This week’s releases on home video: Divergent, Need for Speed, and Oculus.
Running Time: 139 mins.
OFRB Rating: PG (violence)
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Jai Courtney, and Ashley Judd
Verdict: In the same way Eragon stole from dozens of sci-fi stories to shape itself into a new story, Divergent feels like a clip show of young-adult adaptations. It borrows liberally from everything from The Hunger Games and The Perks of Being a Wallflower to Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but Woodley’s likeable performance and Winslet’s terrifying, villainous turn go a long way toward making the stale dystopian tale feel fresh and exciting. (3½ stars out of 5)
NEED FOR SPEED
Running Time: 131 mins.
OFRB Rating: PG (violence, language)
Starring: Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots, Dominic Cooper, Scott Mescudi, Rami Malek, and Michael Keaton
Verdict: For an adaptation of a video game series with barely any complete characters, Need for Speed is better than it has any right to be. It’s not great, but considering how little there was to work with beyond vague concepts of street racing and fleeing from cop cars, it’s a miracle the movie functions as well as it does. (2½ star out of 5)
Running Time: 104 mins.
OFRB Rating: 14A (language, gory scenes, graphic violence)
Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Kate Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, Garrett Ryan, and James Lafferty
Verdict: Legitimately frightening at times and more stylish than you’d probably expect, but it never quite manages to sell its haunted mirror premise and shed its preposterous premise. While none of Oculus feels specifically informed by any one particular movie, it ends up feeling a bit reheated all over. (3 stars out of 5)