New Releases for Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Directed by: Eran Creevy
Run time: 99 minutes
The Lowdown: Collide is a film at war with itself.
By its very box art, Collide screams mediocre, cookie-cutter, paint-by-numbers; but watching it, you can’t help but feel that Collide was meant to be more.
The film’s uneven tone bolsters this belief, as do the flashes of visual creativity that appear randomly and make a memorable splash, like raindrops that have grown too heavy to hang suspended from an awning eave and fall just as you walk underneath.
It’s like director/co-writer Eran Creevy just watched True Romance for the first time and was instantly inspired, but once he got behind the camera, he began second-guessing his every decision.
How else to explain the early sit-down face-off between acting titans Ben Kingsley and Sir Anthony Hopkins, which should have set off fireworks to rival a Fourth of July celebration on the National Mall, but instead sputters along fitfully, paling in comparison to similar screen encounters between Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken or Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro.
Even Felicity Jones, who was nominated for an Oscar, can’t escape the wreckage. She looks like she’s acting, bringing none of the energy or effortlessness she mustered for The Theory of Everything or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Collide isn’t a bad movie. It’s watchable in the way that you can stop channel-surfing on an old episode of a familiar show and not feel the need to fully focus on the story unfolding while you complete whatever task was already underway.
Sometimes, that’s enough to ask when you simply want to get lost for 90 minutes. But lately, with all the craziness in the air, it’s not enough to truly provide an escape.
The Stuff You Care About: Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – No. Gore – No.
Drug use – Yes.
Bad Guys/Killers – Anthony Hopkins, chewing scenery like a lawnmower.
Buy/Rent – Rent.
Hart to Hart: The Complete Series (Shout! Factory, 5,300 minutes, Unrated, DVD): How funny it is to go back and re-watch a show that once was must-see, primetime viewing, and realize just how far-fetched the show’s premise was.
Hart to Hart, created by Sidney Sheldon, was the epitome of pretty TV and the embodiment of fast-food viewing. But that didn’t stop myself and millions of others from tuning in each week to catch the next crazy predicament that Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers encountered as Jonathan and Jennifer Hart.
He was a billionaire and she was a freelance journalist at a time when journalism still mattered. Together, they solved crimes and looked fabulous while doing it, even when they needed help from their trusty butler/chauffeur/girl Friday, Max (Lionel Stander). You never believed that anything bad would actually happen to them, and you simply accepted that each episode might end with the Harts in bed, snuggling and cuddling, as if life was exactly as it was meant to be, regardless of the gunfire, international espionage and stacks of dead bodies waiting to be discovered.
This compact collection includes the pilot and 110 episodes from all five seasons, which aired from 1979 to 1984.
Before I Fall (Universal, 99 minutes, PG-13, Blu-Ray): Before I Fall gets credit for tackling a thorny subject – mean girls and high school bullying – but it fails to capitalize on its built-in sci-fi hook (what if you could go back to the day you die and recognize all the things you had been doing wrong?) and instead follows a predictable Groundhog Day-esque blueprint toward inevitable enlightenment.
The main problem with Before I Fall is that none of the central characters are very likable, particularly Samantha, which is a problem lead actress Zoey Deutch can’t overcome. That’s a shame because Deutch has genuine talent.
One positive note is the film’s soundtrack, an impressive collection of dark and danceable songs by a host of current bands.
Fist Fight (Warner Bros., 91 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): It’s like somewhere there’s a quota that demands each year to be filled. For every smart, hilarious, original comedy that gets released, Hollywood studios must subject fans to an equally ridiculous, high-concept affair that barely manages to tickle a funny bone, much less induce a genuine guffaw.
Fist Fight is frustrating that way because its two leads, Ice Cube and Charlie Day, are both very funny performers. And the supporting cast is sprinkled with some strong comedians, including Jillian Bell and Tracy Morgan.
But instead of inciting a laugh riot, Fist Fight seems content to play it safe, opting for a series of low-hanging scenarios and obvious pratfalls instead of delving into more sophisticated and nuanced humor.
Evil Ed: Limited Edition (Arrow Video, 93 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): This 1995 Swedish import is a blast of gore and gross-out gags that manages to avoid the pitfalls of puerile excess and still tell a compelling story.
Whether there’s an underlying message to horror fans – watching too much madness for too long can cause serious damage to the viewer – is debatable. Thankfully, our hero, mild-mannered Eddie Tor Swenson, isn't immune to the influence of gore and violence, which sends him on a psychedelic killing spree filled with grotesques hallucinations.
Filled with impressive practical effects, you will be laughing too hard and marveling at the low-budget ingenuity to feel burdened with the question of whether too much gore is actually a bad thing.
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