Punch Drunk DVDs: 'A Hologram For The King', 'Supergirl': Season One, 'Addicted To Fresno', And More
America’s dad Tom Hanks stars in this surreal dramedy as a disgraced corporate businessman hired to convince the king of Saudi Arabia to invest in a new teleconferencing technology.
The Good: I’m a big fan of director Tom Tykwer’s work, from Run Lola, Run to Cloud Atlas, and this new film carries over a great deal of his unique, dreamlike approach to storytelling seen in his previous films. Tom Hanks is excellent as always and really manages to simultaneously convey both the character’s humor and his depression throughout the movie. While A Hologram for the King has great deal of heart to it, it is also a rather funny movie at times, without ever going too far or becoming especially offensive with its culture-clash storyline.
The Bad: The plot of the film is bit meandering. As the story goes on it becomes more a series of anecdotes about an American in Saudi Arabia than an ongoing storyline with a beginning, middle, and end. The tone also shifts to follow this change in the storytelling, and while it initially takes a somewhat trippy and whimsical tone when focusing on exposition and characters at the beginning, when it starts just following Tom Hanks on his foreign adventures, the film takes on a much more somber feeling for some reason, and keeps that more unpleasant tone until the end.
Overall: Despite its rambling third act, A Hologram for the King is a very unique and entertaining movie. It kind of plays like Up in the Air with a bit of Groundhog Day and the typical Hanksean charm throughout. T. Hanks doesn’t disappoint.
Special Features: “Making of” Featurette, “From Novel to Screen”, “Perfecting the Culture”
Addicted to Fresno stars Natasha Lyonne as Martha, an optimistic hotel maid, and Judy Greer as Shannon, her sex addict sister she’s forced to take care of. The sisters’ situation goes from bad to worse when Shannon accidentally kills a man, leaving her sister once again stuck with cleaning up the situation.
We Said: “Despite so many funny folks all in one place, the film often feels like an extended episode of a floundering sitcom on its last legs, desperately struggling for relevancy.” Rating: 2 out of 5
The Good: Fans of director Jamie Babbit’s previous work will probably get on board with this movie’s off-beat sensibilities. It has a very impressive cast, most of whom manage to get a moment or two in which to shine, and a couple of the pitch-black moments of humor did manage to get a chuckle out of me.
The Bad: A lot of the humor in this movie seemed to be trying way too hard for a shock laugh to the point that it often felt more like a knockoff of The Hangover movies. I’ve always had rather mixed feelings on director Babbit’s films. All her work seems to touch on a type of tone that I can appreciate, but it never stays there long, opting to instead stick with an off-putting indie vibe that I find distracts from the comedic potential that was set up. Addicted to Fresno was that all over, and really just fell flat for me.
Overall: Trying too hard to shock and be silly, Addicted to Fresno has moments of dark comedic charm from its talented cast.
Melissa Benoist stars as the titular DC heroine, the cousin of the currently off-screen Superman, sent to earth to protect him but arriving 24 years too late. Seeing Superman is doing just fine without her protection, she takes on the mantle of Supergirl, defending National City from a host of supernatural bad guys, while also juggling her personal life as alter ego Kara Danvers. Supergirl is a fun and kind of campy TV drama take on the DC characters that critics and audiences absolutely love. You can now catch up on the full first season before it returns (now on The CW instead of CBS) this fall.
Special Features: Supergirl’s 2015 Comic-Con Panel, “The Man from Mars”, “A World Left Behind: Kyrpton”, Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes
Also Available: 11/22/63: The Complete Series, Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon