What To Watch: Ten Options From J.K. Rowling To Disney Shorts To National Security

Vacation and back to school will do a doozy to your schedule, especially a writing schedule! So here’s a list of what’s available now – and a few coming soon!

Two Broke Girls: The Complete Fourth Season (out now!) -Twenty-two episodes of Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, Max and Caroline, are still tearing up Brooklyn while they try to make sure their cupcake business stays afloat. The Kardashians, Teddy Ruxpin, and Victoria’s Secret pepper the show, but this season’s highlight might be the potential nuptials of Sophie and Oleg. Seriously, in season one, did you see that coming? This one strikes me as a Married With Children type of show: you watch it to remind you that your life is actually pretty good, and a lot less desperate! rating: stream it (I know, that’s a new one!)

Mike & Molly: The Complete Fifth Season (out now!) – Like the above season of Two Broke GirlsMike & Molly finds an unlikely centerpiece/highlight this season: the de-evolution of Carl and Victoria’s (Reno Wilson and Katy Mixon) relationship. Melissa McCarthy is hilarious, and has launched a viable cinematic career (for the record, Billy Gardell is working, but hasn’t caught on yet). But Wilson and Mixon are why I tune in, to see them squabble … and say ridiculous things. While we know Mike and Molly (Gardell and McCarthy) are the rocks of the show, it’s mostly the other two dysfunctional nuts providing the waves. And wow, do they! rating: buy it

The Casual Vacancy (out now!) – I backed into this one. It was a story by J.K. Rowling but it doesn’t star Harry Potter (sigh). Okay, so I’m just kidding but it wasn’t what I was expecting. Rowling’s story gets an HBO miniseries transition that revolves around the English village of Pagford where things are not as they might appear. (One might hear elements of Stepford Wives meets Desperate Housewives). I did want to dig it but I fear it might be too British (from an ironic, humorous perspective) for me. Those with more of a global sense will appreciate this one more than I did.  rating: rainy day it

Miles From Tomorrowland (out now!)- A favorite show in my house, this one finds Miles and his intrepid family traveling through space to connect the Interstellar Super Highway. Think Swiss Family Robinson meets Lost in Space with cartoons. It’s hilarious (thanks to Merc the robo-ostrich) and exciting, and there are usually teaching moments built into what the show has wrapped up in an entertaining story. This one came with a hoverboard flashlight, so it was received with great celebration at home. rating: buy it

Person of Interest: The Complete Fourth Season (out now!) – Whew! I needed to brush up on my PoI knowledge before tackling the fourth season of this intense show centered around the brawn, Reese (Jim Caveziel), and the brain, Finch (Michael Emerson), who the Machine sends out to stop crimes before they can occur (a la Minority Report). It’s waaay more complicated now that they have other lives to deal with like Shaw (Sarah Shahi) and Root (Amy Acker) but they’re on the run from Samaritan, an evil computer program that attempts to show ‘singularity.’ And if that’s not enough, The Brotherhood rises up to impede the mission of our small band of heroes. It’s captivating (and terrifying from a personal information perspective), and leaves me wondering whether or not they’ll be able to keep the show going too much longer? Nonetheless, those looking for a thriller to tide them over until the fall season launches should check this out. rating: buy it

Walt Disney Short Films Collection Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD (August 18)-  Twelve Disney original shorts (and eighty-eight minutes worth of animated bliss) are available on this collection. Some folks will like the ones starring people they know, like “Prep & Landing: Operation Secret Santa,” “Tangled Ever After,” the Mickey-starring “Get A Horse!” or the brand-new “Frozen Fever.” But it’s two of the absolutely original, not-based-on-what-we-know stories of “Paperman” and “Feast” that make this a collection that any lover of animated power must buy. I might tear up while I’m talking about it that I think they’re so amazing… and I don’t get that hyper about this! “Paperman” is a beautiful love story, and in it’s own way, so is “Feast.” But the story of a dog’s love for his owner, and an owner’s love for his dog, is perfectly capsulated in this one. I give it the most stars possible and an even wilder rating: give it

Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem (August 18) –A Halloween-themed DC original, the film finds that some of Batman’s worst adversaries, Scarecrow, Clayface, Solomon Grundy and Silver Banshee, formed a team to take what they want from Gotham. Thankfully, Batman has a team of his own in the form of Green Arrow, Cyborg, Nightwing and Red Robin. There’s more madness involved though, because the Joker is pulling strings and has a bigger, more dastardly plan. Can Batman stop him? (Of course he can, he’s Batman!) This one comes with the Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD with fun that the parents (the comic-influenced ones anyway!) can enjoy while safely tackling it with the kids. rating: buy it

Where Hope Grows (August 23) -A story of unlikely friendship, the film finds Kristoffer Polaha’s out-of-luck baseball player Calvin Campbell befriended by a local grocery worker, Produce (David DeSanctis). While the odd couple friendships in movies might be deemed ‘old hat,’ Chris Dowling’s story is deepened by the fact that DeSanctis is an actor with Down Syndrome who plays the disability to his strength. Campbell’s inability to get his life straight, or parent his daughter, gets a crash course in reality (and grace) from this kind-hearted man. rating: buy it

Citizen Four (August 25) -A documentary by Laura Poitras (and executive producer Steven Soderbergh), the film won the Best Documentary award at the Oscars. Addressing Eric Snowden’s information about the National Security Agency and wiretapping, the film shows the power of the NSA, and raises questions about how concerned we should be in general. For fans of political intrigue and social debate, this one seems to be a keeper – and a definite discussion starter. rating: buy it

DC LEGO Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom (August 25) – This is just fun. While the latest direct-to-DVD DC films are coming out in PG-13 format and not intended for younger audiences, the LEGO series provides the typical adventures of Batman, Superman, and the rest of the Justice League with hijinks aimed at making the kids (and adults) laugh. This one finds the JLA bickering over who would be the best leader, while the villains are banding together to take over. There just might be someone instigating the trouble in the JLA, but can they figure it out in time? The special edition Blu-ray/DVD/Digital also comes with a special collectible LEGO mini figure – always a hit with the collectors and the kids. rating: buy it

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About Jacob Sahms

I'm searching for hope in the midst of the storms, raising a family, pastoring a church, writing on faith and film, rooting for the Red Sox, and sleeping occasionally. Find me at ChristianCinema.com, Cinapse.co, and the brand new ScreenFish.net.
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