A weak movie that debuted on a streaming service and a “great” series top this week’s new entertainment options.
“Locked Down” Grade 1 ½ stars: The film felt timely when it debuted on HBO Max but down that it is on DVD and Blu-ray it feels dated. It is a tale of Linda (Anne Hathaway) and Paxton (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who are at the end of a long relationship in the time of COVID.
The first half of the tale works because writer Steven Knight (“Peaky Blinders”) and director Doug Liman (“Edge of Tomorrow”) offer a fascinating look at how relationships can come undone. These are not two people who hate each other but no longer have the desire or energy to stay together.
Their conflict is exasperated by the emotional and physical solitude created by being locked down in their home. That element will resonate with those who are dealing with their own feelings of hopelessness and despair caused by the pandemic.
Hathaway and Ejiofor are up to the challenge of playing this couple. They both have a way of playing characters who look to be on the edge of an emotional breakdown while trying to maintain some level of civility.
That all is lost when Knight’s script takes an idiotic turn. Instead of staying with the emotional conflicts, “Locked Down” turns into a silly caper film. Their jobs give Linda and Paxton a fool-proof way to be part of a larceny so grand they would never have to work again.
It would have been fine if Knight had created such an opportunity and Liman had focused on showing how a couple on the edge of a relationship abyss would react to such an opportunity. There could have been heated discussions about the criminal act made even more fevered by the anguish of months of solitude. It would have given the pair a focus for the anger, frustration and fears they have seen manifested by the pandemic.
Sadly, the emotional maturity of the first half is replaced by a silly finale.
“The Great: Season Two” Grade 3 ½ stars: The second season picks up four months after Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning) has launched a coup against her husband, Peter (Nicholas Hoult). A pregnant Catherine is gaining the upper hand in her war against Peter because he’s deeply in love with her.
Catherine finally takes the Russian throne for her own and must deal with the realities of liberating a country that doesn’t want to be. She’ll battle her court, her team, even her own mother in a bid to bring the enlightenment to Russia.
All of this plays out in the same embrace of the absurd that defined the first season. The Hulu series “The Great” has never claimed to be a documentary on the life of Catherine the Great. The series about the ruthless rise to power by the last reigning Empress of Russia is based in fact but the truth is just a starting spot.
It is a fun historical romp powered by the energy brought to the small screen by Fanning and Hoult.
Also new on DVD and Blu-ray as of April 26
“Aquaman: King of Atlantis”: Animated tale of Aquaman starting his first day on the job as king of Atlantis.
“Gasoline Alley”: Reformed ex-con, the prime suspect in a murder, will stop at nothing to prove his innocence.
“A Taste of Hunger”: Ambitious power couple is willing to sacrifice everything to achieve their dream of getting the coveted Michelin star.
“Moonfall”: Mysterious force knocks the Moon from its orbit and sends it hurtling on a collision course with Earth.
“Dead by Midnight Y2Kill”: The horror anthology series includes “Hell Evangelist,” “Jasper” and “Clean Your Room.”
“My Little One”: Two friends travel to Arizona to visit a woman they have not seen in 10 years.
Available through digital platforms
“Turning Red”: Dorky 13-year-old girl turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets too excited. It will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 3.
“Uncharted”: Nathan Drake (Tom Holland) is recruited by treasure hunter Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) to recover a fortune lost by Ferdinand Magellan 500 years ago. Will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on May 10.
“Oasis Knebworth 1996”: The documentary celebrates the story of the special relationship between Oasis and their fans that made the largest concert of the ‘90’s possible.
“Hostile Territory”: Former P.O.W. Jack Calgrove moves Heaven and Earth to be reunited with his children following the Civil War.