By Rick Bentley
The Fresno Bee
This week’s new video releases will take you on a long day’s journey into space and emotion.
“Passengers” (2 stars): Two space travelers face 90 years alone in space. From a technical standpoint, the massive space adventure starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt is stunning.
This is a film for which a four-story set 1,000 meters long and covered in 8 miles of LED lights was built. But while Lawrence and Pratt are always enjoyable to watch, the fact they have so little to do on this impressive set makes this a close encounter of the often boring kind.
Screenwriter Jon Spaihts, who showed great skill in creating a story that embraces both strong visual elements with interesting plots in “Doctor Strange,” looks lost in space. He doesn’t have enough for his players to say or do, so “Passengers” ends up with a story as thin as the air on Mars.
The conflict offers a little bump in the story, but it’s not enough to shake up the voyage.
“Collateral Beauty” (3 stars): Director David Frankel gives life to the different stories, keeping them distinct but fitting perfectly together in a maze that Howard (Will Smith) creates as an outlet for his troubled heart, mind and soul. The director doesn’t feel compelled to completely play out each story line.
This is a film not as much about reaching a destination as the pain, hope, love and time it takes for the journey.
There are times when the emotional elements are as thick as eggnog, and that’s OK. It’s a holiday movie — the time of year when it’s time to share emotions, open ourselves up to being vulnerable and reflect on the highs and lows that come with being human.
Also new this week
“Elle”: Businesswoman (Isabelle Huppert) gets involved in a game of cat and muse.
“Solace”: Psychic helps with a police investigation. Anthony Hopkins stars.
“Drunk History”: Drunken looks at Alexander Hamilton to the Great Molasses Flood are taken.
“Harry Benson: Shoot First”: Charts career of photographer who rose to fame alongside the Beatles.
“LEGO: Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu”: Heroic ninja faces very different problems when he returns home.
“Firestarter”: The 1984 film starring Drew Barrymore is being re-released.
“Spacepop: Princess Power”: Music, friendship, fashion and girl power unite.
“Six”: Mission goes bad for members of Navy SEAL Team Six.
“Takashi Mike’s Dead or Alive Trilogy”: Includes the three “Dead or Alive” movies.
“American Violence”: Doctor must decide if death row prisoner is guilty because he was wired to do violence.
“Robo-Dog: Airborne”: The super pet loses his family and memory chip.
“The Gospel of Mark”: The story of Jesus is told through the writings of Mark.
“Twin Peaks: The Definitive Gold Box Edition”: The original series is being released in time for the new season coming to cable.
New on digital HD this week:
“Patriots Day”: Events of the Boston Marathon bombings are followed
“Silence”: Two young members of the clergy make a dangerous journey to Japan to find their mentor. Adam Driver stars.