Monday, July 29, 2013

This week’s DVD releases (from best to worst)

Black Rock **½ Katie Aselton, Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth. Directed by Katie Aselton. Childhood pals Sarah, Abby and Lou’s reunion on a remote island off the coast of Maine turns into a nightmare when they realize a sinister neighbor doesn’t appreciate their presence. Ultimately, it’s hard to shake the sense that Aselton’s picture is a character study bending itself, painfully and unnaturally, into the shape of a nightmare-in-the-boonies horror flick. Is this the only way films about female friendship can get greenlighted these days — by drenching themselves in genre tropes?

G.I. Joe Retaliation Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson. Directed by Jon M. Chu. The elite G.I. Joe assault team is framed for treason by the global mercenary Zartan. Forced into hiding, the surviving warriors form a desperate plan to defeat Zartan’s combined forces. Although this is merely a movie based on Hasbro toys, the action — the real point of all this — feels just as lifeless.

Rushlights * Beau Bridges, Haley Webb, Josh Henderson, Aidan Quinn. Directed by Antoni Stutz. Two delinquent teenage lovers from the suburbs of Los Angeles travel to a small southern town to falsely claim a dead friend’s inheritance. A by-the-numbers thriller that wouldn’t even have made for a particularly good hour-long episode of a weekly crime procedural, never mind an honest-to-God feature-length movie.

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