DVD reviews: ‘This is Where I Leave You,’ ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ and ‘The Skeleton Twins&apo…
“This is Where I Leave You” (2014, R, 103 min., $28.98) Director Shawn Levy’s “This is Where I Leave You” was forecast to be one of 2014’s bright films, but it never cashes in on its potential. The family dramedy carries a terrific cast — Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Corey Stoll, Adam Driver, Jane Fonda, Timothy Olyphant and Rose Byrne star — but a lackluster screenplay that never hits many emotional highs and lows. It has some nice moments, but they’re not sustained in an uneven disappointment. The film follows a family reunited for the death of its patriarch. The children (Bateman, Fey, Driver and Stoll) are asked to stick around the house for a week to sit Shiva. The time together opens up old and new wounds, and, eventually, brings them together. Blu-ray packages carry a good collection of special features with commentary by Levy and screenwriter Jonathan Tropper and a handful of deleted scenes. Standard DVDs sets don’t carry much in the way of extras. 2 stars
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (2014, PG-13, 101 min., $29.99) Since breaking onto the scene in the 1980s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been in and out of the mainstream. In 2014, the reptiles made another run to the silver screen with hopes of attracting a new generation with a fifth film. Unfortunately, filmmaker Jonathan Liebesman’s action comedy isn’t going to take the Turtles back to their heyday. It isn’t bad, but it’s easily forgettable. Across the board, this latest offering isn’t anything special — and it’s unnecessary. The film is an origin story, as it introduces the birth of the Turtles and how they came to protect the city. Here, they break out of the sewers to take on an evil scientist who is hatching a plan to become incredibly wealthy with the Turtle’s usual nemesis Shredder in his corner. If the pairing succeeds, Shredder will hold the power he’s always wanted. Megan Fox, Will Arnett and William Fichtner give their all in leading roles, but they can’t save this pedestrian picture. No extras are available on standard DVDs, but Blu-ray sets carry an assortment of special features, including a few nice featurettes, a music video and an extended ending. 1.5 stars
“The Skeleton Twins” (2014, R, 93 min., $19.98) Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader deliver two of their best performances in this under-the-radar dramedy from director Craig Johnson, who also penned the script. “The Skeleton Twins” hits all the right emotional notes. Along with Wiig and Hader, there are strong performances from Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell, making this film one of 2014’s more enjoyable ones. When Milo (Hader) attempts suicide, his twin sister Maggie (Wiig) is there for him. The two haven’t talked in 10 years. Maggie invites Milo to come and live with her and husband, Lance (Wilson), for a short time, and he accepts. The experience brings them closer and helps Maggie and Milo work out some of the emotional issues that have been festering for a long time. Standard DVDs and Blu-ray packages hold the same special features, including outtakes a gag reel, commentary from the cast and crew and a making-of featurette that provides an in-depth look at the production. 3 stars
“The Maze Runner” (2014, PG-13, 113 min., $29.98) Based on James Dashner’s 2009 novel of the same name, “The Maze Runner” follows a teen named Thomas who wakes up in a maze with no memory of who he is or where he came from. He’s got company, though, as there are a group of boys who are also trapped. Dylan O’Brien and Will Poulter star.
“The Devil’s Hand” (2014, PG-13, 101 min., $19.98) Tis the season for possession movies. Rufus Sewell, Alycia Debnam-Carey and Jennifer Carpenter star in Christian E. Christiansen’s satanic thriller about six girls born on the same ominous day, which sets in motion an ancient prophecy that will envelop a town when the women reach their 18th birthdays.
“Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever” (2014, PG, 90 min., $14.98) It was only a matter of time before Internet phenomenon Grumpy Cat had her own movie. In a film that originally aired on Lifetime at the end of November, Grumpy Cat finally finds a home after being selected at the pet store by a 12-year-old girl named Chrystal. Aubrey Plaza voices Grumpy Cat.
“Stonehearst Asylum” (2014, PG-13, 112 min., $19.99) Directed by Brad Anderson, this thriller follows a young doctor who takes a job at a mental hospital. At first, the doctor is excited about his new position, but, then, a terrifying discovery changes the way he approaches his work. The solid cast includes Jim Sturgess, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine.
TV on DVD
“Arrested Development: Season 4” (three discs, 15 episodes, $29.98)