This week’s releases on home video: Bears, A Haunted House 2, Locke, and Muppets Most Wanted.
Running Time: 78 mins.
OFRB Rating: G
Narrator: John C. Reilly
Verdict: Reilly effectively narrates the seventh Disneynature documentary, which follows a grizzly mother and her two cubs over the first year of their lives. Unlike last year’s Chimpanzee, which tried too hard to anthropomorphize its subjects, Bears walks a subtler line, tracing shapes of human interactions but leaving most of the movie to exist as a beautiful look at a family of wild animals, struggling to survive. (4 stars out of 5)
Running Time: 86 mins.
OFRB Rating: 14A (coarse language, sexual content)
Starring: Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly, Gabriel Iglesias, and Cedric the Entertainer
Verdict: A Haunted House was the second-worst movie of 2013, yet unfathomably, A Haunted House 2 is actually worse. Six-year-olds will find the humour puerile, the movie runs 82 minutes too long, and even “fans” of the original will find nothing to laugh at here. You’d be better off just bashing your head into a wall for an hour and a half. (0 stars out of 5)
Running Time: 85 mins.
OFRB Rating: 14A (coarse language)
Starring: Tom Hardy, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, Olivia Colman, and Ben Daniels
Verdict: Taking place entirely inside a car in real time, as Ivan Locke (Hardy) drives away from his previous life and fields myriad phone calls, Locke is as brave as similar, single-actor-in-a-single-room movies like the Ryan Reynolds vehicle Buried. Unlike Buried, Locke spells out its central mystery in the first half-hour and then slogs along to its end credits with no rising action or climax. It’s an interesting experiment, but once you know why Locke’s driving, where he’s going, and who he’s talking to, there’s not much else to the movie. (3½ stars out of 5)
MUPPETS MOST WANTED
Running Time: 107 mins.
OFRB Rating: G
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey, Jemaine Clement, Ray Liotta, Hugh Bonneville, Celine Dion, Stanley Tucci, Danny Trejo, Christoph Waltz, Rob Corddry, Mackenzie Crook, Toby Jones, Tom Hiddleston, Zach Galifianakis, Josh Groban, Tom Hollander, Frank Langella, Usher Raymond, Chloë Grace Moretz, Miranda Richardson, and James McAvoy
Verdict: Muppets Most Wanted tries to beat audiences to the punch by addressing that it will be inferior to 2011’s The Muppets, but its self-deprecation can’t excuse its lazy writing. Some scenes just exist, with no inherent comedy beyond the characters acting in the same way they have for four decades. A plot of bank robberies, mistaken identities, and Siberian gulags may fly over some children’s heads, but the slapstick and goofy jokes will make up for it. Despite the film’s flaws, the cameos are plenty, Gervais and Burrell are quite funny, and a number of the songs are incredibly catchy. It’s not the best Muppet movie, but it’s not the worst either. (3 stars out of 5)