Recliner Reviews for Oct. 24, 2013

October 22, 2013 

Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke in "Before Midnight."

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.

“Before Midnight”

Director Richard Linklater has made many an art-house flick, but for some reason, a little love story about two people meeting on a train in Europe sticks with him. Linklater made “Before Sunrise” 18 years ago when Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy were young actors, walking around Vienna talking about philosophical/artsy stuff. It was really quite beautiful. Nine years later, the three of them came back together for “Before Sunset.” The sequel works in real time and shows the two reconciling. Now nine years later, we checkup on Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy) again – they’re married with kids, juggling real life problems and trying to find new ways to fall in love. It’s the story of what happens when young lovers become 40 and have to deal with the biology of years. It’s smart, funny at times, sweet at others, and all three films deserve a viewing or second viewing – worth a watch.

“The Croods”

When an animated movie goes through delays and director changes, it’s usually a sign of a quick box office death. Factor in the premise of a family of cave people, and you would think, “The Croods” would be crud. Then, do some more math and add in instant-flop-actor Nicolas Cage as a lead voice talent, and this film must be doomed. But co-directors Chris Sanders (“Lilo & Stitch” and “How to Train Your Dragon”) and Kirk De Micco (“Space Chimps”) pull it together and handle the prehistoric tale with a bit of reality, a bit of modernity and a bit of the blurring of both lines for fun. Actors Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds bring it to life in fun spurts. And costars Catherine Keener, Cloris Leachman and Clark Duke add enough oomph to keep it interesting. What could’ve been a disaster is actually worth a watch.

“The Heat”

Director Paul Feig follows up his mega-smash “Bridesmaids” by bringing back the charismatic Melissa McCarthy. But bringing in Sandra Bullock in this buddy cop premise immediately gives audiences terrible flashbacks to the dismal “Miss Congeniality” franchise. But the studio (Twentieth Century Fox) had so much confidence in this movie that it was moved from a spring to a summer release. So does the release garner attention on home video or is it another wasted turn at comedy for Bullock? Writer Katie Dippold (“MADtv” and “Parks and Recreation”) dishes a foulmouthed script that works for McCarthy to have fun with and Bullock to play against. If Bullock was trying to pull this off by herself, the whole affair would fall flat, but McCarthy manhandles every scene and pulls Bullock along for the ride. It’s not chemistry, it’s the physics of a fearless comedian, and all this science makes it worth a watch.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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