Couch Theatre

DVD Review: Blood, Sweat and High Heels

Charlize Theron stars in “Atomic Blonde.”
Sam Struckhoff, December 2017
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NOW ON DVD and BLU-RAY

“Atomic Blonde” (R) — In a coterie of ruthless spies, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) reigns supreme — a vixen with literally killer stilettos, endless style, smarts and the brawn to back it up a mile. And that’s what she does — in satisfyingly unending fight sequences and all the gritty action you came for. After a colleague is killed, she is sent in from MI6 to Berlin to assist the local chief (James McAvoy) in ferreting out a double agent and retrieving a master list of operatives that’s been stolen. International spy rules apply, so trust no one. John Goodman and Sofia Boutella also star.

“Brigsby Bear” (PG-13) — Corny and a little weird, but somehow unexpectedly sweet, “Brigsby Bear” is the story of James (Kyle Mooney), who was abducted as a baby, raised underground and cut off from the world but for an educational children’s show about the titular bear. After James is rescued and reunited with his birth family — and finds out that the show he is obsessed with was made exclusively for him by his underground “Dad” (Mark Hammill) — he begins to equate the resurrection and resolution of the show as necessary to his assimilation into real life.

"Despicable Me 3" (PG) — After Gru (Steve Carrell) and wife Lucy (Kristen Wiig) are sacked from the Anti-Villain League for failing to thwart a former child actor-turned-villain, the aptly named Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), the adoring minions hope for a return to villainy. Unfortunately for them, the family instead packs it up to visit a newfound relative -- long-lost twin brother Dru (also voiced by Carrell) -- in his native Freedonia. With a family history of wicked behavior, Gru and Dru battle for influence while Lucy manages the misadventures of their adorable girl gaggle. The gang doesn't necessarily raise the bar in this iteration, but they certainly don't drop it. Minions still rule. Banana.

"Better Watch Out" (R) — It's a lovely Christmas holiday, and Ashley (Olivia DeJonge), like many other 17-year-olds, is picking up a little Christmas cash babysitting. Her charge, the precocious and angelic-faced 12-year-old Luke (Levi Miller), has other plans for his special night with Ashley; he cooks up a plot with his bestie to guarantee a closer relationship. But this is no peaceful silent night. Threats abound, and as events unfold, the decoration is more blood splatter than holly berries. It's surprisingly suspenseful and funny and disturbing, and it's the absolutely dead-black Christmas murder comedy you didn't know you wanted this year.

"Crash Pad" (R) — Attractive mature woman Morgan (Christina Applegate) cheats on her neglectful husband (Thomas Hayden Church) with a younger, ginger-haired romantic named Stensland (Domnhall Gleeson). Instead of being the fulfillment of her dreams, it turns out he's a simply a tool in a revenge plot against her hubby. But when the Mister finds out, he confronts the younger man, and then abruptly decides to turn the tables on Morgan by moving in with Stensland and reliving his glory days. The pair of opposites' escapades make up the bulk of this under-the-radar 'bromedy'.

"American Assassin" (R) — Mitch Rapp (Dylan O'Brien) is a man with a revenge mission. His parents were killed, his fiancee was murdered by terrorists and he's uniquely suited to dish out a boatload of payback. Or so he thought until he gets lured into a CIA black-ops training program under the tutelage of master spy mentor Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). Hurley sharpens the knife that is Rapp into a scalpel, seriously suited to dish out a boatload of payback. When terrorist arms dealer Ghost — formerly trained by Hurley — steps into the picture, Rapp and Hurley combine to investigate and, you know, dish out a boatload of payback. The film is potentially the first of many, as it's based on a novel series by Vince Flynn. Sanaa Lathan also stars.

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