By Rick Bentley The Fresno Bee
A movie based on a teen novel and two TV series are out on DVD this week.
“Divergent,” Grade C: This is the latest in a string of movies based on a popular young adult novel — a fact that works against the film. A young woman (Shailene Woodley) finds herself in the middle of a war between factions in a future world.
Similarities to other movies and big questions about the story pile up so high the only thing that can save the film is the chemistry between the main characters. Woodley turns in a solid performance as the young woman facing major changes in her life. And Theo James is a dashing guardian to his young charge (maybe a tiny bit too young for him). There just aren’t any sparks when they get together.
It looks at a world filled with five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite. For this review, Candor seems the best way to go: Honestly, this is a film that will please fans of the book. It’s not bad, but it feels too familiar and lacks on-screen chemistry for it to win over those who haven”t read the book.
“Californication: The Final Season,” Grade B: The last 12 episodes of the Showtime comedy series continue the wild ride that has been the life of Hank Moody (David Duchovny). His portrayal of the flawed novelist has featured enough emotional highs and sexual lows to earn Duchovny a Golden Globe.
Through each season, Moody has tried to adjust to being a New Yorker in sunny California. It’s not been easy. The final season finds him in the writer’s room as his never-released feature film “Santa Monica Cop” has been turned into a television series. In typical Moody fashion, he has trouble getting along with the other writers.
Guest stars include Michael Imperioli, Heather Graham, Rob Lowe, Brandon T. Jackson, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Stephen Tobolowsky.
“Community: The Complete Fifth Season,” Grade C-: The NBC series that went from great to mediocre should have come to an end with these 13 episodes. But there will be a sixth season thanks to Yahoo Screen. This fifth season is an example of how original characters became less interesting with each passing year at the community college.
The two-disc set for season five features the episodes, plus cast and crew commentary on every episode, outtakes and two behind-the-scenes features: “Re-Animating the ‘80s” and “Advanced Television Production: 5 Days, 2 Scripts, No Sleep.”
Guest stars include Jonathan Banks, Vince Gilligan, Brie Larson, David Cross and Nathan Fillion.
Also new on DVD:
“The Trip To Bountiful”: TV movie that follows Carrie Watts (Cicely Tyson), who travels back to her beloved hometown.
“Need for Speed”: Mechanic hits the road after he is framed for a crime. Aaron Paul stars.
“Agatha Christie’s Poirot Fan Favorites Collection”: Features sleuth’s finest investigations selected by fans.
“Discovery Channel’s MythBusters Collection 11”: Continuing myth-busting efforts by Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage.
“Phantom of the Paradise”: Cult favorite from director Brian De Palma is now on Blu-ray.
“The Birthday Boys: The Complete First Season”: Contains all 10 episodes of the series from Bob Odenkirk and Ben Stiller.
“God’s Not Dead”: Freshman and devout Christian has his faith challenged on his first day of philosophy class. Kevin Sorbo stars.
“Getting Go, The Go Doc Project”: A look at modern dating and lust becoming love.
“Ironclad: Battle of Blood”: One of the survivors of the Great Siege of Rochester Castle fights to protect his family’s estate.
“Perry Mason Movie Collection: Vol. 3”: The wining attorney travels from Las Vegas to Paris.
“My Herzl”: Two brothers explore the legacy of Theodor Herzl’s life and career.
“I’ll Follow You Down”: A sci-fi exploration of wormholes, parallel universes, love and the possibility of starting over.