5 rentals to watch

Hey, it’s not all about the big screen. While I may sometimes miss the novelty-sized tub of popcorn, there is something to be said for enjoying a flick in the comforts of your own home. Film enthusiasts looking for movies to watch from the couch or recliner will enjoy these proven rentals:


Crazy Heart (2009)

Jeff Bridges won an Academy Award for his portrayal as country music singer and songwriter Otis “Bad” Blake, an alcoholic and washed up performer left doing small gigs at bowling alleys and bars. The movie follows Bad as he finds new love and redemption on his road back to the big-time in country music—touching base along the way with an old acquaintance and fellow singer (Colin Farrell). An excellent cast is headlined by Maggie Gyllenhaal as Blake’s love interest, while Robert Duvall plays a longtime friend of the once famous singer-songwriter. A brilliant soundtrack includes “The Weary Kind,” which earned the Oscar for Best Original Song. “Crazy Heart” won’t bring too many storyline surprises, but Bridges’ performance is spectacular and keeps viewers mesmerized throughout.   

Rated R. Available at Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, On Demand, and Vudu.


Cake (2014)

Jennifer Aniston triumphs in this heartfelt story about grief and moving on. Aniston plays Claire, a chronic pain sufferer dealing with the sudden death of a fellow support group member (Anna Kendrick) in Southern California. The movie imparts the cruel difficulties that life can throw may present, and the challenges it poses moving forward. Convincingly, the film travels down the path towards resiliency and relationships. This movie deftly illustrates, through personal perseverance, how one woman is not only able to survive a tragic loss, but also capable of getting back on her feet to face (and live) another day. The extraordinary cast shines brightly to spotlight Aniston’s fine work. Combined, they elevate “Cake” from a movie about loss to a film about life.

Rated R. Available at Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, On Demand, Netflix and Vudu. 


Moneyball (2011)

This true baseball story stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s GM. Instead of using seasoned scouts and coaches via traditional methods, Beane discovers a Yale spreadsheet nerd to help with on-base slugging percentages and RBIs. Aaron Sorkin writes another exceptional screenplay, earning “Moneyball” six Academy Awards: Including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor (Pitt), and Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill). The late Philip Seymour Hoffman rounds out a dynamic lineup card as Athletics’ manager Art Howe. “Moneyball” remains one of the best baseball movies of all-time. A home run for sports, suspense and the power of mathematics!

Rated PG-13. Available at Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, On Demand, and Vudu.


Sicario (2015)

“Sicario” is a gripping two-hour adrenaline rush that enlightens and educates on the violent crime that already exists—and operates—inside our southern neighbor. Emily Blunt, as a naïve FBI agent, tops off a superb cast that includes Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro as a government consultant, and Oscar-nominated Josh Brolin as the leader of a U.S. clandestine unit charged with taking on the Mexican cartels. The trio meet along the blurred desert borders of corruption, deception, and hitmen to fight drug lords in a justice system that tilts in favor of the criminal minds. The frustrated Blunt wants to play by the rule of law. Unfortunately, the only U.S. move left is to toss the game board upside down–creating chaos and noise in a cartel family business led by ruthless killers. Catch this mind-blowing film before its sequel, “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” hits theaters nationwide on June 29.  

Rated R. Available at Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, On Demand, and Vudu.


The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort star in this heart-wrenching teenage love story. Woodley’s character, Hazel, is suffering from Stage IV thyroid cancer and meets a cancer survivor, Gus Waters (Elgort). This film is an emotional roller coaster ride about life and unfinished business. It boldly takes on cancer and all its painful side effects for a young teen, who steadfastly remains unwilling to yield to the deadly disease. “The Fault in Our Stars,” though, refuses to be a movie solely about cancer and the pain it causes. Instead, the film focuses on relationships and living life to the fullest. Yes, pain demands to be felt, but it doesn’t need to be at the expense of friends, family and true love. 

Rated PG-13. Available at Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, On Demand, and Vudu.


Patrick King is a resident of Tucson and writer for the Reel Brief movie blog at reelbrief.com. Email him at reelbriefmoviereviews@mail.com)

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