Monday, August 17, 2015

This week's DVD releases

Click on title to see the film’s trailer

Lambert & Stamp *** Directed by James D. Cooper. Documentary follows aspiring filmmakers Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert as they search London's youth scene in the early 1960s for a subject for their new movie and wind up discovering and managing the rock band The Who. Gives the duo their due and in so doing opens up a singular view on an era, its energy, and its excesses. For fans, it’s a must-see; for others, a slightly overlong tour of a seminal pop explosion and the men who made it.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared **½ Directed by Felix Herngren. A man (Robert Gustafsson) caps off his long and colorful life by escaping from his nursing home on his 100th birthday. Despite the heavy themes, the film keeps the tone light. It is a comedy, after all. The laugh-o-meter needle hovers fairly consistently on "amused grin."

The Riot Club ** Directed by Lone Scherfig. When Miles Richards (Max Irons) and Alistair Ryle (Sam Clafin) begin their studies at Oxford University, the notorious Riot Club wastes no time in recruiting them. But the night the pair attends the secret society's annual dinner, the group's rowdy antics take a vile turn. It’s a film that seems to have no further point than to remind us that some powerful jerks were once powerful jerk kids. Point taken, but it’s not cinematically satisfying.

5 to 7 ** Directed by Victor Levin. An aspiring young novelist (Anton Yelchin) finds his conservative beliefs about love and relationships tested when a chance encounter outside a New York City hotel leads to an intense affair with a French diplomat's beautiful wife (Bérénice Marlohe). The city doesn’t need to be real in a romantic movie, but the feelings must be. Although Levin tends to embrace clichés and overstatement (the novelist’s parents, Arlene and Sam, played by Glenn Close and Frank Langella, are straight out of Yiddish vaudeville), he can also surprise you with delicate touches, a pained look, a wince of recognition.

Strangerland Directed by Kim Farrant. A couple (Nicole Kidman, Josephj Fiennes) finds their dull life in a rural outback town rocked after their two teenage children disappear into the desert. Starts off promisingly enough, but it just can't decide where it wants to go, or even how to get there.

10 Cent PistolDirected by Michael C. Martin. After a series of successful and profitable robberies in Los Angeles, two brothers in crime suddenly run out of luck as they end up on the wrong side of a shady mob attorney and under surveillance by the police. The narration, about how you can either "finesse" your way out of a jam, or "Bogart your way through it," is drab. As are the performances. Especially the leads.

Little Boy * Directed by Alejandro Monteverde. An 8-year-old boy with developmental challenges is devastated when his devoted father — and lone friend — is drafted during World War II. It's all simplistic sermonizing, devoid of any thoughtful messiness about wartime mind-sets or family despair, and quick to sand any edges with postcard-pretty coastal town vistas and cutesy music cues.

The Seventh Dwarf Directed by Boris Aljinovic, Harald Sipermann. An animated adventure that follows young dwarf Bobo (Joshua Graham) and his pint-size pals as they aim to save the kingdom by searching for a way to awaken lovely Princess Rose (Peyton List) from a long slumber. At half the length or twice the budget, this CG-animated musical mash-up of fairy tales would still be a pretty pathetic excuse for children’s entertainment, short on charm and utterly devoid of magic.

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