Death and destruction are keys to this week’s new releases.
“The Purge Election Year”: 2.5 out of 4 stars. Politicians decide that the annual day when nothing is illegal must stop. James DeMonaco, who wrote and directed all three “Purge” films, tries to mine some personal connections through Joe (Mykelti Williamson), the owner of a small deli. He’s a man with a checkered past but a big heart when it comes to his community.
It has its moments. And the tension the director/writer has infused in the story is relentless. It’s just the unnecessary efforts to make the story bigger, coupled with a predictable plot, that leave it the least appealing of the “Purge” movies.
“Swiss Army Man”: 2.5 stars. Paul Dano’s performance is compelling. He’s the living part of this dead-namic duo, but in many ways his heart and emotions passed away years ago. Dano has shown an ability to play deep characters in such films as “Ruby Sparks,” and the problems run deeper in “Swiss Army Man.”
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Daniel Radcliffe gets more out of playing a corpse than a lot of actors get out of breathing roles. It’s a mark of a true artist who can play a character who farts so much and yet can still be taken seriously.
The fact that the movie rejects the idea of a passive observer makes it an interesting entertainment choice. It’ll be difficult to see this movie and not choose between it being a serious look at mental health and emotions in crisis or a total goof.
“X-Men Apocalypse”: 2 stars. The mutants must come together to battle the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse. The story drags, and the action is not that exciting.
It would have helped if this movie had mutated into a better plot.
ALSO NEW THIS WEEK
“The Passion Live”: Musical shot in New Orleans featuring Seal and Trisha Yearwood.
“Clowntown”: Clowns stalk a group stranded in an abandoned town.
“They’re Watching”: Found footage horror-comedy.
Diary of a Chambermaid”: Young Parisian chambermaid finds herself in a place she doesn’t like.
“Constantine: The Complete Series”: Matt Ryan stars in the TV series based on the DC Comics character.
“Sesame Street: Monster Magic”: Elmo and his friends discover the magic of numbers.
“Amazonia”: Monkey looks for a new life.
“The Venture Bros. Season 6”: Continuing adventures of the Venture family.
“Into the Forest”: The lives of two sisters are threatened by a power outage.
“Dexter: The Complete Series”: Includes 96 episodes of the crime drama about a serial killer.
“I Love Lucy: Superstar Special”: Two classic episodes of “I Love Lucy” have been colorized.
“Henry & Me”: Sick boy gets a chance to play a baseball game with famous Yankees.
“The Last King”: Heir to the throne must be safely escorted to the kingdom.
“Joshy”: Weekend getaway goes wild.
“Spillover-Zika, Ebola & Beyond”: A look at strategies to prevent devastating outbreaks.
“Wild Kratts: A Creature Christmas”: Enemies spoil holiday fun.
“The Demolisher”: Cable repairman becomes a vigilante.
“Penny Dreadful: The Final Season”: Nine episodes of the Showtime series are in the box set.
“Satanic”: Road trip takes group into Satanic situations.
“Vikings: Season 4, Volume 1”: Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) continues her struggles for power.
“Coming Out”: Filmmaker Alden Peters documents his own coming-out experience.
“Wild Oats”: Retired teacher lives it up with a life insurance check incorrectly made out for $5 million.
“The Andy Griffith Show: Christmas Special”: Unedited versions of two episodes presented in both the colorized and black-and-white versions.
“Winter: The Complete Series”: Eve Winter (Rebecca Gibney) is drawn back into detective work.
“The Hunting of the President Redux”: Documentary looks at the genesis of partisan vendettas.
“Perry Mason: The Complete Series”: Includes all nine seasons of the legal drama.
“Banshee: The Complete Fourth Season”: Includes the final episodes of the premium cable series.
“The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series”: Includes many of the most requested episodes of the talk show.
“Fender Bender”: An accident puts a young woman’s life in danger.
“Charlie Brown’s All Stars 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition”: Charlie Brown continues his efforts to lead his team to victory.
“Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV”: King Regis looks to save his kingdom from the menacing empire of Niflheim.
“Murdoch Mysteries: A Marry Murdoch Christmas”: Murdoch looks into the murder of a host for a Christmas charity gala.
“Complete Unknown”: Old flames reunite at a dinner party.
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“Star Trek Beyond”: The Enterprise faces a new threat at the edges of uncharted space.
“Our Kind of Traitor”: Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris star in the espionage thriller.