Rental Central

Tom Doty Times Columnist

June 12, 2014

A quartet of entertaining releases made it real hard to enjoy the start of summer this week.

“Non-Stop” — Liam Neeson stars as a federal air marshal who receives texts from a psychopath threatening a flight. The problem is that Neeson is on the plane the madman is talking about. The problem becomes conducting an investigation in an enclosed space under a deadline. Fun stuff, despite the small space.

“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” — Many actors have played Tom Clancy’s hero, Ryan, from Alec Baldwin to Harrison Ford and then Ben Affleck. Now we get the new Captain Kirk (Chris Pine). Turns out he is up for the job and plays an unseasoned Ryan who tangles with Russian bad guy after being brought into the intelligence community by veteran Kevin Costner. They work the mentor/student relationship well and soon Ryan is off to the New Russia to shadow Kenneth Branagh’s soviet heavy. A good start.

“True Detective” — Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey star as a pair of detectives who are interviewed years after a case they worked. The story unrolls via flashback, as they recount the case of a murdered prostitute. We learn that the grisly murder might be the work of a serial killer with a satanic obsession and see how the case affects both men personally, as well as professionally. A solid series.

“Patrick: Evil Awakens” — You have to be a true horror fan to remember the original “Patrick,” but it was an effective and offbeat chiller about a comatose man attacking his enemies with mind powers, while his body wasted away in a hospital bed. This remake is a bit more flashy, but tells a similar story with a much bigger budget and a strong cast that includes Charles Dance (“Alien 3”), as an arrogant doctor, and Rachel Griffith, as a compassionate nurse.