Movie News & Reviews

August 6, 2014

New on DVD Aug. 12: 'Muppets,' 'Neighbors,' 'Blacklist'

Frogs, fraternities and felons highlight new DVD releases.

"Muppets Most Wanted," Grade C+: The Muppets are manipulated into being part of a crime spree by an evil frog who looks like Kermit.

The film picks up at the end of "The Muppets." After Kermit and the gang save their beloved theater, they are at a loss as to what to do next. A suggestion from a sleazy tour promoter, Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), sends the Muppets on a world tour that is part of a complicated plan to steal the Crown Jewels.

As has become the norm with these films, the movie is loaded with cameos. Adults who get bored with the flat story can at least try to guess which well-known actor is in a scene. You know a movie has problems when it takes a celebrity version of "Where's Waldo" to keep the audience entertained.

It's nice to have the Muppets back, but the euphoria of their return gets wiped away by this disappointing sequel. The movie proves it's not easy earning green again.

"Neighbors," Grade D: The film looks at the conflict between Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne), a couple with a new baby, and the raucous Delta fraternity that moves into the house next door.

What could have been a smart comedy about the battle of the ages too often finds itself at such a loss for anything funny that it resorts to an endless string of jokes about male sex organs. There will be those who will defend the movie saying it's a comedy and shouldn't be judged so seriously.

There's nothing wrong with over-the-top, raunchy comedy. Rogen starred in a perfect example with last year's "This Is the End." The problem is that "Neighbors" is so poorly written it makes it easy to condemn both houses.

"The Blacklist: The Complete First Season," Grade B+: A standout performance by James Spader makes this one of TV's top dramas. The NBC series follows Raymond "Red" Reddington (Spader), a top criminal, who through a wide variety of mysterious twists and turns helps the FBI find and stop some of the world's most notorious criminals.

The set includes 22 episodes, commentary on three key episodes and two featurettes.

Also out on DVD on Aug. 12

"The Marx Brothers TV Collection": Includes more than 50 television performances.

"Low Winter Sun: The Complete Series": Contemporary story of murder, deception, revenge and corruption.

"Beyblade: The Classic First Season": Anime series based on the manga series by Takao Aoki.

"Turtle Power": Film chronicles the birth of the franchise about the most unlikely superheroes of all time.

"Power Rangers Megaforce: A Battle To The Finish": Rangers battle to save the planet in the four final episodes of the 20th "Power Rangers" season.

"Baseball's Seasons: The 1980s": Kirk Gibson, Bo Jackson and the '86 Mets are spotlighted.

"Decline of an Empire": Peter O'Toole stars in this tale of a man's quest to find his lost friend.

"Frankie & Alice": Go-go dancer battles dissociative identity disorder. Halle Berry stars.

"The Legend of Shelby the Swamp Man: Season 1": Reality series about swamp logger.

"EastSiders": Feature film version of Web series from Kit Williamson.

"Favorites of the Moon": The 1984 film has been digitally remastered.

"Shuriken School": Follows a 10-year-old boy and his friends during their first year at a ninja school.

"The Crown and the Dragon: The Paladin Cycle": Woman must find the strength to become a dragon slayer.

"Rage": Respectable businessman (Nicolas Cage) returns to his violent past to save his daughter.

"Locke": Series of phone calls sets in motion a chain of events that will unravel a man's perfect life.

"Tarzan": New animated film based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs character.

"Eleanor's Secret": Boy's new ability sets his imagination free, saves the day.

"Swelter": Man's past returns to haunt his new life. Lennie James stars.

"Motel Hell": Classic horror film now available on Blu-ray.

 

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