Cooling centers open to help battle extreme heat

Screening Room Home Video Edition: Paranorman; Step Up: Revolution; Lawless; Christmas in Compton

PARANORMAN

RUSS
A boy who can communicate with the dead has to help save his town from a witch’s curse in the adventure comedy, “ParaNorman.”

SHAWN
“ParaNorman” is a well-made and creative animated feature that’s a tad weird and maybe a wee bit too creepy for the very young. It’s about  a boy who must use his ability to see and speak with the dead to save his town from a centuries-old curse.

RUSS
The stop motion animation on display is first rate. Too bad the script is strictly second rate.

SHAWN
Yep, not the strongest in the storytelling department. But enjoyable nonetheless. Loaded with a bunch of standard extras.
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

STEP UP: REVOLUTION

RUSS
“Step Up: Revolution,” the fourth in the dance franchise, features some creative choreography by Jamal Sims, but there is little else to recommend it.

SHAWN
A great watch in the theaters because the 3D was truly spectacular. Made the dance seqences come to spectacular life. No point at watching at home, unless you are a fan.

RUSS
This is the perfect example of a movie that is best viewed on home video, though. If you’re interested in the dance sequences, you can skip through the amateurish, cornball dramatics in order to get to the good stuff.

SHAWN
The extras are loaded. You get music videos, dance instructions, featurettes and a flash mob index.

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

LAWLESS

RUSS
This tale of the Bondurant bootleggers and their fight with revenuers during Prohibition is never quite credible. Maybe it’s because the Australian filmmakers loaded the cast with British and Australian actors.

SHAWN
Not much about this movie works. A flawed dramatic arc. Unbelievable casting and a muddled script are the film’s major problems. you are better off watching HBO’s prohibition era drama series “Broardwalk Empire.”

RUSS
The main problem with this Southern-fried gangster drama is that it is erratically paced, unfocused and sadistically violent.

SHAWN
The bonus materials are also unimpressive except for a mini-documentary about actual bootlegging in Franklin County, VA back in the day.

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags

CHRISTMAS IN COMPTON

SHAWN
The proud owner of a popular Compton Christmas-tree lot finds the future of his beloved business in jeopardy when his entrepreneurial son pulls a stunt that could put him out of business. Much like a tyler Perry movie but without Madea.

RUSS: Didn’t see it.
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

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