A Good Day to Die Hard
I assume we can all agree that Die Hard is one of the best action movies ever — arguably one of the best movies in any genre. And the reason is John McClane. In the role that really made him a movie star, Bruce Willis plays a very good, very smart, unusually resourceful cop, cleverly sabotaging the group of international terrorists trying to take over the building where his estranged wife works. But what makes McClane so indelible is his vulnerability: He can get hurt, and does, a lot, which makes his eventual triumph (spoiler) so much more satisfying.
That’s what makes the evolution of John McClane into a superhuman specimen, seemingly coated in Kevlar skin, such a bummer. This latest one not only has the elderly McClane doing such absurdly unlikely things as hanging off a helicopter by one arm, but also, more alarmingly, mowing down countless civilian bystanders who have the bad luck of getting in the way of his hijacked vehicle on the streets of Moscow. The twists of the plot (such as they are) aren’t enough to justify this kind of never-explained carnage. And honestly, at this point, is there anything you care less about than which members of John McClane’s immediate family are still talking to him?! I promise there is no reason to watch this thing.
New And Notable
Nicholas Hoult is an emo zombie and Teresa Palmer the human revolutionary who discovers there’s more to him than eating brains in this sweet, surprisingly romantic comedy.
Melissa McCarthy capitalizes on her Bridesmaids fame with this slapstick un-buddy comedy, co-starring Jason Bateman as the stooge whose identity she’s stolen.
Escape From Planet Earth
Your children deserve better than this garbagey looking CG-animated affair.
Welcome to Pine Hill
A health scare leads an ex-con to revisit his painful past in this festival favorite.
This Is Not a Film
A day in the life of Jafar Panahi, an Iranian filmmaker in legal limbo, captures the challenges facing Panahi and his colleagues in the country.
The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez
Ernest Borgnine makes his play for a Venus/Beginners-style late-in-life Oscar nomination. (Not to be cynical, but seriously.)
A teenager who has Asperger’s is left adrift when his protective older brother is killed.
The Iran Job
This film documents the year Kevin Sheppard spent playing basketball in Iran.
The Last Ride: A Story Of Hank Williams
This biopic, featuring Henry Thomas in the title role, aspires to Walk the Line, but … Kaley Cuoco? No.
A cops vs. gangsters battle is interrupted by zombies who want to eat all of them.
Malcolm McDowell and Billy Zane, together at last (in a junky straight-to-VOD “thriller”).
A bunch of army recruits have the bad luck of attending training camp on a haunted island.
12 Rounds: Reloaded
The WWE’s Randy Orton is the only man who can … I mean, does it really matter?
Home Sweet Home
A woman goes back to her long-empty family home to fix it up so she can sell it, only to discover that the squatters who’ve been living there have other plans.
Cleaver Family Reunion
It’s your classic “dying old lady makes her estranged family get together on her terms while they still can” movie.
“In Theaters” VOD Picks
We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks
Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) directed this documentary about Wikileaks and Julian Assange.
The beloved Judy Blume novel: now a movie!
Manic pixie dream girl (terminally ill edition) bewitches loser.
Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie
The late talk-show host/rage artist is explored in this documentary.
The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus plays a journalist chosen by a bullied student, who commits retributive violence at his school, to tell his story.
If you find extraordinarily fussy cocktails interesting, this is the documentary for you!
Lost and Found in Armenia
After a parasailing mishap, Jamie Kennedy drifts from Turkey into Armenia, where he’s mistaken for a Turkish spy. Sure.
Fast & Furious’s Paul Walker tries driving under different circumstances.
After the rapture, Satan (Craig Robinson) sets his romantic sights on Anna Kendrick.
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Themes of the Week: “Apocalypse Wow”
Pegged to the On Demand release of the post-apocalyptic zombie movie Warm Bodies, the “Apocalypse Wow” collection features pretty much the widest possible range of films that can possibly fit under that rubric. From darkest to lightest: The Road, 28 Days Later …, I Am Legend, The Book of Eli, Dawn of the Dead, Mad Max, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Knowing, Evil Dead, 12 Monkeys, and Children of Men, one of my favorite movies of all time.
Also all the Die Hard movies are back again.
Early VOD Release
The low-budget horror anthology I had to turn off last fall because the jerky camera made me motion sick gets a sequel.
Tim Roth plays the father of a young girl whose life is changed after she witnesses one of her neighbors beating up another.
Meteor hits small town, alien life form turns everyone cannibal. Watch The Crazies instead.