Redbox round-up of recent releases

Redbox features many movies, both recently released and older. Easy to use Redbox machines can be found at many convenient locations.
Redbox features many movies, both recently released and older. Easy to use Redbox machines can be found at many convenient locations.

As going to the movies becomes more and more expensive, many Americans are opting for the $1 alternative known as Redbox. One dollar can rent a fairly new film just out on DVD from an easy vending-machine-style kiosk, plus an extra dollar fee for every day that it is not returned. There are around 28,000 Redbox locations worldwide.

So, instead of shelling out $10 to see a new movie in a crowded theater, I rented four movies from Redbox to watch and review from the comfort of my own home.

The Ides of March, directed by George Clooney (who also stars) was a bit of a mixed bag for me. While the acting was top-notch (George Clooney won the Best Actor Golden Globe for this role, and co-stars Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei were all pitch-perfect as usual) I felt the story, while compelling, to be disappointingly predictable. Overall, though well done, and the dialogue well written, I expected more from the talented (and politically outspoken) Mr. Clooney. I’ll give it a B-.

Contagion, which I would describe as a “medical thriller,” is a great movie for date night with your better half if you have no desire of ever touching them again. Featuring an all-star cast (Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, Gwenyth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard and more), Contagion vividly depicts the very real possibility of a worldwide epidemic with the power to kill millions in months and the subsequent reactions of the fearful living. This movie unfortunately lost a believability credit when Demetri Martin came on screen as a lab scientist. I kept waiting for the comedian to pull out a guitar in a bio-suit and launch into a corny song about disease. One poor casting choice aside, Contagion is a must-see for any American that wants to cut back on touching their face, nail biting, or international travel. A.

50/50, starring the very lovable Joseph Gordon Levitt and hilariously inappropriate Seth Rogen, confronts the emotional trauma following cancer diagnosis for the sick and their loved ones. Also featuring well-known faces such as Anna Kendrick, Anjelica Huston, Bryce Dallas Howard and Phillip Baker Hall, 50/50 is based on a true story written by Seth Rogen and friend Will Reiser, who was diagnosed with cancer and recovered. Rogen, who helped Reiser cope with his illness, plays the same character for Levitt in this heartbreaking 100 minutes. I have no problem with openly admitting that I bawled for a good ten minutes, and my guess is that when you get around to seeing this film, you’ll know the part when you see it. 50/50 gets a 100%

As an avid admirer of Ryan Gosling, I expected for Drive to change my life, paint a more specific picture of an ideal man and inspire me to track down Gosling’s address. Instead, I was sadly disappointed by the hour-and-40 minutes of indie-techno-circa 1980’s music, little dialogue, and shocking amounts of gore. Aside from the music, another inappropriate-for-the-setting aspect of the film is the Sixteen Candles-esque pink cursive font used for the credits. I understand the appeal to the artsy as far as award nominations go, but some people, like myself, rent a movie looking for a specific thing, in this case, Ryan Gosling’s torso. This would definitely fall under the category of a “man’s movie,” and even as a girl who loves a good Tarantino violence scene, I found the movie lacking in acting quality, music choice and overall story. My rating: B- (keep in mind that Drive would have been a B had Gosling ever taken off his blood stained-scorpion design racing jacket).

The next time you are broke and looking for something to do, make your way to the nearest Redbox location and choose a movie. No, renting a movie might not be as exciting as going to the movies, but overall I spent $5 and a rainy weekend avoiding the weather and watching some decent movies.

Redbox: you won’t be disappointed.


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