This week was a real Christmas present for renters, with four excellent offerings on tap.
“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” — The belated sequel to “The Lightning Thief” finally arrives, and it’s worth the wait. This follow up hews closer to the popular novel and puts the son of Poseidon on a new quest — to find the Golden Fleece. Forget the mythology you know and enjoy this modern take on the material.
“The Lone Ranger” — Audiences stayed away from this action-packed western last summer, but don’t make that mistake as it debuts on DVD. Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer put a fresh coat of paint on the iconic duo. Depp is quite good as a moodier Tonto, and Hammer is just right as the masked lawman. Huge action sequences abound and there are only two dead spots — pretty good for a western that nearly clocks in at three hours.
“Elysium” — The director of “District 9” returns with a bigger budget and an A-list cast for his second feature. This time, the story takes place even further in the future (2154) and posits a depressing state of affairs. Earth’s atmosphere is so polluted that only blue collar folks inhabit it, while the rich live it up on an orbiting station. Matt Damon stars as a lower caste guy who sets his sights on the elite oasis where Jodie Foster resides. Worth a look if you missed it in theaters.
“Justified: Season 4” — Season 4 takes U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens back to Harlan where, he races against his rival, Boyd Crowder, to uncover the identity of a man who stole millions of dollars worth of drugs from the Dixie Mafia. This season has it all and introduces new characters while finding time to bring back others. The exceptional writing includes an episode by Elmore Leonard (who created Givens in a series of books and stories). The cast is top notch with Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins starring as Givens and Crowder. The excellent supporting players include Ron Eldard as a drug addicted Iraq war veteran and Jim Beaver as a sly sheriff.