Video on Demand Report: Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie in Save the Date, Steve Austin and Steven Seagal in Maximum Conviction

The Headliner

The Amazing Spider-Man

How you feel about this reboot of Marvel’s superhero franchise probably depends a great deal on how much you liked Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3. Since I hated Spider-Man 2 so much that I never saw its sequel — guys, it just made no sense for Doc Ock to attack Peter Parker in the middle of the movie if he didn’t know he was also Spider-Man!!! — I thought The Amazing Spider-Man was all right.

Working in The Amazing Spider-Man‘s favor is, above all, its casting. In the title role, Andrew Garfield may be a bit too cool to be totally believable as a high school pariah — even though, yes, I know, he wears glasses. But you do buy it when his new powers leave him first flummoxed and scared, and then delighted by the possibilities, particularly as they may help him to avenge the death of a loved one. As Gwen, his love interest, Emma Stone is as charming as always. Rhys Ifans — whom I sat next to at my neighborhood Starbucks in New York during filming, no big deal — makes a compelling villain, even if he suffers a bit from the contemporary vogue of making the bad guy too empathetic (not every movie antagonist has to be King Kong). And though the film was quite long in the cinema, it might not feel so sluggish at home if you can read a magazine during the dull parts.

 

New and Notable

Arthur Christmas

In last year’s CGI-animated holiday story, Santa’s screw-up son Arthur reverts to old-fashioned Christmas procedure (viz: reindeer) to make sure one kid who was accidentally skipped in the gift rounds doesn’t end up doubting that Santa is real.

 

I Wish

A Japanese boy decides that if he can make a wish at the exact moment two bullet trains pass one another, his wish — that his parents will reunite — will come true.

 

High Ground

This documentary about disabled armed-forces veteran mountain climbers might make you feel like a lazy piece of crap.

 

Fire With Fire

Josh Duhamel and Bruce Willis decide that U.S. Marshal Rosario Dawson can’t help them and that Witness Protection is for chumps, and go after sociopathic criminal Vincent D’Onofrio on their own. That sounds like a lot of big names for a straight-to-home-video joint, but I guess when producer 50 Cent approaches you, you don’t say no!

 

Sexy Baby

I guess the point that this documentary is trying to make is that the Internet is turning the next generation into porn stars?

 

The Pact 

A woman’s return, with a medium, to the home from which her mother disappeared 16 years earlier goes — surprise! — awry.

 

Maximum Conviction

If you absolutely, positively can’t wait for another Expendables sequel, this straight-to-home-video affair stars Steve Austin and Steven Seagal.

 

Lukewarm

In this explicitly Christian drama, a father’s abandonment of his young son screws up the boy so badly that he grows up to work at a bar called The Inferno and drink shots sometimes!

 

Opportunistic Backlist Revival Theme of the Week: Video Game Movies

Presumably pegged to Wreck-It Ralph, currently in theaters, we get a collection of movies either based on or inspired by video games, including both Tron and its sequel, Tron: Legacy; Doom; Gamer; Hitman; Max Payne; Prince Of Persia: The Sands of Time; The Last Starfighter; Scott Pilgrim vs. the World; The Wizard; and the best of the bunch, the documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.

 

Weird Indie of the Week

The Survival Game

Finally, a thriller that explores the potential peril inherent in a seemingly innocuous hobby: geocaching.

 

Early VOD Premieres of the Week

Save the Date

As Alison Brie prepares to marry Martin Starr, her sister Lizzy Caplan tries out relationships with Geoffrey Arend and For a Good Time, Call‘s Mark Webber.

 

Masochist’s Choice

Daylight Fades

What’s the downside of immortality? Find out in yet another GD vampire movie.

Filed Under: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man, VOD OCD

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