New DVD releases go from the wild blue yonder to the deep blue sea.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Grade A: Group of thieves come together to save the universe. Chris Pratt stars.
It’s “Star Wars” meets “Farscape” — a fun ride driven by top-notch performances, a galaxy of funny moments and a wicked soundtrack. It’s the latest film based on a Marvel Comics series. But even if you don’t know the difference between “Iron Man” and “Iron Fist, “ the blend of action and humor provides plenty of entertainment.
With a mix of the dry wit of Han Solo and the smugness of Tony Stark, Pratt gives the movie the kind of flawed hero on which many a film franchise has been built. He is as quick with a quip as he is with a weapon.
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“When the Game Stands Tall” Grade C-: The underdog is key to a great sports movie.
“When the Game Stands Tall” tries to turn the high school football winning machine De La Salle High School — they’re the guys with the national prep-record longest winning streak of 151 games from 1992 to 2003 — into the kind of underdog that makes for a heart-tugging sports movie.
It all comes down to this being a movie about a storied sports franchise that has a minor setback. It’s not enough of a tragedy to make this a great sports film. When the film is over, you’re not likely to stand up and cheer.
“Dolphin Tale 2” Grade C-: In 2011, director Charles Martin Smith blended a huge number of deeply emotional moments to make “Dolphin Tale” the king of must-see movies for the year.
Compared to the depth of his work on the first film, “Dolphin Tale 2,” the follow-up story to the tale of Winter, a dolphin with a prosthetic tail, never gets out of the emotional kiddie pool.
To be fair, the original film not only had that compelling dolphin story but used a wounded war hero, a young boy growing up without a father, loads of children missing arms or legs, a dead mom, a crusading doctor and an animal hospital on the brink of closing to churn up the waters of sentimentality. That movie was so loaded, it was an impossible challenge to try and top it.
An effort to be at least half as good would have been nice.
Also new on DVD Dec. 9:
• “I, Origins”: Couple use eyes to test truth about God.
• “Calvary”: Good priest feels sinister forces closing in after being threatened by a mysterious parishioner.
• “The Mind of a Chef: Magnus Nilsson”: Combines travel, cooking, history and science.
• “Family Guy: Season 14”: Includes episode where Stewie is reborn into a wealthy British household.
• “The Only Folk Collection You’ll Ever Need”: Eclectic collection of traditional, classic folk music.
• “Por Siempre Mi Amor”: Telenovela remake of “Mi Segunda Madre.”
• “Search of Aliens: Season One”: Giorgio Tsoukalos travels the globe to research and investigate evidence of extraterrestrials.
•“Power Rangers Super Megaforce Volume 1: Earth Fights Back”:
Team morphs into new super Ranger.
• “Barney Miller: Season 6”: Contains 22 episodes of the TV cop comedy.
• “Hart To Hart: Season 3”: Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers play the stylish detectives.
• “Mister Ed: The Complete Series”: All six seasons of the talking horse series are available in one set.
• “The Jeffersons: The Complete Series”: All 253 episodes about the family who moved on up are in this set.
• “Frank”: Offbeat comedy about a musician who joins an avant-garde pop band.
• “Mork & Mindy: The Complete Series”: This comedy about an alien visitor made Robin Williams a star.
• “NOVA: Bigger Than T. Rex”: Scientists look into possibility that T. Rex wasn’t the largest dinosaur.
• “RWBY: Volume 2”: Anime series about young people who must save the world.
• “Finding Joy”: Self-absorbed writer rediscovers himself.
• “Day of the Mummy”: Danny Glover stars in this adventure film set in Egypt.
• “Secret Agent: The Complete Series”: Patrick McGoohan stars in this TV spy series.
• “Get On Up”: Chadwick Boseman stars in this film about the life of James Brown.
• “Doctor Who: The Complete Eighth Series”: Peter Capaldi takes over as the time traveler.