Monday, May 26, 2014

This Week’s DVD Releases

Run & Jump ***½ Directed by Steph Green. Struggling to support her family after her husband, Conor Edward MacLiam), is fundamentally changed by a stroke, Vanetia (Maxine Peake) accepts a grant from a brain researcher named Ted (Will Forte). As Ted studies Conor, he and Vanetia form an unexpected bond. An uncommonly offbeat and charmingly unconventional romance, an Irish comedy that lets itself get very serious, now and again, and is all the richer for it.

Cheap Thrills *** Directed by E.L. Katz. A scheming couple put a struggling family man and his old friend through a series of increasingly twisted dares over the course of an evening at a local bar. A nasty, elemental thriller, basically a four-character play with blood and guts and sex and drugs and dares. With Pat Healy, Sara Paxton, Ethan Embry, David Koechner.

Journey to the West *** Directed by Stephen Chow, Chin-kin Kwok. Chen Xuanzang (Zhang Wen), who fights evil with love and nursery rhymes, clashes with Duan (Qi Shu), a showy female warrior who’s in it for the thrill of the hunt. Chow’s go-for-broke sensibility has been sorely missed, and a tale of demons is the ideal context for the gravity-defying, logic-impaired stunts he favors.

A Birder’s Guide to Everything **½ Directed by Rob Meyer. The day before his widowed father’s wedding, a 15-year-old bird-watching fanatic impulsively sets off on a road trip with three friends in an effort to locate the extinct Labrador duck he may have spotted. The film captures its lush, leafy settings with an understated evocativeness that fully immerses the viewer in its sense of place. The problem is that the movie ultimately leans too heavily on that sense of understatement, failing to let genuine, unexpected emotion fully break through to the surface. With Kodi Smit-McPhee, Katie Chang, Alex Wolff, Michael Chen, James Le Gros, Ben Kingsley.

24 Expsoures Directed by Joe Swanberg. A photographer (Adam Wingard) who specializes in erotic photo shoots is suspected of murder when one of his models is found dead. This brief, loosely-knit film never builds any empathy or tension.

Endless Love * Directed by Shana Feste. An intense teenage boy (Alex Pettyfer) falls for a wealthy girl (Gabriella Wilde), and when their worried parents try to keep them apart, their incendiary love affair grows obsessive and dark. Not to harp on petty details, but this film is so colossally tone-deaf and off-key in every way that its collection of jarring missteps almost carries it into the arms of perverse comedy.

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