“The Amazing Spiderman 2”
The sequel to the 2012 reboot starring Andrew Garfield as the comic book hero is not as spectacular or cohesive as the first, plucking pieces from different comic storylines and melding them together.
This time, he prepares to graduate from high school, barely squeezing in one more save before donning his cap and gown and receiving his diploma. But as much as Peter is drawn to Gwen (Emma Stone), he is haunted by a promise to her dying father to stay away from her to keep her safe.
When Gwen takes matters into her own hands, Peter turns into super Spidey, prompting questions about whether he is a Spider-Menace or even if there's more than one rescuer in New York. He soon has his gloved hands full, though, when old pal Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) returns to see his ailing father and makes a peculiar request of Parker.
At the same time, a lonely electrical engineer, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx), who is virtually invisible to strangers and co-workers alike, has the workplace accident of all accidents and is transformed into Electro.
Much of "Spider-Man 2" requires Spidey to be playful or heroic or torn between his head and heart -- a divide obvious when he's clad in his red-and-blue costume, minus his mask. He and Ms. Stone, his real-life girlfriend, are so adorable together that their coupling is effortless to buy.
In the end, the emotional elements of the love story are better than the action scenes
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.
Extras include commentary from director Marc Webb, deleted scenes and Alicia Keys' "It's On Again" music video. Also, on Blu-ray: a six-part, behind-the-scenes making-of documentary and nine additional deleted scenes.
“Only Lovers Left Alive”
There's trouble in the paradise of Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and his Eve (Tilda Swinton), who are pretty much the "Only Lovers Left Alive" in the down-and-out 21st century of director Jim Jarmusch. Madly in love for millennia, the vampires live apart but reunite every few hundred years for sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Plus good conversation.
In the first of many precoital and postcoital philosophical discussions, Adam longs for the good ol' centuries and laments the recent ones in which "they" -- mortal humans -- have slaughtered the great scientists and contaminated the water (not to mention the blood) supply.
Wondrously albino-strange Eve does her best to cheer him out of his doldrums (a good sexy slow dance usually works), but their idyll is rudely interrupted by the arrival of Ava (Mia Wasikowska), her out-of-control younger sister.
Nothing matters more to this trio than the hemoglobin happy hour. You can't just suck any stranger's neck like you used to. The modern vampire's big occupational hazard is -- what else? -- blood poisoning. Adam scores periodic pickups with plasma pusher Dr. Watson (Jeffrey Wright), but he's seriously overdrawn at the blood bank.
Nobody does postapocalyptic ambiance better than Akron, Ohio-born auteur Jim Jarmusch, and no city is more postapocalyptic-looking than Detroit -- Adam's home these days -- eerily devoid of people and even cars, especially in nighttime. Terrific music -- from LPs and 45s played on vintage record players -- graces the film, including Adam's own smooth, potent Hendrix-esque originals.
Mr. Jarmusch's "transcendent minimalism" comes with fluid editing, beautiful lighting and a tremendous production design in this mood-piece reverie, which celebrates the ageless-endless marriage of a fragile and endangered species.
Rated R for language and brief nudity.
Extras include a "Traveling at Night With Jim Jarmusch" featurette, deleted and extended scenes, and Yasmine Hamdan "Hal" music video.
“The Quiet Ones,”
That this is a cut above the average horror film is thanks mainly to its pedigree as a Hammer Films production. The venerable British studio, known for churning out a steady stream of campy-but-fun monster movies in the 1950s and 1960s - and, more recently, the decent "The Woman in Black" and "Let Me In" -- imbues this 1970s-set tale of paranormal experimentation with a modicum of class and polish. Even with an English accent, the word "teleplasm" sounds silly. But the story (by Craig Rosenberg, Oren Moverman and director John Pogue) and the strong cast make for an experience that is both relatable and genuinely frightening.
Rated PG-13 for brief obscenity, smoking and violent and scary images.
Extras include commentary with Pogue and producer Tobin Armbrust, deleted scenes, gag reel. Also, on Blu-ray: a making-of documentary and "Manifesting Evil: Visual Effects" featurette.
-- The Washington Post
ALSO THIS WEEK:
• "Hey Arnold! The Complete Series": All 99 adventures of the Nickelodeon series starring the kid with a head shaped like a football are on this 16-DVD box set.
• "Rosemary's Baby": The NBC miniseries continues the psychological themes of the 1968 film, but it loses some of the tension and terror by expanding the tale to four hours and moving the setting from New York to Paris.
• "Finding Hope Now": Priest (Michael Badalucco) tries to help those who have been pulled into gangs. The film was shot in Fresno.
• "NCIS: The Eleventh Season": Includes the 250th episode celebration and interviews with the cast and crew.
• "Martial Arts Movie Marathon, Vol. 2": "The Fate of Lee Khan (1973)" and "Shaolin Boxers" (1976) are in the set.
• "The Sacrament": Two reporters find an isolated community of true believers devoted to a shadowy figure called "Father."
• "Revolution: The Complete Second Season": NBC series about life in a world where there's no electricity.
• "NCIS: Los Angeles: The Fifth Season": Celebration of show's 100th episode is included.
• "Aerial America: Southeast Collection": Soar over the South's major landscapes and landmarks.
• "Newhart: The Complete Fourth Season": Bob Newhart plays a befuddled innkeeper in the TV comedy.
• "A Haunting: Season 6": Tales of the supernatural take you inside real-life horror stories.
• "Home Is Where the Heart Is": Three very different people form a bond in a small town.
• "Leviathan": The 1989 film is now available on Blu-ray.
• "The Millers: The First Season": CBS comedy starring Will Arnett and Margo Martindale.
• "The Good Wife --- The Fifth Season": Among the episodes is the one featuring the event that shocked fans.
• "Adventure Planet": Animated tale featuring the voice talents of Jane Lynch and Brooke Shields.
-- Rick Bentley, Fresno Bee