Picks of the week
(PG, 118 minutes, Sony): “Annie” can feel a bit edgy for a kid’s movie. When one of the girls asks what “hard-knock life” means, an older roommate glibly tells her, “it means our life sucks.” But, more problematically, it’s too long for a kid’s movie. A couple of the songs could easily be cut, and some of that time would have been better spent focusing on the relationship between Annie and Will, whose bond at times comes across as artificial. Contains some mild language and rude humor. Extras: commentary from the director, a making-of featurette and “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” music video. On Blu-ray: bloopers; “Something Was Missing” deleted song with Jamie Foxx; sing-alongs to “Annie” classics including “I Don’t Need Anything But You” and “Tomorrow”; featurettes: “It’s a Hard Knock Camp,” “Fun With Sandy the Dog,” “A Day on Set With Quvenzhane” and “Moonquake Lake – On Set!”; “Tomorrow Around the World” music videos in several languages; and a trivia track.
‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’
(PG-13, 150 minutes, Fox): Director-producer Ridley Scott portrays God as a petulant and vengeful child who has temper tantrums of epic proportions when he doesn’t get his way in this retelling of the Old Testament story of Moses (played by Christian Bale). It’s understandable that people were angry about the whitewashing of Egypt. But no aspiring actor of color should think of this as an opportunity missed so much as a bullet dodged. Contains violence, including battle sequences, and grotesque images. Extras: deleted and extended scenes, commentary by Scott and co-screenwriter Jeffrey Caine. On Blu-ray: “The Exodus Historical Guide” trivia track; “Keepers of the Covenant” documentary; “The Lawgiver’s Legacy: Moses Throughout History” featurette; “The Gods and Kings Archive”; and an HBO First Look.
(R, 101 minutes, Paramount): “Top Five” truly soars when Chris Rock, as comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, is interacting with his co-stars, particularly Rosario Dawson as a mysterious and charming journalist. Other scene sharers (and sometimes stealers) include J.B. Smoove as Andre’s loyal assistant, Kevin Hart as an epithet-slinging manager, Ben Vereen as a pivotal figure from his past, and Tracy Morgan, Leslie Jones and Sherri Shepherd as friends from the old days. Shot with crystalline sharpness by Manuel Alberto Claro, “Top Five” has the bright, high-gloss feel of the most delicious wish-fulfillment fantasies, but it derives its spiky, propulsive energy from the adamantly forthright figure at its center. Contains strong sexual content, nudity, crude humor, profanity throughout and some drug use.
“Son of a Gun”
“Penguins of Madagascar”
“Wolfy, the Incredible Secret”
“Ride the Pink Horse”
“Revelation: The End of Days”
“Troop Beverly Hills”
“Mark of the Devil”
“Turn: Washington’s Spies: First Season”
“Ghost Whisperer: Complete Series”
“Maude: Complete Series”