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Disneynature's latest Earth Day documentary is now on home video

Posted August 31

Disney’s latest Earth Day documentary is on home video this week, along with an eclectic variety of other titles.

“Born in China” (Disneynature, 2017, G, featurettes, music video). John Krasinski narrates this observational documentary as it reveals the stories of a panda mother and her baby; a 2-year-old snub-nosed monkey that feels displaced by a new sister, and a mother snow leopard raising two cubs, all in harsh environments deep in far northeast China. As always, the cinematography is striking and the narrative is on the cutesy side, but these are designed as family fare, not deep, probing investigative works. And a portion of the proceeds goes to the World Wildlife Fund to benefit wild pandas and snow leopards.

“Heal the Living” (Cohen, 2017; not rated/probable R for medical gore, nudity, sex; in French with English subtitles, featurette). This French melodrama has a story that may sound familiar: The first half of the film has an athletic teen being declared brain-dead after an auto accident and doctors urge his parents to donate the boy’s organs, while the second half focuses on a middle-aged woman who is on the list for a heart transplant. However, it’s not the story but the artful telling that makes this a surprisingly vital film, an ensemble piece filled with vivid characters and meticulous detail about both the organ donation and subsequent surgical processes.

“Bring It On: Worldwide #Cheersmack” (Universal, 2017, PG-13, featurettes, bloopers). This is the relatively innocent (although there’s some gratuitous sexual innuendo) sixth entry in the “Bring It On” franchise about cheerleading competitions, with silly dialogue that includes some social media satire, a “Mean Girls” vibe and the word “cheer” being inserted into everyday phrases. The first film was a theatrical release while the subsequent five entries have gone straight to video, and none have overlapping characters or cast members.

“Oxenfree” (Candy Factory, 2017, not rated/probable R for language). Three foster brothers are reluctantly reunited in this comedy-drama, when one of them suggests revisiting a lakeside retreat where, as children, they created an imaginative kingdom called “Oxenfree” and fought monsters. Now, as adults, they decide to relive their childhood fantasy and fight each other while attempting to put to rest their real-life demons.

“Baywatch” (Paramount, 2017; R for language, sex, nudity; theatrical and extended versions, deleted/extended scenes, featurettes). Dwayne Johnson is a veteran lifeguard at odds with new guy Zac Efron, a disgraced and arrogant former Olympic winner. This is an ultra-raunchy comedy spoof of the long-running TV series, with cameos by David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson and director Seth Gordon (“Identity Thief,” “Horrible Bosses”).

“Killing Hasselhoff” (Universal, 2017; R for language, sex, nudity, drugs, violence; deleted scenes). Speaking of David Hasselhoff, he plays a version of himself in this equally sleazy comedy about a nightclub owner (Ken Jeong) deeply in debt who participates in a “death pool,” in which each of the participants chooses a celebrity, and if his celebrity dies he wins $500,000. So, Jeong decides to kill Hasselhoff for the payday, but, of course, he bungles each attempt. Howie Mandel and Jon Lovitz have cameos.

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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