WILL SMITH is the best thing about Disney’s live-action Aladdin remake. Toby Jones is the best thing about pretty much anything with
Toby Jones in the cast — including the murky psychodrama Kaleidoscope.
And Eighth Grade offers adolescent angst aplenty but few moments of real feeling. Such is modern life.
DVD Of The Week: Aladdin
(PG) 128mins, out Monday
SUMPTUOUS but soulless reworking of the animated favourite, as Disney continues to mine its back catalogue to stunning commercial effect, if little else.
Will Smith is a solid enough stand-in for Robin Williams as the Genie, although we have seen his undoubted charisma deployed more effectively in other roles.
The action is loud and kinetic but the magic is lacking and there are very few laughs. Even the songs feel shoehorned into what is essentially a scimitars-and-sandals action romp.
Given the setting, the leads’ American accents are jarring and aside from Smith, the most three-dimensional character is probably the magic carpet.
Unlike Aladdin’s lamp, this is shiny but empty. Still, given director Guy Ritchie’s recent output, it could have been a lot worse.
(15) 94mins, out Monday
WELL-MEANING teen drama that blew away critics when it hit cinemas — though quite why isn’t clear.
Elsie Fisher is adequate rather than revelatory as Kayla Day, the painfully shy 13-year-old lurching her way awkwardly through various agonising rites of passage.
Writer-director Bo Burnham finds a couple of poignant moments but the narrative beats are wearily predictable.
Josh Hamilton does fine work as Kayla’s endlessly patient father but elsewhere the movie is peopled with archetypes — bitchy popular girls, dorky suitors and sweaty horndogs.
Mid90s offers a more nuanced and rewarding take on adolescence. Tellingly, far less of the running time is taken up with kids staring glassy-eyed at their phones.
(15) 96mins, out Monday
TOBY JONES is the best thing about most things with Toby Jones in them. And that’s just about true of this slow-burning psychodrama, belatedly making its DVD bow a couple of years on from its cinema release.
That’s not to diminish a typically excellent performance from Jones. In fact, he is given a good run for his money by telly veteran Anne Reid.
She plays Jones’ mother in an oppressive, unsettling slowburner about a murder or two (or three) that is part Albert Square, part Rillington Place.
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Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle lead stars at glamorous T2 Trainspotting premiere
(18) 104mins, out Monday
BETWEEN Escape To Victory and Escape Plan, Sylvester Stallone was a kindly convict in this silly, schmaltzy but very enjoyable prison potboiler, re-released on DVD after 30 years presumably for good behaviour.
Before the faintly unhinged finale, this is an oddly sweet affair, more concerned with heartwarming scenes of male bonding than jailhouse staples like drugs, rape and Aryan gangs. (Ignore the 18 certificate. Today, it would barely merit a 15.)
There is some rough-and-tumble on a muddy football field with Billy from Predator and a guard gleefully informs Stallone he will receive just two rolls of toilet paper a month. Otherwise, it’s all rather jolly.
Donald Sutherland dials it down as the dastardly warden, letting his moustache do most of the heavy lifting, while Tom Sizemore is surprisingly good (and amazingly slim) as Stallone’s ingenue inmate buddy.