On DVD & Blu-Ray: June 25, 2013


The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a stupid movie, but that does not mean it isn't endearing. That waft of stupidity that floats off the screen isn't necessarily a stench, but instead there is that certain something to be liked about it. This is mainly due to the inability to dislike the principal cast members. As lead by Steve Carell the film evolves from a satire on the world of magicians to a tale of redemption within a man who has forgotten what it is like to find something truly inspiring and worth putting their effort into. From the opening moments of the film it is clear what kind of film this is going to be. It is comedy comfort food in its highest form and in many ways there is nothing wrong with that except for when it fails to meet the simple standards this category upholds. I went into the film with fair expectations as the trailer the studio put together wasn't particularly impressive and even gave off the tone of a movie that fell apart after the initial idea was thought to be something of a great joke. Whether this was for the purposes of making the audience not as disappointed in the film or because they were in fact unsure of what exactly they had on their hands here, the final product is better than the marketing material hinted at, but it doesn't ever go far enough or become weird enough to be that highly ridiculous comedy I so badly wanted it to be. Carell is always appealing, though I wonder how some will take his characters personality that goes against everything usually attributed to Carell as a man, and it is nice to see Jim Carrey returning to what he does best even if his time is limited here. I wanted to like The Incredible Burt Wonderstone more than I actually did, but it wasn't horrible and that's probably the best thing you can say about it. C+

It is tough to walk into a movie like The Call without having somewhat low expectations. In seeing the trailer it appeared to be a beat by beat thriller we've seen time and time again that could just have well been a Lifetime movie about the epidemic of abductions, especially considering the focus of the kidnappings here are teenage girls. It also didn't bode well for the film that it starred Halle Berry. For me, she has become somewhat the equivalent of Cuba Gooding Jr. and that is in no way a shot at their ethnicity. That train of thought is more directly influenced by the fact that since winning her Oscar, Berry has appeared in almost nothing but lackluster films. The exceptions being a few shots at redemption such as Things We Lost in the Fire which never caught on and of course last years widely debated Cloud Atlas. I truly enjoyed Atlas and believe it to have been a film not appreciated because it was misunderstood, but regardless Berry was neither the reason that film succeeded in execution or failed at the box office. Still, her presence has long become an indicator of the quality a film might possess and though she hasn't dissolved into the straight to home video star Gooding has, there is no reason as of late to believe that something like The Call would be worthy of any positive chatter. Turns out, this film is a pretty fun, engaging, and even sometimes a truly thrilling piece of entertainment. Maybe it was the fact I didn't expect too much or that the audience I viewed the film with seemed to enjoy it so much, but I came out of the film rather impressed by the way director Brad Anderson (The Machinist) taught an old dog some new tricks. B

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