Kristen Bell in “Veronica Mars”


“The Art of the Steal” (R) —  Death-defying stuntman Crunch Kalhoun (Kurt Russell) is sick of botching motorcycle jumps at monster truck rallies. He contacts his half-brother (Matt Dillon) to set up one more big art heist. With Crunch as the “wheelman,” they assemble a team to fill out the rest of the heist-movie roles. Their eyes set on an antique book worth $20 million, Crunch and the gang banter and bicker their way through a typically twisty-turny art heist.

Without breaking the boundaries of the genre, “The Art of the Steal” manages to entertain. There’s the plucky ensemble, the hyperactive narration, the motorcycle stunts and misdirects —  everything that’s required.

“Generation War” —  This German mini-series seeks to tell the story of the ordinary Germans who came into adulthood during World War II, but who were not Nazis. The five main characters are friends in their 20s: Wilhelm and Friedhelm are brothers headed for the Eastern front; Charlotte is a nurse who has feelings for Wilhelm; and Viktor is a Jewish tailor who is dating aspiring singer Greta. The story covers about four years, beginning in summer 1941, when the friends believe the war will be over by Christmas.

The miniseries has drawn a great deal of praise and controversy around the world. The main characters aren’t the monsters we’re used to seeing in WWII films about Germans, but they aren’t totally innocent to what’s going on around them.

“Burn” —  In Detroit, neighborhoods are full of buildings sitting vacant and in disrepair —  each one a potential flashpoint for a deadly urban blaze. As urban decay sets in around dwindling jobs and slashed budgets, life-saving public services become even more crucial. This documentary follows the firefighters of Detroit’s Engine Company 50. Their wages are frozen, their numbers are few, they’re making do with damaged and outdated equipment, and the city has never needed them more. The film balances discussion of the larger issues with up-close looks at the brave individuals who serve.

“Veronica Mars” —  The underrated television show was canceled years ago, but fan-demand for a Veronica Mars movie was so enthusiastic that a feature-length release with the original cast has materialized. Veronica (Kristen Bell) has put her amateur-detective days behind her, and no longer wants anything to do with private investigations. When she’s on the doorstep of finishing her law degree and starting a new life, she gets a call from her ex, Logan. He’s been accused of murder, and he needs Veronica’s help. There’s plenty of fan-appreciation in the script, but it’s also a real-deal detective thriller that anyone can appreciate.

“China Beach: Season 3”
“Rookie Blue: Season 4”
“Laverne & Shirley: Eighth & Final Season”
“A Celebration Of Blues And Soul: The 1989 Presidential Inaugural Concert”
“Doomsday Preppers: Season 3”

2014 King Features Synd., Inc.