Sometimes it’s a dilemma: what DVD should you rent or what movie should you stream or order-on-demand? Do you want a date flick, an action caper, or a goofy comedy? Weekly Surge is here to help with our reviews of recent at-home movie releases, which we’ve watched from the comfort of that favorite recliner.
“21 Jump Street”
Has every original and rehashed idea been exhausted? This is the thought when rumors began about the remaking of this snarky, ‘80s TV cop drama that gave Johnny Depp his start. And became the ghost he ran from for the last 20 years on his way to becoming Hollywood’s most brooding man. For Hollywood to try to retread these balding tires would be like trying to reboot “Dallas” – oh wait, never mind. This version stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as two misfit cops assigned to go undercover in high school. They don’t reprise any original roles. It’s a continuation of the series. Nothing is sacred. They make fun of the original story. They make fun of themselves. They make fun of high school kids and adults. They make fun of action movies and dramas. And all this making fun is really funny to watch. It isn’t campy, even when Hill and Tatum explore their friendship or predictably flip stereotypes. Instead, they make fun of what they just did. You’ll laugh so hard, you probably won’t notice Ice Cube is an awful actor. So jump in your recliner because it’s worth a watch.
You have to love when filmmakers use titles with multiple meanings. You have to love it more when the film with the vague title doesn’t suck. Not that “Retreat” is flawless. It starts out slow and doesn’t get going until the midpoint. There’s only five people in the whole cast and the majority of the movie consists of the interaction of three actors. But these three actors are a few of England and Ireland’s best – Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton and Jamie Bell – and the script exercises their acting muscle. There’s tension and suspense and menace, all in the delivery of the lines. The story takes place on an isolated island and it becomes a case of world-building with words. Is the outside population outside being decimated by disease? Or is this just a young drifter out for malicious intent? It’s worth a watch to find out.
“Man on a Ledge”
Here comes Jamie Bell again. This time, he’s playing a smaller part. The lead goes to the guy who’ll try anything once, Sam Worthington. He’ll handle a big-budget where they make him blue and it works like in “Avatar.” He’ll attach himself to remakes that should’ve stayed unmade, such as “Clash of the Titans” and “Terminator Salvation.” He’ll dive into dramas and give it all he’s got. This time, he takes a turn all big-time actors must make – the action/suspense film. It’s a big step for an actor whose stock is rising. He is made to do a spin – let the world see him from all sides. Worthington does a sturdy job. It’s too bad that the plot under him is so full of holes it should be titled, “Actor Falling Off a Ledge.” Let’s excuse the unrealistic twists from scene to scene. Let’s forget about Elizabeth Banks and Edward Burns phoning in their parts. You know what, let’s forget about this movie altogether and call this another Mulligan for Worthington – Take a pass.
Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge