aliens may have played in shaping our world.
“The Legend of Lizzie Borden”: Elizabeth Montgomery stars in the 1975 TV movie.
“Frontline: Losing Iraq”: Looks at what went wrong and what happens now.
“PAW Patrol: Winter Rescues”: Pups go on seven missions.
“Vikings: Season 2”: Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) longs to find and conquer new lands across the sea.
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