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‘R.I.P.D.’ is worth watching, but wait for DVD release

Date: 8/1/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

Featured in this week’s column are movies I’ve been watching in theaters, on DVD and on demand.

In theaters: R.I.P.D.

“R.I.P.D.” has received a fair amount of buzz because of supposedly similarities between the new movie and the “Men in Black” franchise.

Frankly, “R.I.P.D.” has a lot more in common with a TV series called “G vs. E” that ran on cable in 1999. In that series, a murdered cop is recruited by a division of Heaven to fight the forces of hell on earth.

“R.I.P.D.” is based on a comic book series and is an enjoyable summer movie, but it’s no classic. Ryan Reynolds is a Boston cop shot by his dirty partner (Kevin Bacon) and finds that the one instance of his taking some valuable items from a drug bust might prevent him from going to Heaven. He is given the choice of serving in the R.I.P.D. to pay for his sin.

R.I.P.D. is a Heavenly police unit responsible for finding evil souls who have conspired to stay on earth and bring them in for justice.

Reynolds is teamed up with a lawman from the Wild West played with vigor by Jeff Bridges and they discover a scheme that would allow the evil souls to take over the earth.

The film’s plot is a bit predictable, but the element that holds the film together is Bridges’ performance, which is by no means a reprise of his Rooster Cogburn portrayal from “True Grit.”

I was also taken by the idea that living people see the partners as a beautiful blonde and an older Chinese man, played by one of my favorite character actors, James Hong.

If you’re short on money or time, consider watching this when it comes on DVD.

On DVD: Orphan Black

I didn’t have the opportunity to watch this series in its entirety when it was on BBC America earlier this year, but what I saw intrigued me and I leapt at the chance of binge watching it last week for this column.

This Canadian science fiction thriller has a compelling premise: Sarah is hustler and con artist who waiting on a train platform when she notices a woman near her commit suicide. What is even more disturbing is that the woman looks exactly like her.

Sensing an opportunity, she steals the woman’s handbag and goes to her apartment. The dead woman is a cop and by accident Sarah is forced to impersonate her. She learns that she and the woman are not separated twin sisters, but are clones and there are more of them.

She also discovers that someone wants to kill them.

The story has a fair amount of twists and turns and the end of the series is very satisfying and chilling. Its originality was quite welcomed.

The star of the series, Tatiana Maslany, is exceptional as all of the clones. The technical aspect of the show is well done with many scenes in which several of the clones are together and Maslany handles the multiple roles very well.

If you’re looking for a solid thriller with a sci-fi edge, check out “Orphan Black.”

On Demand: Grabbers

Oh how I loved this new Irish horror film, even though it struck me as Gaelic version of “Tremors.”

Richard Coyle, whom American audiences might remember from the British sitcom “Coupling,” plays O’Shea, an Irish cop on an Irish island where nothing much happens, especially during a time when many of the inhabitants are on the mainland.

Because he has a drinking problem, his boss brings over another officer from Dublin to assist him. He’s a by-the-rules urban cop.

The two officers quickly have their hands full when an alien life form invades the island. It looks like an octopus, only with a dozen more arms, and possesses a long tongue designed to suck out the blood of its victims.

As the island’s only line of defense, the two cops make a startling discovery when one of the aliens latches onto O’Shea: blood with a high level of alcohol will kill them. In order to save themselves, the other residents will all have to get very drunk.

Part solid monster thriller, part wry comedy, “Grabbers” is a clever and tremendously fun little movie.