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Video on Demand Report: The Wolverine Is Not Just a Rerelease of X-Men Origins: Wolverine

The Wolverine

The Headliner

The Wolverine

Please, for the love of god, I know it’s confusing, but don’t think this is a rerelease of 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. (Boy, that was an optimistic prefix, huh? Remember when we were all on tenterhooks waiting for the follow-up, X-Men Origins: Storm?)

So the first thing you need to know is that the immortal Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) was a prisoner of war in Japan when the U.S. bombed Nagasaki. He helped save the life of a guy who went on to become a major industrialist, and now that guy wants to repay the favor. But what is he actually offering? And why? And what’s up with the guy’s family members’ apparent civil war?

Take it from someone who thinks most superhero movies — even the ones everyone loves — are a bunch of baloney: The Wolverine is a lot of fun. The plot is pretty unpredictable, the effects are on point, and the fights are really great, by which I mean really, really violent. Order some sushi to stay on-theme and enjoy your evening.

New and Notable

Prisoners

Perhaps you want to see a raging Hugh Jackman, but without superpowers? Prisoners has you covered.

Jackman and Terrence Howard play neighborhood friends whose daughters go missing after a Thanksgiving dinner. When a creep in an RV (played by Paul Dano, who else) seems to be the culprit based on circumstantial evidence, the detective assigned to the case (Jake Gyllenhaal) pursues him, but does he have the right man? And if a lack of evidence frees the trailer creep, what will the girls’ fathers do to find justice on their own?

Elysium

For someone who counts District 9 among her all-time favorite sci-fi films, writer/director Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up, Elysium, is a real bummer.

And it had so much to recommend it! Matt Damon as the member of a deprived underclass in a dystopian future America, fomenting revolution! Jodie Foster as a crooked secretary of defense! Class warfare over access to health care: What could be more timely? Yet, somehow, all the elements add up to zero. Just watch District 9 again.

Kick-Ass 2

Kick-Ass 2 picks up the stories of the titular Kick-Ass (a costumed vigilante without any superpowers or even, as opposed to Batman, money to buy or build cool gadgets) and his friend Hit-Girl (another vigilante, trained in the ways of crime fighting by her late father). Except this time, Jim Carrey is along for the ride — not that you’d necessarily know that, since he famously refused to promote the movie because of its violence. Like, you didn’t notice that when you read the script, guy?

Anyway, Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Hit-Girl (ChloĆ« Grace Moretz) join forces with Colonel Stars and Stripes (Carrey) to try to defeat a new/old enemy: The Motherf—er (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). And that guy’s a real jerk, so I hope they succeed.

The Family

One day, scholars will debate which of Robert De Niro’s star vehicles was the more depressingly rote and half-assed: Grudge Match or The Family. You’ll have to wait until Christmas to unwrap the former, but the latter is available on demand now to whet your appetite for seeing a couple of geriatric Oscar winners pretend to punch each other. I’m sorry: not “whet.” “Dull.”

The Family finds De Niro stepping way out of his comfort zone to play a Mafia boss. The twist? He enters Witness Protection! With his family! Who are played by Michelle Pfeiffer, Glee‘s Dianna Agron, and some kid. Managing the family is yet another Oscar winner, Tommy Lee Jones. Lots of people thought this movie was a good, fresh, exciting project. I’m not sure why or how.

One Direction: This Is Us


When the One Direction movie was in theaters, there was probably a segment of its target audience that were able to prevail upon their parents to take them to see it as much as they wanted to. But for the rest, whose parents topped out at 10 in-cinema viewings, this week’s on-demand release of the movie means CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY.

Directed by Morgan Spurlock (yes, that one), One Direction: This Is Us takes the viewer behind the scenes on the band’s tour, features whole musical numbers, and also unearths video footage of the guys from before their breakout on the British version of The X Factor. AND, for all the fans who were lucky enough to see the theatrical version 100 times and could recite it from memory: Both the original cut and a special extended version are available for rent.