New Video: ‘Lego Batman’ has comic zing — and plenty of action – Los Angeles Times
New on Blu-ray
“The Lego Batman Movie” (Warner Bros. DVD/Blu-ray combo, $35.99; also available on VOD)
It’s not as delightfully inventive or surprisingly philosophical as “The Lego Movie,” but the Batman-themed spinoff is every bit as funny and a lot more action-packed. Will Arnett reprises his guttural “Lego” voice performance as the Dark Knight, satirizing the last few decades of “grim ’n’ gritty” Batman stories. “The Lego Batman Movie” gets some added zing from a cast of characters that includes not just the “Bat family” of Robin (Michael Cera) and Batgirl (Rosario Dawson) but also the Justice League, a fair number of DC villains and — just for the heck of it — King Kong, Sauron and Lord Voldemort. So far, this is the most “anything can happen” comedy of 2017.
[Special features: A commentary track, deleted scenes, featurettes and bonus shorts]
“Kill Switch” (available June 16)
Dan Stevens continues his evolution from “Downton Abbey” hunk into science-fiction/fantasy star here, where he plays an ex-NASA pilot who takes a job with a private company exploring a mirror Earth. The film’s big gimmick is the whenever the hero is in the world known as “The Echo,” the perspective shifts to first-person, replicating the feel of a video game. This means less of Stevens’ physical presence on-screen, but whenever his face and voice are in the mix, he brings gravitas to the moral question of whether it’s right to destroy one universe to save another.
TV set of the week
“The Rockford Files: The Complete Series” (Mill Creek Entertainment DVD, $69.98; Blu-ray, $129.98)
One of the greatest TV detective shows of all time — from the genre’s finest era — stars the versatile James Garner, an actor equally adept at being a laconic adventure hero and doing deadpan comedy. He got plenty of opportunities to do both between 1974 and 1980 playing Jim Rockford, an ex-con private eye who uses his connections with crooks and cops to run a low-rent detective business out of a beachside mobile home, specializing in cold cases. He avoids violence as much as possible, preferring to use his wits — and the false identities he adopts with the help of a portable business-card printer in his car. The show’s funny without being jokey, realistic without being cynical. Plus, it has Mike Post and Pete Carpenter’s synthesizer-and-harmonica theme, which sounds as good the 100th time as the first.
From the archives
“They Live by Night” (Criterion DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95)
Farley Granger and Cathy O’Donnell co-star in Nicholas Ray’s debut film, an adaptation of Edward Anderson’s Bonnie and Clyde-inspired novel “Thieves Like Us” (which was later remade by Robert Altman). It’s a strikingly poetic first feature, exploring the childlike romance between a young hoodlum and the woman he can’t let go. A striking car chase over the opening credits establishes Ray’s visual flair right up front, as the picture overcomes a repetitive plot thanks to Ray’s interest in the humanity of these underworld types. These hoods grumble about the way they’re treated in the press, while cynically noting that the institutions they steal from are the biggest crooks of all.
[Special features: A commentary track and interviews]
Three more to see
“American Epic” (PBS DVD, $29.99; Blu-ray, $34.99); “Frantz” (Music Box DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95); “John Wick: Chapter 2” (Summit/Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99; 4K, $42.99; also available on VOD)