The Recorder

New on DVD for Sept. 26: ‘Transformers,’ ‘Taken’

By Rick Bentley

Tribune News Service

One new DVD looks at saving the world while another looks at saving lives. Then there’s also a classic holiday selection hitting stores.

“Transformer: The Last Knight”; 2.5 stars: You’ve heard this story time and time again: Humans and Transformers are at war and the humans aren’t doing so well. That’s because their big gun of Optimus Prime is missing.

But wait, there’s a chance the human race can be saved through a secret that has been buried for years. It again falls on the shoulders of Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) to find a way to retrieve that secret and stop the world from being transformed into a wasteland.

He gets some help from an English lord played by Sir Anthony Hopkins, who obviously needed a check. Then there’s the Oxford professor portrayed by Laura Haddock, who looks like the filmmakers were looking for another Megan Fox.

There’s nothing that original in the story or the way the action has been shot. It’s about time this franchise was transformed into a better production.

“Taken”; 2.5 stars: Don’t get confused. The NBC series has the same name as the action movie starring Liam Neeson but that’s about the end of the on-screen comparisons. The television production is a prequel to the movie and shows how the character got his special set of skills. The series does have another link in that it comes from executive producers Luc Besson, Alexander Cary and Matt Gross. It was Besson who wrote the scripts for all three of the “Taken” movies.

The TV series starts with Mills (Clive Standen) facing a family tragedy that has made him a broken man. It’s at this time that he’s being recruited into a secret government agency under the control of Christina Hart (Jennifer Beals). This team can unofficially go anywhere they are needed.

The series is a little uneven and despite a good effort by Standen, he’s just not up to the level of Neeson when he makes a threat.

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”; 4 stars: Along with “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” this is the production starring the Peanuts gang that is a must-own. The Emmy-winning animated television special delivers all of the same sweetness and smart humor, this time played out against the backdrop of Halloween.

As all of the gang gets ready for trick-or-treating and crashing Violet’s Halloween party, Linus decides to once again keep watch in the pumpkin patch in hopes of seeing the Great Pumpkin. This storyline really accents the insights into the way people behave that Charles Schultz captured in each of his works.

This one is a pure treat.

ALSO NEW ON DVD SEPT. 26

“47 Meters Down”: Two sisters must figure out a way to safety when the cable holding the cage they are in to observe sharks snaps. Mandy Moore stars.

“Shameless: The Complete Seventh Season”: This season of the quirky cable series begins with Frank (William H. Macy) waking up from being in a coma for a month after having been tossed into the Chicago River.

“Mune: Guardian of the Moon”: Young faun is selected to be the Guardian of the Moon in this animated tale.

“Ned and Stacey: The Complete Series”: The DVD set includes 11 episodes of the network comedy that were never aired. Thomas Hayden Church and Debra Messing star.

“Longmire: The Complete Fifth Season”: Robert Taylor plays a small town sheriff who tends to do things his way.

“3 Idiotas”: Three nerds who meet in college have a knack for causing problems. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles.

“2:22”: Man notices that strange events begin to occur in his life at the same time every day.

“Janet King, Series 3: Playing Advantage”: Marta Dusseldorp reprises her role as senior crown prosecutor Janet King.

“L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties”: The computer-animated odyssey stars Kris Wu and Fan Bingbing as sorcerers battling an evil traitor.

“Sleepy Hollows: Season 4”: Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) uses his knowledge of the supernatural to defeat the demonic forces that threaten present-day Sleepy Hollow.

“The Devil’s Candy”: An electric guitar proves to be a link to evil.

“Transformers – 5-Movie Collection”: All of the “Transformer” movies are available on one 6-disc set.

“Queen of the Desert”: Nicole Kidman stars in this look at Gertrude Bell’s life as an explorer and archaeologist for the British Empire.

“Bite Size”: Film follows four teens battling obesity.

“Grow House”: DeRay Davis, Lil Duval and Snoop Dogg light it up in this stoner comedy.

“Line of Duty, Series 3”: Vicky McClure and Thandie Newton star in the BBC thriller.

“Sign Painters”: Faythe Levine and Sam Macon look at the lost art of hand-painted signs for advertising.