DVD reviews: 'Despicable Me 2,' 'Fast & Furious 6' and 'Adore'
“Despicable Me 2” (2013, PG, 98 min., $29.98). “Despicable Me,” the 2010 animated film about a super villain finding his good side, made plenty of bucks and captured tons of fans upon its release. The film was lots of fun, with a delightful plot and some great characters. With “Despicable Me 2,” the filmmakers have captured the same type of magic. Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, the animated picture picks up where its predecessor left off. Good guy Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) is living with his three daughters and a house full of his Minions. Gru has moved from the biz of taking over the world to making jellies and jams. That is until he's recruited by the Anti-Villain League. A powerful mutagen has been stolen, and the League teams Gru with agent Lucy Wilde (Kristen Wiig) in an attempt to track down this dangerous substance. This second helping adds some romance, and it's a bit sweeter than the first outing, but it's a solid film that should be recommended for family viewing. It looks like Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures have a wonderful franchise on their hands. Fans of extras, and there are some good ones here, should invest in the Blu-ray combo pack. It carries a load of featurettes that look into everything from the Minions to Gru's girls. Basic Blu-ray and standard DVD buyers will find a few featurettes, but not nearly as much as the combo packs. 3 Stars.
“Fast & Furious 6” (2013, PG-13, 130 min., $29.98). Presently, the most successful action franchise around, “Fast & Furious 6” gives its rabid fans exactly what they wanted. Delivering a steady does of fast cars, explosions, incredible stunts and hot women, filmmaker Justin Lin's fourth addition to the testosterone-fueled franchise is an exciting one. The crew (Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, etc.) is called upon by Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) to help catch an unstoppable criminal mastermind named Owen Shaw. Shaw's connection to Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) — an old love interest of Toretto (Diesel) — draws the boys into the case. As they delve deeper into Shaw's criminal activities, the crew realizes this is not going to be an easy task. In no way, though, is that going to stop them from taking their best shot. Following the tragic death of actor Paul Walker on Nov. 30, Universal Pictures announced that a portion of the sales from the DVD, Blu-Ray and digital releases of “Fast & Furious 6” will go to Walker's charity Reach Out Worldwide. Like most special features these days, the bulk of them for “Fast & Furious 6” are only available on Blu-ray. A series of featurettes on the cars, action sequences and characters can be found on standard DVD and Blu-ray. Just expect a lot more detail inside Blu-ray packages, including commentary from cast and crew. 3 Stars.
“Adore” (2013, R, 111 min., $19.99). Taboo's the word when it comes to director Anne Fontaine's “Adore.” Based on a novella named “The Grandmothers” from British author Doris Lessing, Fontaine's film is a provocative one. The picture follows two middle-aged women who live near the beach in Australia. Roz (Robin Wright) lives with husband Harold (Ben Mendelsohn) and son Tom (James Frecheville), and next door is her widowed friend, Lil (Naomi Watts), and her son, Ian (Xavier Samuel). When Harold heads off to Sydney for work, Roz caves to a sexual advance by Ian, and Tom finds out about it. Hurt by the situation, Tom makes a move on Lil, and before you know it, the two women are in physical relationships with each other's sons. This goes on for two years, and it's a normal way of life for the group. Eventually, Roz and Lil decide to break off the relationships, but the temptation is still there. The longer it goes on, though, the more danger there is that someone will find out what's going on. A tremendous cast gives this film a lot of strength, but the far-fetched plot is just too hard to get a grip on. No special features are available. 2 Stars.
“The Hunt” (2012, R, 115 min., $26.98). An innocent man's life is on the line after a lie is spread about him throughout his community. As the lie continues to grow, the folks in his town are thrown into a state of hysteria, and this man is the victim of a mob mentality. Mads Mikkelsen has the lead role in a film from director Thomas Vinterberg.
“Grey Gardens” (1975, PG, 100 min., $24.95). The fascinating 1975 documentary from Albert and David Myles and Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer gets a re-release into the Criterion Collection. This time, the follow-up film “The Beales of Grey Gardens” is included. The doc explores the lives of high society dropouts Big and Little Edie Beale.
“Jayne Mansfield's Car” (2012, R, 122 min., $26.98). Billy Bob Thornton wrote and directed this comedy drama — set in 1969 in Alabama — about two very different families that descend upon a funeral for a family member that ties them together. The cast carries some big names, including Robert Duvall, John Hurt and Kevin Bacon.
“Touchy Feely” (2013, R, 89 min., $26.98) A great ensemble cast — Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney, Ron Livingston and Ellen Page star — stars in this comedy drama written and directed by Lynn Shelton. The picture follows a massage therapist who suddenly develops an aversion to bodily contact that affects her job and relationships.
“Battle of the Year” (2013, PG-13, 110 min., $30.99). Bad boy Chris Brown takes center stage in director Benson Lee's film that has the world's best B-Boy dancers hitting their marks in a winner-takes-all competition. The film is packed with explosive routines and highly skilled performers, not to mention a soundtrack that bumps throughout.
“The Seasoning House” (2012, NR, 90 min., $24.98). This revenge thriller earned plenty of critical praise upon its release, and it marks the directorial debut of Paul Hyett, an expert prosthetic effects designer. The picture follows a deaf and mute young woman who is abducted and forced to work in a violent Balkan brothel.
“American Bomber” (2013, NR, 90 min., $19.95). The threat of domestic terrorism continues to grow in the U.S., and this picture from Eric Trenkamp tackles the terrifying subject. The film follows a soldier who's been dishonorably discharged from the military. His next step is a trip to New York City with a backpack full of homemade explosives.
“Saving General Yang” (2013, NR, 102 min., $24.98). Based on ancient Chinese folklore, this action picture packs in martial arts and certain drama in a film that is set in 986 A.D. When an opposing army abducts General Yang, his wife and seven sons make it their mission to save their father. Together, they take on an army.
“Angels Sing” (2011, NR, 87 min., $19.98). Starring Harry Connick Jr., Connie Britton, Lyle Lovett and Fionnula Flanagan, this holiday feature focuses on a man who has a lack of Christmas spirit because of an incident from his past. When his son faces a tragedy, he's forced to muster that spirit back and pass it on to his young son.
“Good Ol' Freda” (2012, PG, 87 min., $26.98). A must-see for Beatles fans, this interesting documentary from Ryan White takes a look at the amazing life of Freda Kelly. Never heard of her? Freda was just a shy teen from Liverpool when she was sought after to work as a secretary for a local band trying to make it big. The band was the Beatles.
NEW ON BLU-RAY
“Big: 25th Anniversary” (Tom Hanks and Elizabeth Perkins, 1988, PG, 104 min., $19.99)
TV ON DVD
“Futurama: Volume 8” (two discs, 13 episodes, $29.98)
“Teen Wolf: Season 3, Part 1” (three discs, 13 episodes, $29.98)
“The Game: The Sixth Season” (three discs, 19 episodes, $39.99)
“The Simpsons: The Sixteenth Season” (three discs, 21 episodes, $49.98)