Screening Room Movies at Home: “Divergent,” “Need for Speed,” “Oculus”

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Available at your local video store or for digital download on August 5th...


“Divergent” is the latest young adult sci-fi novel to be adapted to the screen. Like “The Hunger Games,” it’s an action drama set in a dystopian future with society run by people whose priorities may not include the welfare of the masses. It’s not quite in the same cinematic league as “The Hunger Games,” but it’s a reasonably entertaining and well-produced cautionary tale. It apparently diverges from the books in a way that may bother purist, but ”Divergent” is a modestly engaging startup for the franchise.

Shawn says: Not as glam as “The Hunger Games” or cheesy fun as “Twilight.” A way too sluggish start, too much set-up and not enough action. Sort of just blah. But fan approved.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

Walt Disney

The list of bad movies based on video games is a long one. Remember “Mortal Kombat,” “Super Mario Brothers” or “Max Payne?” The latest into the fray is “Need for Speed,” a mindless and overlong action flick that plays like a demolition derby for beautiful international roadsters

Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad” fame leads a cast that’s much too good for this material. But the heck with story, does it have fast cars and exhilarating stunt work? Yes…but the action becomes mind numbing after the first few crashes. The “Fast and the Furious” franchise, an obvious inspiration for this movie, seems almost sophisticated by comparison.

Shawn says: There is a coolness about this movie that can’t be denied. Sure it’s stupid but it’s a fun watch loaded with enough thrills to satisfy action junkies until the next “Fast & Furious” movie.

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

Relativity Media

RUSS: If you enjoyed horror flicks like “The Ring” and “Insidious,” you might find the creepfest, “Oculus” to your liking. A young woman sets out to prove that her parents were murdered 11 years earlier by a supernatural entity housed in a haunted mirror. Well acted and sharply edited, “Oculus” is a familiar genre flick, but should appeal to those who enjoy a few good jolts.

SHAWN: It's got good old-fashioned effect thrills. A bit subtle but scary enough to satisfy horror fans.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

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