“Avengers: Endgame”; 4 stars: The film doesn’t even have a flaw small enough for Ant-Man to wiggle through. The production is so strong that even if you haven’t seen any of the other 21 films leading up to it or read a Marvel comic book, it would still be a gift of massive action sequences and emotional highs to lows.
Those who have been loyal fans are presented with a film directed by Joe and Anthony Russo that blends together major and minor characters, big and little plot lines and massive and insignificant moments to create a masterful presentation. It had looked like the Marvel Cinematic Universe had peaked with “Captain America: Winter Soldier” or “Black Panther,” but “Avengers: Endgame” has set a new and heavenly high standard for the comic book action film.
“Finding Steve McQueen”; 2.5 stars: Director Mark Steven Johnson’s latest effort isn’t perfect. Or halfway perfect. Or even one-quarter perfect. But he does take what would have been a rather bland heist story and mix it with a mediocre love story to create an enjoyable final product. It’s an example of getting the most out of the material. A major part of that success comes from strong enough casting to lift up the uninspired script by Ken Hixon and Keith Sharon.
Half the movie is based on the true story of one of the biggest bank robberies in United States history. A ragtag group of crooks from 1972 Ohio decide to travel to California to break into a bank where they have been told President Richard Nixon is hiding $30 million in illegal campaign contributions. The other half revolves around Rotella’s selection as the driver for the team, Harry Barber (Travis Fimmel).
Johnson has structured the film so it effortlessly goes from one element to another, which is enough to keep “Finding Steve McQueen” from making audiences want to make a great escape from watching.
ALSO NEW ON DVD AND BLU-RAY TUESDAY
“The Blacklist: Season Six”: Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) is torn between the relationship with the man she assumed was her father and her desire to know the truth.
“Batman: Hush”: Animated tale of a new mysterious villain who is leading all of Gotham City’s darkest elements against Batman.
“The Reflecting Skin”: Viggo Mortensen stars in the 1990 film about a small town living in fear of a deadly killer.
“Peter, Paul and Mary at Newport 1963-65”: Includes archival performances by Peter, Paul and Mary filmed at the folk festival at Newport, RI.
“Vice Squad”: Season Hubley plays a woman who is a single mom by day and a prostitute by night in this 1982 film.
“Wild Kratts: Creepy Creatures”: Kratt Brothers decide the best thing to do on Halloween is to discover creepy, cool creatures.
“The Spanish Princess”: Catherine of Aragon must find a way to stay on the throne after her husband dies.
“New Amsterdam: Season 1”: A doctor makes bold changes to a hospital to put more emphasis on patients.
“All Is True”: William Shakespeare (Kenneth Branagh) looks to find some peace in the final years of his life.
“NOVA: Lost Viking Army”: The mystery behind 300 skeletons unearthed in a mass grave is examined.
“Riverdale: The Complete Third Season”: The young people of Riverdale continue to deal with the dark forces in their town.
“Vault”: Two small-time crooks do battle with the mafia. Don Johnson stars.
“Teacher”: High school English teacher goes to disturbing lengths to protect his favorite students from bullies.
“Rafiki”: Two young women fall in love in a country that still criminalizes homosexuality.
“Shadow”: The military commander has a secret weapon in a kingdom ruled by a young and unpredictable king.
ALSO NEW ON DIGITAL HD TUESDAY
“The Secret Life of Pets 2”: Terrier Max (Patton Oswalt) must deal with major changes after Katie’s marriage and the arrival of a toddler. Look for it on DVD and Blu-ray on Aug. 27.
“The Last Black Man in San Francisco”: Two best friends try to find their place in a rapidly changing city. Will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on Aug. 27.
“The Banana Splits Movie”: The animal rock band from Hanna-Barbera’s 1968 “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour” is back. It will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Aug. 27.