Monsters, a masked man, and music top this week's new DVD offerings.
Elysium, Grade C: A man (Matt Damon) goes on a mission to save polarized worlds. The prized possession in this futuristic thriller is a medical bed that can cure anything from leukemia to a missing face.
Too bad there wasn't a machine that writer/director Neill Blomkamp could have used to heal his script. It has more holes in it than 30 golf courses. If the story had been even a tenth as strong as the movie's sharp look, Elysium would have been a surprise hit. What partially redeems it are magnificent visual effects.
The Lone Ranger, Grade C-plus: Armie Hammer plays the masked man; Johnny Depp costars.
If you can accept this film is not your father's, or even grandfather's, Lone Ranger, then this latest adventure for the Masked Man and his faithful sidekick has a few fun moments.
Percy Jackson, Sea of Monsters, Grade B-minus: Percy must find the Golden Fleece.
The film, just like the 2010 release Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, continues to fill that action-film void between little kids and savvy teens. It's a balanced blend of the kind of action found in The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series and a touch of the teen angst that made the Twilight series so popular. A few special effects are weak, but the film moves at such a rapid pace there's not time to dwell on miscues.
One Direction: This Is Us, Grade B-plus: Morgan Spurlock's documentary on the British boy band is a melodic blend of concert footage and behind-the-scenes moments that range from comical to touching. Spurlock strips away the hysteria to offer a glimpse of the guys to go with the energetic shows. He doesn't shortchange the performances, taking the viewer from front-row seats to a perspective so close to the group that it feels like the audience is the sixth member of the band.
Also new on DVD:
Burn Notice, Season 7: Includes series finale.
Prisoners: Two families go to extremes to find their missing daughters.
Justified, The Complete Fourth Season: Series stars Timothy Olyphant.
The Family: A mob family is moved to France under the witness protection program.
Shameless, The Complete Third Season: Showtime series starring William H. Macy.