Wanna just stay home and turn on the tube? Here’s your best excuse… check out some DVD/Blu-rays and streaming movies and TV highlights from this past month.
New on DVD/Blu-ray
“Paddington”: Based on the popular children’s book series about one cute stuffed bear and his misadventures in London, this family movie looks like something parents would have to endure for the sake of their little ones. “Paddington,” however, is surprisingly delightful and endearing. With a wonderful cast — including Ben Whislaw as the voice of Paddington; Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville as the bear’s adoptive human family; and the dastardly evil Nicole Kidman who wants him mounted on her wall — the film has enough genuine humor and warmth adults will appreciate, with fun antics the kids will love. Trust me, it’s a Saturday night evening for the whole family.
“The Missing”: This BBC One limited series, which premiered on Starz last November, is completely riveting, thought-provoking and disturbing. The thriller centers on the case of a missing child. Jumping back and forth in time, the series shows what happens immediately following the young boy’s disappearance, to years later, as his parents (the excellent James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor) grapple with their loss and become desperate to find answers and closure. It’s one-of-a-kind TV viewing and well worth binge watching.
Also released on DVD/Blu-ray in April:
“The Boy Next Door” (Jennifer Lopez robs the cradle… and regrets it BIG time); “Inherent Vice” (Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s weird trip through ‘70s L.A.); “The Wedding Ringer” (Kevin Hart and Josh Gad yuck it up); “A Most Violent Year” (Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain have a not-so-good year); and “Cake” (Jennifer Aniston’s attempt to win awards by playing a woman suffering with chronic pain).
New on Netflix
“The Babadook”: This little Australian horror gem (which is also available on Blu-ray) thrilled critics last year and tells the tale of a single mother (Essie Davis), recovering after the violent death of her husband. She and her young son move to a new house where they find a children’s book about The Babadook, a monster who lurks in the dark places of a home. After mistakenly reading it, the mother has to calm her son’s fears that the Babadook is real… and soon finds out he might not be imagining it. If you like scary flicks, this is a must-see.
“Daredevil”: The original Netflix series premiered in April and it’s pure genius. Being called a “street level” Marvel comic-book hero show, Charlie Cox (“Boardwalk Empire”) stars at Matt Murdock, who was blinded as boy but whose other senses were left at a hypersensitive level. Now, living in his old Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in NYC, Murdock fights injustice as a lawyer by day and masked vigilante at night. Without much comic-book superhero fanfare, “Daredevil” is gritty and real, showcasing awesome hand-to-hand combat action and providing a truly menacing nemesis for Murdock, played brilliantly by Vincent D’Onofrio. Yeah, there’s more TV binge watching in your future.
Also some oldie but goodies now available on Netflix this month:
“Bound” (Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon as hot lesbian femme fatales); “Hot Fuzz” (Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as hilarious cops); and “National Treasure” (Nic Cage as a U.S. history nut on the hunt for buried treasure); Plus, there’s the final season of “Sons of Anarchy.”
Streaming on Amazon and iTunes
“Fifty Shades of Grey”: If you missed the film adaptation of E.L. James soft-core porn novel, here’s your chance to download it and wince as naïve college student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) falls for billionaire Christian Grey (James Dornan), who’s handsome, charming… and has a penchant for whips, floggers and the such in the bedroom. Yeah, super hot (not).
“Still Alice”: Julianne Moore is devastating in her Oscar-winning turn as a 50-year-old woman struggling with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The supporting cast is also particularly good, especially Kristen Stewart as Alice’s youngest child, who had been estranged with her mother but finds a connection with Alice as the disease progresses. It’s a sad and affecting movie.
Kit Bowen – A longtime movie lover, since her mother let her stay up late to watch old movies like To Kill a Mockingbird, Kit Bowen has turned her passion into a long and varied career in the entertainment business. A native Floridian, she landed in Southern California as a teenager, and eventually earned a B.A. in English at UCLA. For the past 15 years, Kit has been an online entertainment journalist, reporter and film critic, writing for Hollywood.com, Fandango, Movies.com, ExtraTV.com and ScreenPicks.com. Her crowning jewel, however, is her movie how-to guide, TheMovieKit.com, which brings to her loyal readers movie reviews, interviews, trailers, and more. Her reviews are also featured on Rotten Tomatoes. Just think of Kit as a mini-IMdb.