COUCH THEATER — DVD PREVIEWS

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Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Great Gatsby”

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PICKS OF THE WEEK
“The Great Gatsby” (PG-13) — F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic is brought to the big screen once again. This time, the look and feel of story has been adjusted — rather than a literary adaptation, the film has been deliberately made to resemble a music video. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Gatsby, the mysterious party-host extraordinaire who keeps lovingly gazing into the camera lens.

There isn’t an ounce of subtlety left in the story after director Baz Luhrmann is done with it. In this version, every nuance and every bit of symbolism is pulled out to the front and shown in vivid, hyper-colorful light. The visuals are so drippy and fast-paced, you’re more likely to wind up with a headache than a cathartic experience.

“Pain & Gain” (R) — Michael Bay (director of “Transformers” and “Pearl Harbor”) gives audiences a new chance to be disappointed and disgusted with the high-budget filmmaker with this based-on-a-true story effort. In the mid-1990s, Danny Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) had a (sort of) plan to achieve the American Dream: get some buddies (Anthony Mackie and Dwayne Johnson) to help him kidnap a wealthy client, then take the victim’s money.

This movie makes you feel gross — like spending too much time in conversation with the sleaziest guy in town. The film is meant to be a dark comedy: really bad things happen in such a way that you’re supposed to laugh. This is a good format when done right, but Michael Bay just isn’t the guy for the job.

“The Reluctant Fundamentalist” (R) — In 2001, Changez (Riz Ahmed) had a good job on Wall Street, an artsy wife (Kate Hudson) and a nice apartment. Born in Pakistan and educated in the U.S., Changez had a bright future ahead of him until the fall of the World Trade Center. After the attack, cracks started to form in his life. This film jumps back and forth in time to show the road from Changez’s old life to his new identity as a fundamentalist. Directed by Mira Nair, the film tries to take a balanced approach, but the conclusions of the story are fuzzy.

“Kon Tiki” (PG-13) — In 1947, a handful of men risked their lives on the open sea in a tiny boat made of brittle wood — all to prove a theory. Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl believed that Polynesia was settled by pre-Columbian South Americans. There apparently was only one way to settle the matter — sail from Peru into the merciless Pacific Ocean on a balsa-wood raft. This movie captures a real-life adventure, and puts that sense of wonder on the screen. It may be too slow for the really little ones, but older kids and up will get caught up in the journey.

TV RELEASES
“Sons of Anarchy: Season Five”
“The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season”
“Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Ninth Season”
“Elementary: The First Season”
“The Inspector Vivaldi Mysteries”

© 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

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