PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Real Steel” (PG-13) — Films have put many a lens on the bond between father and son, but to this point they’ve all left out the most awesome angle of approach to paternal relations: robotic combat. “Real Steel” rectifies this oversight with a loud, exciting, corny and fun flick about a dad (Hugh Jackman) and his determined young son (Dakota Goyo) teaming up to train a boxing robot that will win the title (or whatever robots fight for) and bring them closer together.
In the near future, robot boxing abruptly replaces human boxing just in time to dash Charlie’s (Jackman) dreams of being a top fighter. Years later, he’s down on his luck, working around the edges of the robot-fighting scene. He reluctantly accepts the help of his estranged son, and the cliches start pouring in from there. “Real Steel” is no game changer, but if you have a boy who needs two hours of solid entertainment, sit down with him and watch some robot fights.
“50/50” (R) — This dark, smart, from-the-heart comedy about life, love and cancer caught many people by surprise. Joseph Gordon Levitt solidifies his position as the young actor with chops in this role as Adam, a guy whose cancer diagnosis gives him a 50-50 chance of survival.
The script is informed by true life, as writer Will Reiser looked into his own story of cancer survival when crafting this comedy script centered around heavy subject matter. With a real script in-hand, the performances don’t disappoint. Gordon-Levitt’s tightly wound Adam is candidly funny and never overacted, and Seth Rogen hits the mark as a guy’s guy who’s out of his depth and trying to support his best friend.
“Rebecca” (NR) [Blu-ray] — Alfred Hitchcock’s first American movie is now available on Blu-ray. Laurence Olivier plays a wealthy widower who brings his new love to his sprawling mansion. When the new lady of the house arrives, she finds that she’s not quite welcome, as the staff and much of the estate are still dedicated to the first wife, whose death is some sort of mystery. The performances deliver the full weight of the suspense and atmospheric dread in Hitchcock’s only film to win the Oscar for best picture.
“The Whistleblower” (R) — Rachel Weisz plays an American who takes a peace-keeping position in war-torn Bosnia. She quickly becomes the target of an extensive and corrupt network of military and diplomatic personnel when she tries to defend women pulled into the sex trade. The story escalates from gripping to intense as it becomes clear that it is one woman against the system.
“Mannix: Sixth Season”
“UFC 137 and 138: Penn vs. Diaz and Leben vs. Munoz”
“Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations — Collection 6/Part 2”
“Meet the Browns: Season 4”
“Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated: Season 1, Part 2”
© 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.