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'My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2' is on Blu-ray and DVD this week

Posted June 26

Nia Vardalos and the cast of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” were reunited for a sequel earlier this year, and now that romantic comedy is on Blu-ray and DVD.

“My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” (Universal, 2016, PG-13, featurettes, bloopers). This belated sequel (14 years later) to the independent production that unexpectedly became the biggest moneymaking rom-com of all time, according to Box Office Mojo, finds Toula (Nia Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) happily married with a teenage daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris).

Paris, about to graduate high school, is looking to attend college out of state, which sends Toula into an even greater-than-usual state of angst. Meanwhile, Toula’s parents, Maria and Gus (Lainie Kazan and Michael Constantine) discover their marriage isn’t legal due to a technicality, hence the impending wedding of the title.

Screenwriter Vardalos and the original cast (Andrea Martin, Louis Mandylor, etc.) manage to recapture the first film’s spirit and sweetness. Sadly, however, it feels like a labored small-screen sitcom blown up to theater-size proportions. There are some laughs, but it’s very hit and miss, and occasionally unnecessarily vulgar. Still, fans of the original should feel right at home.

“Midnight Special” (Warner, 2016, PG-13, featurettes). A man (Michael Shannon), with help from a cop friend (Joel Edgerton), has escaped a religious cult with his mysteriously gifted 8-year-old son (Jaeden Lieberher) in this sci-fi/supernatural/paranoia thriller. When it turns into a nationwide manhunt, Dad decides to plow ahead so the boy can realize his mission, whatever that may be. It's a road trip/chase flick that steals from a range of well-remembered blockbusters and is resolved in a way that won’t please everyone, but it’s a generally satisfying ride. Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver and Sam Shepard co-star.

“Crackerjack” (Monarch, 2016, PG-13, deleted scenes, storyboards, featurette). Touted as a Southern-fried relative of “Napoleon Dynamite,” this odd, and surprisingly irreverent, faith film — with comic narration by executive producer Jeff Foxworthy — follows a middle-aged man-child (Wes Murphy) whose passion is softball. After his live-in girlfriend of two decades (Bethany Anne Lind) becomes pregnant, he joins a church for all the wrong reasons and discovers his commitment issues are due to a family curse.

“King Georges” (Sundance, 2016, not rated, trailer). This documentary follows Georges Perrier in 2010 as he is about to lose his landmark French restaurant Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia after more than four decades. But he surprises the filmmakers by switching up his plans and hiring “Top Chef” TV star chef Nicholas Elmi. Let the struggle to maintain traditional cuisine begin.

“The Wave” (Magnolia, R for language, in Norwegian with English subtitles, featurettes, trailer). A popular tourist destination is threatened by a tsunami triggered by a massive landslide. This prompts a geologist to lead the effort to get everyone to higher ground before it strikes. Bolstered by state-of-the-art special effects and an emphasis on the humanity of its characters, this Norwegian disaster flick is a cut above most and makes for edge-of-your-seat summer fare. It is allegedly based on a true story.

“Knight of Cups” (Broadgreen; 2016, R for nudity, sex, language; featurette). In keeping with his most recent films, writer-director Terrence Malick has come up with another self-consciously arty and dense production that is more aesthetic tone poem than movie. This one seems to be chiding Malick’s moviemaking peers for their hedonism as a successful Los Angeles-based screenwriter (Christian Bale) mutes his demons by plunging headlong into Hollywood excess. Co-stars include Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Brian Dennehy, Antonio Banderas and Ryan O’Neal.

“Anesthesia” (IFC, 2016; R for language, sex, drugs, violence; trailer). A popular university professor (Sam Waterston) is mugged, and we flash back to his and others’ angst-ridden New York stories before the resolution. Character actor Tim Blake Nelson wrote and directed this ponderous, far too profane treatise on the human condition. A first-rate cast portrays the ensemble characters whose stories interlock, but the script is muddled and only occasionally hits the mark. Co-stars include Glenn Close, Gretchen Mol, Corey Stoll and Nelson.

“Going Away” (Cohen, 2013, not rated, in French with English subtitles, trailer; eight-page booklet). This melodrama is about two wayward souls in southern France, a teacher (Pierre Rochefort, son of Jean) who floats from school to school and a pupil’s tattooed mother (Louise Bourgoin), who owes money to thugs and is about to go on the run again. They meet, sparks fly, and he decides to hide her at the home of his wealthy-but-estranged family, where secrets gradually bubble to the surface. It’s very French in its approach but should appeal to foreign-film fans. Dominique Sanda co-stars.

“The Black Jacket” (Virgil, 2016, not rated). This cinema verite documentary is about a nonprofit run by former Black Panther Aquil Basheer. The organization attempts to reduce violence in South Central Los Angeles by changing the mindset of gang members one by one.

“The Midnight After” (Well Go, 2016, not rated, in Cantonese with English subtitles). This is a grisly end-of-the-world Chinese yarn about 16 people on a minibus who exit a tunnel around 2:30 a.m. only to find the city streets are deserted thanks to some kind of pandemic. It's based on a serialized internet novel that went viral and was later published in book form.

“The Brothers Grimsby” (Columbia, 2016; R for sex, nudity, violence, language, drugs; deleted/extended scenes, featurettes, bloopers). Sacha Baron Cohen co-wrote and co-produced this film, in which he stars as a dim English football hooligan who teams up with his brother (Mark Strong), a top secret agent, to save the world. It's a sleazy follow-up to Cohen’s “Borat,” “Bruno” and “The Dictator.” Co-stars include Isla Fisher (Mrs. Cohen), Penelope Cruz, Gabourey Sidibe and Rebel Wilson.

Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at www.hicksflicks.com and can be contacted at hicks@deseretnews.com.

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