Video/DVD Previews – Jan. 19, 2018

#Middlebury #CouchTheater #DVDs #TV

“Happy Death Day” (PG-13) – It’s “Groundhog Day” for a new generation, except instead of a narcissist weatherman, our central player is Tree (Jessica Rothe), a narcissist college student. Tree wakes up in the bed of fellow student Carter (Israel Broussard) on her birthday, and she proceeds to prance about campus being shallow and mean all day until she is killed by a masked character on her way to a party in the evening. She wakes up back in Carter’s bed, and is forced to relive the same day over and over – perhaps to learn a lesson? Perhaps to catch her own killer? The ride is fun and breezy, despite the vehicle’s horror flick exterior. Rothe manages to be both a guilty pleasure, and smartly and hilariously redeeming.

“Blade Runner 2049” (R) – In near-future LA, specialized police officers hunt and “retire” rogue replicants (artificial, enhanced humans); they are called Blade Runners. On a day’s mission, Blade Runner Officer K (Ryan Gosling) unearths an explosive secret that has the potential to unbalance relations between humans and replicants. It leads him to former Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford, reprising). This film is visually stunning, and the story works beautifully both within the matrix of its predecessor or on its own. Gosling expertly delivers a brooding soft heart with steel resolve (see “Drive”), and producer Ridley Scott is already talking about his plans for a threequel.

Hand-painted scene from “Loving Vincent” (Good Deed Entertainment photo)

“Loving Vincent” (PG-13) – A letter from Vincent Van Gogh (Robert Gulaczyk) to his brother Theo sits undelivered a year after the artist’s death. The postman’s son Armand (Douglas Booth) is tasked with delivering it by hand. As Armand struggles to deliver the letter (Theo has since died; his widow’s whereabouts unclear), he is treated to the introspections and recollections (some fond, some envious and some disdainful) of the townspeople who lived with Van Gogh during the remarkable painter’s unremarkable life. This is the world’s first fully painted feature film. And inspired by the painter, its 65,000 frames are individual oil paintings on canvas, which took a team of 125 painters to create. Now, that is a feat worth watching.

“I, Daniel Blake” (R) – Dave Johns stars as Daniel Blake, an aging widower in Newcastle. After suffering a heart attack at work, he is declared unfit for working by his cardiologist and simultaneously fit to work by the welfare system, which promptly denies him benefits. As he muddles through a 21st century system set up for the computer literate, he makes friends with single mom Katie (Hayley Squires), who also is struggling with welfare-system issues. The film is a scathing treatise on checkbox bureaucracy and the miscarriage of justice in the welfare system, but it’s well-done and has its surprises.

New TV Releases
“Be Cool, Scooby-Doo: Teamwork Screamwork!” Season 1, Part 2
“Better Call Saul” Season 3
“The Commander” The Complete Series
“The Doctor Blake Mysteries”
“S.W.A.T.” The Complete Series

(c) 2018 King Features Synd. Inc.


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