Locke’s Redbox Picks of the Week

by | Feb 19th, 2011 | 6:28PM | Filed under: DVD Reviews, Movie Lists, Movies, Weekly redbox Picks

Recommended Smaller, Overlooked or Underrated Movies in the Redbox Kiosks

Tamara Drewe

Gemma Arterton (Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia, The Disappearance of Alice Creed) exudes a sly sexiness, but there’s always something just a little off. Okay, let’s say it—it’s her eyes. She’s kinda cross-eyed… but in a sly, sexy way. Here Arterton plays Tamara Drewe, a re-made young woman who returns to her rural English town to beguile an old flame, tempt an even older local writer-celebrity (and his massive ego), and shack up with a hot young rock drummer (the always terrific Dominic Cooper, from History Boys and An Education). Beguiling despite imperfections (like Arterton), Tamara Drewe is based on a comic strip (which is a riff on Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd) and directed with a breezy naughtiness by Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, High Fidelity, The Queen). In addition to Arterton and Cooper, Roger Allam and Bill Camp are fine as two writers and Tamsin Greig (Showtime’s Episodes) shines as Allam’s long-suffering “writer’s wife.”

For Colored Girls

With this adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s groundbreaking 1975 poem-play-dance, Tyler Perry leaves behind the Madea dress and wig and goes for the prestige. The result is one of his better-directed efforts, while still playing to his core strengths: Making super-melodramatic, highly theatrical movies and plays about female emotions and issues. Most of the cast is captivating, including standouts Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Loretta Devine (Lottery Ticket), Phylicia Rashad, Kerry Washington (Mother and Child), and most devastatingly, Kimberly Elise. The emotions are Perry Extra-Large—you’re going to have to roll with some Oversized Drama Excess, and there’s no Madea-style humor to lighten the load (which sometimes tips toward the maudlin). But as with all of Perry’s films, his big heart is in the right place–you find yourself admiring his commitment to his message and responding positively to all those Broad-Stroke Feelings.

Virginity Hit

An almost handmade creation discovered and championed by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, Virginity Hit is exactly the kind of movie home video does best. It combines a cheap, YouTube-style approach with that age-old teen-comedy theme: Doin’ It for the First Time. The result isn’t anything new or special, and if you have no tolerance for “those kids with their YouTubing and their having the sex,” don’t bother. But as a group of high school pals set out to help their pal lose his virginity, it’s easy to see the sweet (though still raunchily obsessed with sex and bodily fluids) charm that caught McKay and Ferrell’s attention. Let’s face it, this tale has been new and exciting for every generation—this recent one just prefers to express it via digital cams and the Interwebs.

Step Up 3

As I’ve often said, sometimes you have to approach a movie based on what it wants to be, not what it isn’t. This three-quel isn’t out to tell a new story with emotional complexity or rich, unique characters. One part “I wanna dance!”, one part “We gotta win this contest to save our school/club/dream!”, the movie’s plot is as old as the hip-hoppin’ hills. But while it’s not really made for cranky middle-aged cynics like me, Step Up 3 expresses itself with such honest, earnest energy and stunning day-glo moves that you’ll soon find yourself forgetting to mock the cheesy clichés and instead grinning and tapping your toes.

Babies

Just a reminder, if you haven’t already, to check out this fascinating nonfiction film about four babies from four parts of the world. As I said last fall, “An entire documentary that’s infants being mind-blowingly cute could come off as a cheap stunt. (What’s next, a film called Kittens in Hats Falling Asleep?) Luckily Babies balances the cute with compelling cultural insights… It occasionally teeters on the edge of a novelty film, but the filmmaker’s honest interest in the various styles of child-rearing and the cross-cultural nature of maternal love keeps Babies from being overwhelmed by cuteness without sacrificing genuine joy.”


4 Responses to “Locke’s Redbox Picks of the Week”

  1. Jeremy F.
    Posted on February 20, 2011 at 12:43 am

    everytime i see Gemma, i picture her with those extra fingers she had removed…thats just creepy lol…

  2. Kathy Preston
    Posted on February 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I’m not too happy about this new format. It seems as though the older movies are mixed in with the newest ones. Your old way was much more user-friendly, where all newer movies were at the top, and older ones were at the bottom. Also, I do not like the delay of the new hit movies, such as, “Unstoppable”, which is out for release, but not on Redbox until March 15th.

    Please consider switching back to the old format, it is much more user-friendly.

    Thank you,

    KP

  3. In the Know
    Posted on February 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    The reason why releases are pushed back so far is because of certain contractual obligations between major movie studios and the Redbox company itself. This is one of the factors contributing to why you can rent these movies for so little cost. So stop complaining, or go buy the movie for yourself when it’s released to stores.