New on DVD: ‘The Lego Movie,' ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel'

June 20, 2014 

Box Office

“The LEGO Movie”

COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. PICTURE — AP

“The Lego Movie” Grade A-minus: An average Lego construction worker has the power to save the world.

Directors/writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have taken the colorful children’s toy and put it together with a solid script – one that has the high-speed and quirky humor of “Airplane.” The colorful animation and nonstop action will keep the attention of youngsters, while there’s a smart level of humor aimed at adults.

The pacing is just a click below frantic and a click above manic. A mix of stop-action and computer-generated images, the film is an explosion of visual splendor. Each frame is a character, vehicle or building put together with such detail that every moment should be studied to fully appreciate the craftsmanship. If you have doubts, try building an ocean out of Legos and see how complicated it can be.

After so many attempts to launch a great movie based on a toy franchise, “The Lego Movie” found an entertaining way to create a funny and fun movie while remaining true to the original product.

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Grade A: A popular hotel employee goes on the run. Ralph Fiennes stars.

Wes Anderson’s films are always filled with a sense of whimsy, but none has been as whimsical as “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” The director’s latest offering is as if Hans Christian Andersen had written a script for Quentin Tarantino because it blends the charm of a fairy tale with the craziness of a fast-talking action film.

The director has a frantic and specific rhythm to the way he presents dialogue, which is probably why he continues to go back to the same performers he’s used before – Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, etc. They understand the cadence needed to match the visual imagery that Anderson splashes across the screen.

The film is loaded with tremendous supporting performances, topped by Willem Dafoe as a nonsensical no-nonsense killer. Because Dafoe plays the role with such commitment, the character never lapses into silly levels and maintains the feel of a villain from a melodrama.

“Walk of Shame”: Reporter’s dream job is threatened by a one-night stand.

“Ernest & Celestine”: Animated tale of mice who live underground in constant fear of the bears that dwell in the city above.

“The Monkey’s Paw”: Three wishes cause nothing but trouble.

“DCI Banks: Season One”: Series based on the books by Peter Robinson.

“Four of Hearts”: Couple tries to rekindle their passion.

“Transformers Beast Wars: Chain of Command”: Optimus Primal and Maximals must stop Predacons.

“Meth Head”: Depicts the consequences of meth in America.

“Death in Paradise: Season One”: British detective (Ben Miller) goes to a Caribbean Island to investigate a murder.

“The Escape Artist”: David Tennant (“Doctor Who”) stars in the legal cliff-hanger.

“Alexander’s Lost World”: Traces the footsteps of Alexander the Great.

“The Rise of the Nazi Party”: Documentary looks at the rise and fall of the Nazis.

“Doc Holiday’s Revenge”: Wounded warrior must be saved from Doc Holiday, his would-be killer.

“Scott & Bailey: Season One”: Two detectives work for the Major Incident Team in Manchester.

“The Machine”: Computer programmers fall in love as they create the first-ever piece of self-aware artificial intelligence.

“The Good Witch’s Gift”: Romance between Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell) and Police Chief Jake Russell (Chris Potter) blossoms.

“Joe”: Ex-con with a hair-trigger temper is trying to stay out of trouble.

“The Attorney”: Shady lawyer takes on an important case involving government brutality.

“Regular Show: The Complete Third Season”: Includes all 40 episodes starring Mordecai, Rigby and their collection of pals.

“Power Rangers Megaforce: Ultra Defenders”: Megaforce team looks to the sixth Ranger to help fend off major destruction.

“House of Cards: The Complete Second Season”: Kevin Spacey plays the newly appointed vice president of the United States.

“The Angela Mao Ying Collection”: Features six of her best-known martial arts action classics.

“A Fighting Man”: Two men meet in the ring for a fight that will change their lives forever.

Rick Bentley,

The Fresno Bee

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