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Neeson’s exciting ‘Non-Stop’ on video

POSTED: June 3, 2014 7:00 a.m.
Universal Home Entertainment/

An airline marshal (Liam Neeson) is aboard a flight when it's hijacked, then finds he's being framed for the crime in "Non-Stop," now on home video.

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The latest action thriller from Liam Neeson and a caper comedy starring Cameron Diaz that was shelved for a couple of years have made their way to home video this week.
“Non-Stop” (Universal/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital/On Demand, 2014, PG-13, featurettes). Neeson has been giving his fans kinetic thrillers on a regular basis ever since “Taken” in 2008, and while plausibility is never a strong suit, they are always entertaining and suspenseful.
And so it is with this one, starring Neeson as an airline marshal on a commercial flight when it’s hijacked for ransom, and then finding himself to be the chief suspect. So he begins tracking down the real hijackers from among the passengers.
Despite some lapses in logic, the film keeps things moving at a fast clip while making clever use of 21st century electronic devices, so we never have too long to think about anything. And co-stars Julianne Moore and Michelle Dockery (of TV’s “Downton Abbey”) are well used, though the same can’t be said for Lupita Nyong’o, who won an Oscar earlier this year for “12 Years a Slave” but has nothing to do here.
“Gambit” (Sony/Blu-ray/DVD, 2014, PG-13). This caper comedy — a remake of a 1966 film that starred Shirley MacLaine and Michael Caine — was a high-profile title during production, primarily because of stars Cameron Diaz and Colin Firth, and because the screenplay was adapted by Joel and Ethan Coen. After being slated for a wide theatrical release in 2012, it finally showed up last month for a brief, under-the-radar release in a single New York theater.
It’s not very good, but it’s also not any worse than a lot of films that are released in 4,000 theaters and then head to DVD a month or two later. Based only loosely on the ’60s film, this very broad farce casts Firth as a quiet London art curator who recruits a Texas cowgirl (Diaz, in an abrasive stereotype) to scam his boss, a grade-A twit (Alan Rickman). Firth and Diaz have no chemistry and most of the gags fall flat, although Stanley Tucci occasionally livens things up as a German appraiser.
“American Made Movie” (Virgil/DVD, 2014, G, trailer). We’ve all had the experience of talking to someone on the phone about a reservation or asking about an account, only to discover the person you’re talking with is in some other country but won’t say where. Or noticing that everything you buy seems to have a tiny sticker that says “Made in China.” This documentary explores globalization and makes the case for America’s strength coming from innovation on our own soil. But it’s not a screed and offers a hopeful outlook.
“Journey to the West” (Magnet/Blu-ray/DVD, 2014, PG-13, in Mandarin with English subtitles, featurettes, trailer). Stephen Chow, whom you might remember for the cartoony martial-arts comedies “Kung Fu Hustle” and “Shaolin Soccer,” co-wrote and co-directed this absurdist farce about demon hunters, and by demons I mean computer-generated giant monsters. A young hunter who sings lullabies to the creatures he hopes to dispatch links up with a female hunter of more direct authority and a reluctant alliance gradually develops as they track down the Monkey King. Off-the-wall comedy in the Mel Brooks vein mixed with flashy CGI set pieces.
“Eastern Bandits” (Well Go/Blu-ray/DVD, 2014, in Mandarin with English subtitles). Set during the Japanese occupation of China during World War II, this action thriller follows a resistance fighter who infiltrates a gang of bandits, hoping to prod them into helping him assassinate the Japanese commander. Some of this oddly plays out like a Western.
“Claire” (Monarch/DVD, 2014, audio commentaries, featurettes). A high school football star becomes haunted by the death of a girl he doesn’t remember. But he begins to feel connected after someone points out that her name is on the cast he has on his broken arm. After discovering photos of the girl on social media he becomes obsessed with learning her story.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." Website: www.hicksflicks.com
Email: hicks@deseretnews.com

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