On DVD & Blu-Ray: November 26, 2013




In what may be the second least anticipated sequel of the summer, RED 2, Bruce Willis and his gang of retired master class agents return for another round. I actually really enjoyed the first film as it presented something fresh, a new spin on a genre that by 2010 had seen Willis trying tirelessly to breathe life into a new possible franchise (Surrogates) while attempting to lampoon what made him the action star he is in the first place (Cop Out). Both attempts turned in horrible to average films, but nothing stuck. That was, until he managed to find the right film that balanced the comedy and action while at the same time being able to poke fun at the fact Willis was indeed a lot older now than when he made his first Die Hard film. That the first film also managed to make Willis seem like he was invested in the material was a definite plus. An air of indifference has plagued Willis in the majority of his actioners lately (this has remained true since RED as well with The Cold Light of Day, Expendables 2, and the disaster that was A Good Day to Die Hard) and is still somewhat apparent in this ultimately unnecessary sequel, but lucky for us Willis is not the only star the makers have recruited to keep us entertained and upping the chances crowds will buy into this farcical action film in a summer season that was so crowded they probably didn't even realize it was made until seeing it on the shelf at Wal-Mart. While some of the big names are welcome returns and the others welcome additions their true value is measured by the mass appeal they bring and how this worked to the first films advantage, making it a sleeper hit. I remember being surprised by how many older people were in the audience to watch the first film at an early show and the same remained true this time around. That the older generations show up for the roster of prestigious actors and the younger for the guaranteed mindless action that has no doubt come to be associated with Willis' face, the producers can almost guarantee a hit. The good news is that, despite these films following formula to a T, there is more going on with the characters than in most generic action films and a surprising amount of laughs per minute that, if nothing else, guarantee a pleasant time. Full review here. C

Courtney Solomon is no Justin Lin. Solomon could hardly even be considered a player at all in the action genre as he's only made three films and the first was 2000's Dungeons & Dragons adaptation that I never saw because I was both too young to care about it at the time and would have likely been massively confused if I had. I never played the game and the current 10% tomatometer score doesn't bode well for it either, but what really put the anticipation in the can for Getaway was knowing that Solomon also directed 2005's An American Haunting. I remember taking a date to that film and apologizing for how bad it turned out to be because it was my idea to go see it. With this third feature the director has made one of those films where all of the action revolves around a certain set of people locked into one location. This certainly might make things easier from a production standpoint as you don't have to deal with a ton of location scouting or all of the dynamics that go into orchestrating a production with a large cast involved, but when your location of confinement is on wheels there seems a much more complex scheme to choreograph and Getaway never seems to take advantage of its circumstances other than to feed us corny dialogue and messily shot action sequences that seem more thrown together than thought out. To be honest, there wasn't much expectation going into the film, but when you have such a simple premise and what seems to be outlandish execution paired with the fact that actors with the caliber of Ethan Hawke and the rising star of Selena Gomez presumably seeing something in the project you hope it might prove to be a fun, if not distracting experience. And yet, there isn't even an intentionally campy vibe to the project as it, for all intents and purposes, is as serious as a heart attack and with that tone does little to add fun to the predictable and lacking story that can't even sustain the brief hour and a half running time. Full review here. F

It was a well-known fact from the time we first heard mention of battling Steve Jobs biopics that the one starring Ashton Kutcher and a creative team of newbies wasn't going to be the one that broke any new ground or would even get anyone too excited. While Kutcher's turn as the founder of Apple Inc. and innovative mind that brought us the Macintosh, iPod and iPhone wasn't cause for much alarm it isn't for a lack of effort on the actors part. It is clear that Kutcher studied the mannerisms and vocal tones and inflections of Jobs with a considerable amount of obsession and in some ways the performance feels like a tribute as Kutcher is more a fan giving the most flattering of interpretations than a man attempting to bring another mans story to light in the truest form. That said, the script is not particularly kind to Jobs as it highlights his ego and his consistent inability to get along with others unless they are strictly abiding by his ideals, but Kutcher's performance has a consistent aura that he ultimately knows what's best floating around him. No matter if that is actually how Jobs was or not, that is how we'd like to think of him. There is no real substance or justification as to why he strives so hard to diverge from the beaten path or prove others wrong. There is one line concerning his real parents abandoning him only to never be mentioned again to which he responds by doing the same exact thing to his child while nothing close to a parallel is drawn. Director Joshua Michael Stern and writer Matt Whiteley have taken what could have been an exceptional subject and a beyond incredible journey of a man not necessarily likable, but who demanded to be listened to and molded him to fit the outline of every redemption story. The world loves a comeback kid, this is true, but the accomplishments of Jobs the man deserve more than jOBS the movie, delivers. Full review here. C-

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