The DVD selections out this week are hurt by uninspired writing.
▪ “The Identical” – Twins separated at birth go on different life journeys.
All of the elements were there to make this a toe-tapping, soul-touching salute to the King. But one missed opportunity after another leaves it merely a passable tale that’s a thinly veiled homage to what might have happened if Elvis Presley’s twin – Jesse Garon – had not been stillborn.
“The Identical” isn’t all misses. Blake Rayne is likable and has a solid singing voice. The soundtrack sounds enough like the Elvis catalog to be familiar. The spiritual message is delivered clearly but is not heavy handed.
▪ “A Walk Among the Tombstones” – This film is DOA.
It has neither taut drama nor first-rate action to give it any life. It doesn’t help that the usually dependable Liam Neeson has fallen into a rut of playing tough lawmen. This time, he’s a retired New York detective who left the force after an unfortunate shooting eight years ago.
Despite similarities to Neeson’s “Taken,” the actor fails to give this movie the same kind of power. He sleepwalks his way through every scene. The best moment is a phone conversation between the cop and one of the killers. As Neeson showed in “Taken,” he can make a telephone chat a chilling experience. It’s just too bad that conversation comes late in the movie.
▪ “Annabelle” – The scariest thing is that a film studio would release such a lazy attempt at making a horror movie without any sign of shame. From a painfully slow start to a mind-numbing lackluster ending, “Annabelle” misses.
The bad acting, writing and directing could be forgiven. But what makes this film such a despicable piece of garbage is how much the horror depends on putting a baby in jeopardy. This is the cheapest and least imaginative way to engage an audience, and it comes across as a desperate attempt to save a project that is a total disaster.
▪ Also new this week:
“Gone Girl” – David Fincher’s twisted look at modern marriage.
“Men, Women, Children” – Jason Reitman’s film about high school teens and their parents trying to navigate life in a world of social media.
“Love Is Strange” – Two men face hurdles in their long relationship. John Lithgow and Alfred Molina star.
“Stingray: The Complete Series” – The World Aquanaut Security Patrol is featured in 39 episodes.
“Jessabelle” – Woman faces tormented spirit in her childhood home.
“The Facts of Life: The Complete Series” – Contains all 201 episodes of the TV comedy.
“Boardwalk Empire: Season 5” – Final season of the cable series that stars Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson.
“The Bridge: Season 2” – Police officials from each side of the Mexican-American border are brought together again.
“Episodes: The Third Season” – Matt LeBlanc plays a version of himself in this cable comedy.
“The Twilight Saga: Extended Editions Triple Feature” – Includes deleted scenes that have been edited back into the three movies.
“The Drop” – Two men must decide between survival and loyalty.
“Jimi: All Is by My Side” – A look at the life of Jimi Hendrix from 1966 to 1967.
“Before I Go to Sleep” – Nicole Kidman plays a woman who wakes up every day with no memory.
“Tyrant: Season 1” – Cable series about a family torn apart when they visit the Middle East.
“Christian Mingle” – Lacey Chabert stars in this look at online dating.