Quite a few new movies have landed on video platforms this week, led by “Gifted” and “The Boss Baby.”
“Gifted” (Fox, 2017, PG-13, deleted scenes, featurettes, photo gallery). Intellectually gifted 7-year-old Mary (wonderfully played by the charming Mckenna Grace) lives with her down-to-earth Uncle Frank (Chris Evans), who is trying to give her a normal childhood, as per the wishes of her late mother. But soon Frank’s estranged mother, Mary’s wealthy grandmother (Lindsay Duncan), pulls them into a custody battle, claiming the girl needs special tutoring to claim her place in the world as an important math prodigy.
The story here isn’t particularly original but as directed by Marc Webb, of “(500) Days of Summer” fame, and with an excellent cast (including Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer and Glenn Plummer), it has more humor and heart than most films that have played theatrically this year, and as such gets a strong recommendation from this corner. (Although parents should be advised that the PG-13 rating is deserved for language and implied sex.)
“The Boss Baby” (Dreamworks, 2017, PG, deleted scenes, featurettes, art gallery, short cartoon). This is an animated fantasy about a 7-year-old boy named Tim (voiced by Miles Bakshi) who’s very happy with his family until a new baby arrives on the scene and steals away his parents’ attention. But it’s not just sibling rivalry: The baby wears a suit, carries a briefcase, talks like an adult — a pushy adult — and has a secret agenda (hilariously voiced by Alec Baldwin).
Eventually, Tim uncovers the truth and goes on an adventure that reveals where babies come from. It’s not what you think. It’s funny and fast-paced for a while, but the convoluted plot runs out of steam long before the final act, and, as with so many cartoons these days, too often settles for cheesy, vulgar bodily function gags. Other voice actors include Tobey Maguire, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow.
“Hearing Is Believing” (Gravitas Ventures, 2017, not rated/probable G, featurettes, trailer). Blind-since-birth musical prodigy (and YouTube celebrity) Rachel Flowers is the subject of this earnest, engaging and uplifting documentary, demonstrating her multi-instrument proficiency, especially on keyboards and flute — and at one…