“Ender’s Game,” Grade C-minus: Adults have figured out that youngsters have a better aptitude for the kind of high-tech battles that are going to be waged. The trick is to find the one gamer who has both the skill and the strategy to lead a pre-emptive strike on the buggers. They are said to have weapons of mass destruction, and it’s better if Earth strikes first.
The script by director Gavin Hood and Card spends more time on preparation than participation. What should have been the movie’s huge emotional moment ends up flat because of the way the story is built.
If “Ender’s Game” was a Saturday morning TV series, like “Power Rangers,” it would have been fine.
“Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth,” Grade B-plus: When Mike Tyson was pounding opponents into bloody messes in the boxing ring, it was those on the other end of his gloves feeling the pain. In this one-man show directed by Spike Lee, it’s Tyson who reveals all of the pain in his life. And his truthful recounting is compelling.
Tyson pulls no punches as he talks about everything from his broken family upbringing to how family has changed his life. He shows both a funny and tender side recounting the events that made him one of the greatest heavyweight champions and also one of the most notorious figures in sports history.
It’s obvious very quickly that Tyson’s not an actor, but the rawness of his performance is well suited for such a soul-searching production and adds to the emotional power of his words. If the truth can hurt then Tyson must be feeling a lot of pain.
“G.B.F.” Grade: B-minus: A Gay Best Friend is the latest high school fad and no school queen bee is completely worthy of being worshipped until she has one. The only problem is that in this high school no one has come out.
That changes when Tanner (Michael Willett) is outed. He becomes the focus of three high school girls who are convinced having Tanner as a friend will make them a lock to win the Prom Queen title. All he has to do is survive the constant pampering, sexual assaults and waves of questions from a high school that seems to be stuck in the 1950s when it comes to understanding gay people.
Director Darren Stein continues his assault on the high school practice of selecting a prom queen. His 1999 production, “Jawbreaker,” is a dark comedy about what happens when the prom queen gets accidentally killed. “G.B.F.” would have benefited from a little of the black humor that made “Jawbreaker” work so well.
“Best Man Holiday”: College friends get together during the Christmas holidays.
“Hetty Wainthropp Investigates: The Complete Collection”: BBC detective series starring Patricia Routledge.
“Grace Unplugged”: Teen’s faith and family ties are put to the test when her dreams start to come true.
“A Night in the Woods”: Peaceful camping adventure turns into a terror trip.
“The Armstrong Lie”: Documentary on Lance Armstrong’s rise and fall from grace.
“The Red Skelton Show: The Lost Episodes”: Features 16 episodes previously unreleased on DVD.
“Dallas: Complete Second Season”: Includes final episodes with Larry Hagman.
“Afternoon Delight”: A bored woman finds an unexpected friendship in an unlikely place.
“Sherlock: Season Three”: Modern take on the classic detective series.
“Festival Express”: Concert film featuring The Band, Grateful Dead.
“The King Family Classic Television Specials Collection Volume 1”: Includes “Easter with The King Family” and “Mother’s Day with The King Family.”
“Newhart: The Complete Second Season”: New Yorker (Bob Newhart) runs a small B&B in Vermont.
“Swamp People: Season 4”: More gator hunting adventures.
“Jewtopia”: Jewish and gentile unite in a search for love.
“Diana”: Naomi Watts plays the Princess of Wales.
“Wadjda”: Little girl’s determined to challenge traditional women’s roles in Saudi Arabia.
“All is Lost”: Man (Robert Redford) faces the deadly sea alone.
“And Then There Was You”: Wife learns her husband has been hiding a secret life.
“How I Live Now”: Explores themes of survival, self-sufficiency and love.
“Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer”: Documentary follows the group’s arrests, trials and sentencing.
“Sorority Party Massacre”: College girls share a dangerous secret.
“Hindenburg – The Last Flight”: Fictional account of one of the most devastating accidents in aviation history,
“Austenland”: Women finds herself in a Jane Austen world.
“Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon”: Follows Dee Renjie’s beginnings in the Imperial police force.
Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee