Rental Central

Tom Doty Times Columnist

November 29, 2013

A so-so week for releases saw two excellent offerings offset by two duds.

“Red 2” — The good news is this sequel does everything a followup should. You get more action and a lot more humor, as a quartet of retired spies team up to finish some Cold War business in Russia. Turns out there is a loose nuke in the former Soviet Union and everyone is out to get it. Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, 3Helen Mirren and Brian Cox return and have a blast blowing stuff up. Mary-Louise Parker is also back as the civilian Willis loves and she proves invaluable on their mission. New additions include Catherine Zeta-Jones, who acquits herself well as a Russian agent.

“Getaway” — This is a well photographed car/action flick that is not related to the classic Sam Pekinpah/Steve McQueen flick of the same title. Too bad, as this “Speed” clone serves up almost two hours of the same trick (said trick being to have a car take a turn and almost wipe out some poor soul). The bare bones plot finds Ethan Hawke cast as a racecar driver on the skids (sorry) who is blackmailed into driving a sports car at unsafe speeds by a mystery villain who has kidnapped his wife. Selena Gomez tries hard as a car-jacker who winds up being a passenger on Hawke’s insane quest.

“Jobs” — Bio-flicks sometimes suffer from being about a dull guy who did a great thing. That is the case here, as Ashton Kutcher portrays computer king Steve Jobs. The iMac guy sure accomplished much, but he comes off as an emotionless dweeb thanks to Kutcher’s portrayal. I read a few critics who compared this unfavorably to a TV movie. Shame on them, as TV has never been better. A perfect segue to our last offering.

“Breaking Bad: Final Season” — The short, but very violent, criminal career of a high school chemistry teacher stricken with cancer comes to its conclusion in their final 16 episodes of the excellent series. The show loses no momentum as people put pay to their choices. White finds that it is impossible to quit a criminal career and keep your spoils, as everything he created falls apart under the attack of a new criminal regime and law enforcement. The story never hits a false note and still manages to get in a few surprises. Bryan Cranston is perfect as White and the ensemble acts all get to have some wonderful moments as the story wraps up.