couch_theater2_c

Channing Tatum in “22 Jump Street”

Channing Tatum in “22 Jump Street”

(Editor’s note: DVDs reviewed in this column will be available in stores the week of Nov. 17.)

PICKS OF THE WEEK

“If I Stay” (PG-13) —  Mia (Chloe Grace-Moretz) is a teenage girl with a talent for cello, nice parents, a rock ’n’ roll boyfriend and a good chance of getting into Juilliard. While in the car with her loving family, they get into a horrible accident, and Mia’s body is rushed into surgery while her spirit looks on. Stuck between life and death, Mia has a decision to make. It sounds like it should be obvious, but she manages to stretch out the decision for the full run time.

Actually, any of those things from the first sentence of this review could be enough to say “yes” to life. Really. Most people lean toward staying alive —  just as a general rule —  if given the option. Do you sense what kind of melodrama we’re dealing with? To nobody’s surprise, the film is based on a bestselling novel for the young-adult market.

* * *

“And So It Goes” (PG-13) —  In a sun-dappled Connecticut neighborhood, a grumpy old coot gets saddled with a precocious child who softens his image just enough to help him find new love. It is as boring and unoriginal as it sounds. Oren (Michael Douglas) is a realtor with no people skills and a raging case of the grouchies. His no-good son drops by to give over a 9-year-old grandchild before he heads to jail. Diane Keaton plays a well-intentioned neighbor whose jokes never land.

Oren has to learn not to be such a cranky old fart, but by that point, you’re not invested enough to care. Rob Reiner has a great track record of movies that are both funny and uplifting, but this one didn’t go that way.

* * *

“22 Jump Street” (R) —  This is a sequel that truly builds on the success of its predecessor without recycling every single joke! In the last movie, “21 Jump Street,” Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill were two cops tasked with infiltrating a local high school to bust up a drug ring. Putting two overgrown adolescents into an environment full of real adolescents turned out to be a great move, plus Tatum and Hill have an easy, funny and admirable take on adult male friendships (called “bromances” in the contemporary vernacular). This sequel sends the duo after a college-based crime ring, stepping up the humor and the action.

* * *

“The Wind Rises” (PG-13) —  Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has an illustrious career that includes some of the world’s most-praised animated features. This movie has been called his farewell picture, and it’s a fitting image. The animated feature takes you into the mind of Jiro Hirokoshi, an airplane engineer with a sincere love of flight and the intangible beauty of mathematics. Unfortunately, Jiro’s masterwork designs were used by the Imperial Japanese military during World War II. Don’t let the cooked-up controversy keep you from seeing this gorgeous, heartfelt film.

TV RELEASES
“The Paradise: Season 2”
“Masterpiece: Worricker —  Turks & Caicos”
“King of the Hill: Season 7”
“Wolfblood: Season 2”
“One Piece: Season 6: Voyage Two”

© 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.