Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts (5/12)- The Batman of Batman Unlimited finds himself up against a squad of animal villains calling themselves the Animilitia: Silverback, Cheetah, Killer Croc, and Man-Bat. Cleverly crafted with solid animation, it’s Batman versus the villains, but thankfully, he’s got Green Arrow, Nightwing, The Flash, and Red Robin to help him out. Simple, yet fun, I’d call this one a rating:borrow it for comic book fans (and their kids!)
The Cobbler (5/12) – Adam Sandler’s latest is more a modern-day parable than a slapstick comedy. As Max Simkin, he inherits a stitch machine that miraculously makes any pairs of shoes he works on into magic: when he puts on someone else’s shoes, they transforms him into the person himself in appearance and voice. When Max stumbles over this heirloom, he starts to explore the world around him from various lifestyles and perspectives, but it soon finds him in the midst of a criminal’s (Ellen Barkin) plot to takeover real estate. Max learns an adage of his great grandfather – “to know a man is to walk a mile in his shoes.” While the story is fun and even adventurous, the ultimate lessons about life and decision-making prove this one to be more than the average Sandler. rating: buy it
Cymbeline (5/19) – The second collaboration of director Michael Almereyda and Ethan Hawke on a Shakespearean adaptation, this one is more romance than the tragedy of their contemporary Hamlet (2000). But it takes the machinations of the court (or Game of Thrones) and mashes them up with some modern-day crime. Also starring Ed Harris, Milla Jovovich, John Leguizamo, and Penn Badgley, the film will appeal to the folks who like their Shakespeare and want their modern day genres, too. Less flashy than Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, this one still has enough pop to keep Shakespeare-phobes paying attention. I give this one a rating: rainy day it for those seeking something neoclassical.
Major Crimes: The Complete Third Season (5/26) – Captain Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell) leads a crack team of LAPD detectives to solve murders that are too hot for the regular police force to handle. Joining McDonnell in the ensemble drama are G. W. Bailey as Lt. Provenza, Anthony Denison as Lt. Flynn, Michael Paul Chan as Lt. Tao, and Raymond Cruz as Det. Sanchez. What was once a spinoff of The Closer has become a serious series in its own right. Here, you get all nineteen episodes from the third season, and some Philip Stroh (Billy Burke) to really creep things out. But the truth about this show is that there’s more going on here than you’d expect, with commentary on aging, loyalty, justice, gender, and more. If you’ve never seen the show, start with season one, but this is better than the average summer fare. rating: borrow it
Tracers (5/12)- Taylor Lautner must wonder what he’s doing wrong. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have both experienced post-Twilight success, and he’s stuck making movies like this. When a bicycle messenger with big debts to the Chinese mob can’t pay his bills, he jumps in with a parkour gang performing more difficult acts of… Aw, please, this is one you should just recognize the rating: skip it.
Welcome to Sweden (5/19)- Greg Poehler created this series about a sort of bumbling exec who leaves everything American to join his Swedish wife in her native land. It’s a fish-out-of-water story that is amusing at worst and clever at best, providing some romantic hijinks, clever misunderstandings, and more subtle critique of American subculture in its obliviousness to the rest of the world. For folks seeking a funny addition to a summer full of reruns, this one is definitely worth of rating: borrow it.