‘The House’ fails to be a big player

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FEATURES - By Amy Longs­dorf For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

On pa­per, the team­ing of Will Fer­rell and Amy Poehler in a com­edy about par­ents who open an un­der­ground casino to pay for their daugh­ter’s col­lege tu­ition sounds like a sure thing. But, in re­al­ity, al­most noth­ing about “The House” (2017, Warner, R, $28) hits the comic jack­pot.

The sit­u­a­tions are ridicu­lous, the plot twists pre­dictable, and, most sur­pris­ingly, Fer­rell and Poehler are un­able to gen­er­ate more than a sin­gle gig­gle or two. In fact, “The House” is so mis­guided, you’ll wind up feel­ing sorry for the cast mem­bers forced to go through the mo­tions of such a bad bet of a com­edy. On Ama­zon, Google, iTunes and Vudu

Also New To VOD and Stream­ing

The Be­guiled: The lat­est from Sofia Cop­pola (“Lost In Trans­la­tion”) aims to cast a spell with its hot­house at­mos­phere of re­pressed sex­u­al­ity and im­pend­ing vi­o­lence. But, for all its fever-dream qual­i­ties, it re­mains strangely re­mote and un­in­volv­ing. Set at a se­cluded board­ing school in Civil War-era Vir­ginia, the ac­tion be­gins with the ar­rival of a Union de­serter (Colin Far­rell) who al­most in­stantly up­ends the tran­quil­ity of the school, in­ad­ver­tently pit­ting the women (Ni­cole Kid­man, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fan­ning) against each other. A re­make of a 1971 movie, “The Be­guiled” is so afraid of be­ing melo­dra­matic that’s it barely dra­matic at all. A real dis­ap­point­ment. On Ama­zon, Google, iTunes and Vudu The Meyerowitz Sto­ries (New and Se­lected): Film­maker Noah Baum­bach (“The Squid and the Whale”) is back with a com­edy that cen­ters on mem­bers of an es­tranged fam­ily (Adam San­dler, El­iz­a­beth Mar­vel) who gather to­gether in New York for an event cel­e­brat­ing the artis­tic work of their fa­ther (Dustin Hoff­man). Sigour­ney Weaver, Emma Thomp­son, Ben Stiller and Adam Driver of­fer sup­port. On Net­flix. Pil­grim­age: Be­fore he donned Spi­der-Man’s tights, Tom Hol­land starred in this 13th cen­tury drama about a young monk who teams up with a for­mer Cru­sader (Jon Bern­thal) to help trans­port a re­li­gious relic to Rome. Along the way, Hol­land and com­pany are am­bushed by all kinds of bad men, in­clud­ing trai­tor­ous Nor­man sol­diers hop­ing to get their hands on the pow­er­ful talisman. A few se­quences stand out, in­clud­ing a fog-shrouded chase scene and the fi­nale which al­lows Bern­thal to shine. But much of the rest of the movie is a real slog thanks to the dreary vi­su­als and stilted di­a­logue. On Ama­zon, Google, iTunes and Vudu Armed Re­sponse: Wes­ley Snipes’ first lead­ing role since get­ting out of prison in 2013 finds him play­ing a Black Ops agent who is tasked with putting to­gether a team (Anne Heche, Dave Annable) to in­ves­ti­gate what hap­pened to the sol­diers sta­tioned at an iso­lated mil­i­tary com­pound. De­spite thin char­ac­ter­i­za­tions and unin­spired di­a­logue, “Armed Re­sponse” is a sur­pris­ingly en­ter­tain­ing thriller. Di­rec­tor John Stock­well (“Blue Crush”) makes great use of the tight quar­ters, es­pe­cially af­ter the char­ac­ters be­gin turn­ing on each other. Your nerves will get a good, rat­tling work­out. On Ama­zon, Google, iTunes and Vudu Pat­ton Oswalt - An­ni­hi­la­tion: This deeply per­sonal stand-up spe­cial dives into the last year of Pat­ton’s life, fol­low­ing the pass­ing of his wife, and how he worked through the pain and grief by find­ing hu­mor. Oswalt also explores top­ics in­clud­ing the angst of so­cial me­dia, the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal cli­mate and be­ing tricked by robo­calls. On Net­flix. Mind­hunter - Sea­son One: From “Zo­diac” and “Seven” di­rec­tor David Fincher comes a se­ries that, if the trailer is any in­di­ca­tion, looks like a binge-wor­thy deep dive into the minds of se­rial killers. Based on John Dou­glas’ mem­oir, the movie fol­lows the FBI pro­filer (Lan­caster na­tive Jonathan Groff) as he at­tempts to un­der­stand what makes seem­ingly ev­ery­day peo­ple go off the deep end. Char­l­ize Theron, of all peo­ple, exec pro­duced. On Net­flix.

Teen Ti­tles

Time­less - Sea­son One: Who doesn’t love a good time-travel ad­ven­ture? In this new se­ries, a crim­i­nal (Goran Vis­njic) de­ter­mined to de­stroy Amer­ica makes off with a state-of-the-art time ma­chine. To the res­cue comes an un­ex­pected team of he­roes: a his­tory pro­fes­sor (Abi­gail Spencer), a sol­dier (Matt Lan­ter) and a sci­en­tist (Malcolm Bar­rett) who use the ma­chine’s protype to travel back in time to en­sure key his­tor­i­cal mo­ments re­main un­changed. Not only does it work as a thriller but you’ll glean all kinds of in­ter­est­ing his­tory lessons from episodes de­voted to such events as Lin­coln’s as­sas­si­na­tion and the ex­plo­sion of the Hin­den­burg. On Ama­zon, Google, iTunes and Vudu

Fallen: The lat­est from “Shine’s” Scott Hicks has a lot go­ing for it: a game cast, a stun­ning lo­ca­tion and a ro­mance that re­volves around re-in­car­na­tion. But what’s on­screen is a tsunami of su­per­nat­u­ral gob­bledy­gook. Quak­er­town’s Ad­di­son Tim­lin ex­udes the right kind of haunted melan­choly to play a teenager who, af­ter show­ing up at her new board­ing school, is in­stantly drawn into a bizarre ro­man­tic tri­an­gle with two teen an­gels. Too bad the screen­play strands Tim­lin and the rest of the cast with awk­ward scenes that go nowhere. Based on a young adult best­seller, “Fallen” makes the “Twi­light” movies seem like “Cit­i­zen Kane.” On Ama­zon, Google, iTunes and Vudu

Tokyo Idols: From Ja­panese di­rec­tor Kyoko Miyake comes a fas­ci­nat­ing ex­plo­ration of “idols,” or teenage girl singers who col­lec­tively earn up to $1 bil­lion a year singing and danc­ing along to J-Pop tunes. They rarely play their own in­stru­ments or write their own mu­sic but they have deeply fa­natic fol­low­ers who, in the movie, claim their ar­dor is “not a fad, it’s a re­li­gion.” It’s a fas­ci­nat­ing look at a cul­tural phe­nom­e­non that is still go­ing strong in Ja­pan. On Ama­zon, Google, iTunes and Vudu


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