The party continues in passable ‘Neighbors 2’
“Neighbors 2” (2016, Universal, R, $30), Nicholas Stoller’s scattershot sequel to the 2014 hit, would be a lot easier to take if almost every scene didn’t end with all of the characters screaming at each other.
That said, there’s a few chuckles along the way, thanks primarily to Zac Efron who not only gets the best jokes but is also given a few surprisingly poignant interludes.
Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne stars as former hipsters who are about to sell their house when members (Chloe Grace Moretz) of a fledgling sorority take up residence next door. There’s tailgate parties, bonding-over-bad-decisions and a message about being true to yourself. Extras: gag reel, featurettes and commentary by Stoller.
Also New To DVD Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle: Out of the Shadows (2016, Paramount, PG-13, $30):
A prizewinner in the unnecessary sequel sweepstakes, this manic action movie once again finds our heroes in a half shell battling the villainous Shredder (Brian Tee) who escapes from prison so he can destroy the world via a portal to another dimension. Megan Fox and Will Arnett are back to help Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo thwart the dastardly plan. The most surprising cast member is Laura Linney, who, to her credit, delivers a credible performance in the midst of all the green screen-ery. Extras: featurettes.
Standing Tall (2016, Cohen, R, $25):
An angry adolescent named Malony (Rod Paradot), who was abandoned by his mother (Sara Forestier) at the age of six, struggles to put his life in order. He’s given countless opportunities to start over again, thanks to a forgiving magistrate (Catherine Deneuve) and a patient social worker (Benoit Magimel). Director Emmanuelle Bercot brings a powerful, documentary-like realism to Malony’s stints in juvenile detention centers and halfway houses while Paradot manages to create a complex character who, while flawed, is never less than sympathetic. Extras: deleted scenes, featurettes and Bercot commentary.
Beauty and the Beast: 25th Anniversary Edition (1991, Disney, G, $40):
If you’re going to own only one Disney flick on Blu-ray, let this be the one. The first animated film to receive a Best Picture Oscar nod, “Beauty” is filled to bursting with relatable characters, eye-dazzling animation and hummable songs written by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman. The film might tell “a tale as old as time” but it makes it feel fresh again. Extras: three versions of the film, featurettes and preview of the 2017 live-action “Beauty and The Beast” with Emma Watson and Dan Stevens.
Blood Simple (1985, Criterion, R, $30):
More than three decades ago, the Coen Brothers made a splashy debut with this riveting film noir that’s so deliciously twisty, it practically leaves you dizzy. Dan Hedaya stars as a sleazy bar owner who hires a shifty private detective (M. Emmet Walsh) to kill his wife (Frances McDormand) and her boyfriend (John Getz). Of course, nothing turns out as expected thanks to a plot bubbling over with brutal double-crosses and tragic misunderstandings. Best of all, the Coens find a way to make these characters’ schemes darkly funny, all without sacrificing an iota of suspense. Extras: featurettes.
The Member of the Wedding (1952, Twilight Time, unrated, $30):
Has there ever been a more poignant film about the passage of time than this stunner based on a play by Carson McCullers? Julie Harris is terrific as a misfit tomboy named Frankie who, following her brother’s announcement that he’s getting married, convinces herself she can accompany the couple on their honeymoon. Sadly, Frankie doesn’t realize that she’s surrounded by a pair of fellow eccentrics — maid Berenice (Ethel Waters, in an astonishing performance) and cousin John Henry (Brandon deWilde) — who adore her. New to Blu-ray, “Member” is moving and memorable. Extras: featurettes and commentaries.
Unholy Partners (1941, Warner Archive, unrated, $20):
If you’re a sucker for newspapers dramas populated with characters who have ink in their veins, check out this thriller about a hard-boiled editor (Edward G. Robinson) who makes a deal with the devil when he allows a mobster (Edward Arnold) to finance his new, sensation-fueled tabloid. The paper is a success but when Robinson decides to go after Arnold’s illegal empire, Arnold fights back. “Unholy Partners” is essentially a series of face-offs between Robinson and Arnold but, boy, these actors know how to draw blood with their words. It’s a minor film with some major performances. Extras: none
French Postcards (1979, Olive, PG, $25):
Written and directed by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz (“American Graffiti”), this ensemble comedy tags along with a handful of American students (Miles Chapin, Blanche Baker, David Marshall Grant) studying in France for a year. As with “Graffiti,” a mood of melancholy hangs in the air as the kids flit around Paris, looking for love in all the wrong places. But unlike “Graffiti,” the performers don’t leave much of an impression, especially Grant and Baker who fail to flesh out underwritten roles. “French Postcards” isn’t bad , it’s just bland. Extras: none.