A version of this review appears in Friday’s Weekend Life section of The Oklahoman.
With its single superstar and its stable of stalwart utility players swinging for the fences, the long-awaited Jackie Robinson biopic “42” scores a solid win despite playing it a bit too safe.
Michael Shannon has been making a career out of convincingly portraying mentally unbalanced characters for a while now. He was the irrationally angry, bipolar adult son of the neighbors in the ’50s period drama “Revolutionary Road” (for which he received a best supporting actor nomination in 2009), the overzealous Treasury agent in the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire,” the blue-collar family man tortured by visions real and imagined that seem to portend an apocalyptic climatological disaster in “Take Shelter” (2011) and the dirty cop with impulse control issues and a gambling addiction in “Premium Rush” (2012).
The long-running, hugely popular British TV series “Top Gear” is known for tackling some wild and weird challenges relating to cars in all their glory. And the show’s chatty, cheeky hosts set themselves a doozey of a challenge in a special episode now out on DVD with the provocative title “Top Gear: The Worst Car in the History of the World.”
Trouble is, there’s a serious amount of meandering and dawdling and detouring that goes on before two of the show’s regular hosts – Jeremy Clarkson and James May (Richard Hammond is inexplicably absent) – get around to awarding the booby prize.