Rental Central

Tom Doty Times Columnist

January 31, 2014

The New Year got off to a great start with rentals, so we were due for a few duds. That said, only one film this week truly qualifies, so it is still a strong year — so far.

“Rush” — Ron Howard delivers a fine action flick here. The story is based on a true account of the rivalry between two Formula 1 racers. Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) stars and the film gives him plenty of action scenes, as well as some drama as we get an insight into the adrenalin-fueled personalities of the sport. The film harkens back to Howard’s debut as a filmmaker when he made “Grand Theft Auto” for Roger Corman.

“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2” — Absolutely stupid followup to the fun kid’s flick. The accent is on jokes this time out, as the machine created in the first film runs amok and transforms an island community into a “Jurassic Park” of killer foods. The best joke (“There’s a leek in the boat”) was dropped in the preview, so adults might not want to share this experience with their kids. Just pop it in your DVD player and run.

“Argento’s Dracula” — The famous horror film maestro of Italy, Dario Argento, is back with this colorful take on Bram Stoker’s famous monster. Those fans expecting a return to “Suspiria” need to get over it. He’s not making that sort of film anymore, but that is okay, as this will do. You get a blood-soaked take on the story all in glorious 3D. Argento pulls no punches here and throws in enough messy deaths for a slew of horror flicks. He also gets an “all systems go” performance form Rutger Hauer as Van Helsing.

“House of Bodies” — Forget the dumb title and stilted plot (a detective visits a serial killer to figure out how to catch another killer) and just enjoy this low-key thriller. The film features way too many things you have seen before in these cop/serial killer movies, but the performances by Terrance Howard, as the detective, and Peter Fonda, as the serial murderer, keep it interesting.