DVD reviews: ’22 Jump Street,’ ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ and ‘It Happened One Night’
“22 Jump Street” (2014, R, 112 min., $30.99) The success of 2012’s “21 Jump Street” was surprising, considering it was putting a comic twist on an OK television cop drama, so the accomplishment of its sequel, “22 Jump Street” was not hard to imagine. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller again did the smart thing, putting the lead roles in the hands of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, who share a fantastic comedic chemistry. This franchise probably wouldn’t work with anyone else. Moving on from “21 Jump Street,” in which the guys went undercover as high-school seniors, this new adventure puts them in college, as they try to investigate the spread of a dangerous synthetic drug that’s already killed one student. This second film plays a little more loose than its predecessor, but it’s still great fun. Supporting roles from Ice Cube, Peter Stormare, Jillian Bell and Nick Offerman add to the comedy value. Commentary, a featurette and a few deleted scenes can be had on standard DVDs, but Blu-ray packages are packed with six making-of featurettes and 22 deleted scenes. 3 stars
“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” (2014, R, 102 min., $29.98) Rumors of a sequel to the 2005 hit “Sin City” swirled in cyberspace for years. It’s not exactly a memorable trip back to the violent town — the film doesn’t pack the explosiveness or story depth of its predecessor. There’s plenty of visual flair, and the performances (Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Eva Green, Josh Brolin, Bruce Willis) are worth noting, but this sequel is simply boring. Like the 2005 film, “Dame” takes several story lines and ties some of them together as the plot moves forward. There’s the stripper looking for revenge on the crooked politician, the private detective looking to put his crime-laced past life behind him and the ever-popular Marv (Rourke) who’s always up for trouble. Special features on Blu-ray and standard DVD are decent, and they include an interesting green-screen viewing of the film. Other extras include making-of featurettes on makeup and stunts. Character profiles are available as extras. 2 stars
“It Happened One Night” (1934, NR, 105 min., $39.95) Screwball romantic comedies seem to come out every week, but few of them are any good. It’s a shame they can’t all be “It Happened One Night,” the seminal selection in the genre. With Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in lead roles, director Frank Capra’s 1934 classic won all five major Academy Awards, a feat that’s only been matched twice. It’s about a runaway socialite named Ellie (Colbert) and cranky newspaper reporter named Peter (Gable) stuck together on a road trip from Florida to New York City. Peter knows who Ellie is, as her being on the run has been documented in the news. At first, he tries to help her to get the story, but, eventually, opposites attract in one of the greatest romances of all time. Thankfully, the Criterion Collection has finally released this classic on Blu-ray, and it’s a 4K digital restoration with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack. The new cut looks and sounds better than anything out on standard DVD. A nice collection of special features come with the new release, including a documentary on Capra, as well as an interview with the director’s son. 4 stars
“Into the Storm” (2014, PG-13, 89 min., $28.98) Mother Nature takes center stage in this storm movie from Steven Quale. Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies and Matt Walsh star, but visual effects drive this movie about a town that’s hit hard by a series of violent twisters. Some head toward the vortex, while others run for their lives.
“Automata” (2014, R, 109 min., $19.99) Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, Dylan McDermott and Robert Forster star in this thriller set in the future about a time when human life is dwindling and robots are assigned to protect. When a robot breaks protocol, it’s up to an insurance agent to locate the source of a problem that has the potential to get worse.
“And So It Goes” (2014, PG-13, 94 min., $22.98) Directed by Rob Reiner, Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton star in this romantic comedy about a self-centered real estate agent who’s forced to take care of the granddaughter he didn’t know he had when his estranged son leaves her on his doorstep. He turns to his neighbor for help in caring for the girl.
“Reclaim” (2014, R, 96 min., $19.98) John Cusack, Ryan Phillippe and Jacki Weaver star in a thriller from Alan White about an American couple who has their newly adopted daughter kidnapped while abroad. The couple soon realizes the adoption agency it worked with is not what it seems, and getting its daughter back could be a deadly proposition.
“Ragnarok” (2013, PG-13, 96 min., $26.98) An archaeologist named Sigurd, captivated by Norse mythology, turns his focus toward a Viking ship found at the Oseberg burial mound in Norway. The ship holds an inscription Sigurd finds in another part of Norway, and it takes him, a colleague and his kids on an adventure to find the secret behind the writing.
“If I Stay” (2014, PG-13, 107 min., $29.98) Based on the best-selling novel of the same name from Gayle Forman, director R.J. Cutler’s romantic drama follows a teen named Mia (Chloe Grace Moretz) who goes into a coma after a car accident. Now, she’s faced with the toughest decision she’s ever had, as she tries to hang on for her life.
“As the Lights Go Out” (2014, NR, 115 min., $24.98) A tight-knit group of Hong Kong firefighters are sent out to a warehouse fire where the blaze is raging out of control. The fire has the potential to darken the city if the firemen can’t turn it back in time. Directed by Derek Kwok, the thriller stars Nicholas Tse, Simon Yam and Shawn Yue.
“Legends of the Knight” (2013, NR, 76 min., $19.99) The power of Batman is the focus of this inspirational documentary from Brett Culp. The director explores the power the fictional character has had on people facing disability, hardship or disease, as they try to find their inner superhero to battle the obstacles they’ve encountered in their lives.
“A Cookie Cutter Christmas” (2014, NR, 90 min., $14.93)
TV on DVD
“Wolfblood: Season Two” (two discs, 14 episodes, $14.93)