Video on Demand Report: Kick Off Cumberbatch High Season With Star Trek Into Darkness
Star Trek Into Darkness
It is a truth universally acknowledged that when it comes to Star Trek movies, the even-numbered ones are good and the odd-numbered ones are crap. When J.J. Abrams took over the franchise, of course he must have wanted to put his own stamp on it, so he flipped the equation. If you’re good at math, you know that means this latest one — Abrams’s sequel to his 2009 reboot, led by Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as Kirk and Spock — is not so hot.
If you’re looking for a reason to watch it, and the promise of a wholly gratuitous shot of Alice Eve in her space-undies isn’t enough (if you think it might be, let me save you two hours and 12 minutes of your life: here), Benedict Cumberbatch is pretty good. Cumberbatch — who I assume changed agents in the past five years or so, because yes, you’ve seen him in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and War Horse and heard him in The Hobbit and on The Simpsons — plays the mysterious John Harrison, subject of a dangerous search undertaken by our crew, and if you don’t know what happens after he gets to the Enterprise, don’t look him up on IMDb because someone there thought it was a good idea to ruin the only interesting surprise in the movie. Cumberbatch has three more Oscar-begging movies coming out between now and the end of the year — The Fifth Estate, 12 Years a Slave, and August: Osage County — plus a third season of the BBC’s tremendous Sherlock early in 2014, so if you’re not familiar with him … well, actually, watch the first two seasons of Sherlock on Netflix. He’s fine enough in Star Trek Into Darkness, but Sherlock is much more fun.
New and Notable
Russell Crowe narrates this documentary about the struggle of Bordeaux vineyards to keep up with Chinese wine demand.
Love Is All You Need
A Danish woman and British man (the latter is Pierce Brosnan) get friendly, eventually, at the wedding of her daughter to his son.
Jesus Christ Superstar
In this film of a live stage production, musical comedian Tim Minchin (most recently the toast of Broadway for writing Matilda) stars in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera.
Wish You Were Here
A Cambodian vacation goes awry when one member of a traveling foursome mysteriously goes missing.
Lloyd the Conqueror
This sort of looks like an adult Bad News Bears, but with LARPing instead of baseball.
Shiva crashes a wedding and falls in love with a beautiful woman in this Bollywood action film.
The lesson of this movie appears to be that when you’re looking for a contractor, don’t hire Danny Trejo.
“In Theaters” VOD Picks
Formerly titled Two Mothers, this is the one where dear friends Naomi Watts and Robin Wright fool around with each other’s sons.
Jayne Mansfield’s Car
Billy Bob Thornton directed and stars in this 1960s dramedy about Southerners and Britons culture-clashing at a funeral.
Good Ol’ Freda
This documentary tells the story of the Beatles via the experience of their secretary, Freda Kelly.
Ten years after corporations took over world governments, a council of renegades orders death to white-collar criminals.
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Theme of the Week
In honor of the arrival of the latest Star Trek movie to VOD, Time Warner is re-releasing what appears to be all Star Trek movies to date, but I promise the only one you need to watch again is The Wrath of Khan.
Early VOD Release
All Is Bright
To make enough money to buy his daughter a piano, ex-con Paul Giamatti tries to go straight, selling Christmas trees with former criminal associate Paul Rudd.
Weird Indie of the Week
How Sweet It Is
Joe Piscopo and Paul Sorvino star in this wacky mob/showbiz comedy, finally.
Surprise! It’s the Earth Goddess
The Last Keepers
Shoshanna from Girls has actual magic powers in this thing.
Reality Terror Night
The cast of this nonsense seems to have spent about as much time in acting classes as its producers spent thinking about what to call it.