Monday, September 21, 2015

This week's DVD releases


Click on title to see the film’s trailer

Results *** Directed by Andrew Bujalski. Two mismatched personal trainers’ (Guy Pierce, Cobie Smulders) lives are upended by the actions of a new, wealthy client (Kevin Corrigan). While the polish of good-looking Hollywood types shot in clean, well-lit spaces doesn’t quite connect with Bujalski’s writing style, the film’s tone is honestly unorthodox, a quality missing from most mid-budget comedies.

Alléluia *** Directed by Fabrice Du Welz. Follows a lonely morgue worker (Lola Dueñas) who meets a man (Laurent Lucas) she hopes will return her love but instead inspires murderous jealousy. Religious allusions aside, Alléluia is like Psycho combined with Bonnie and Clyde, with Norman and Norma Bates as the conjoined criminal couple on the run.

The Heart Machine *** Directed by Zachary Wigon. A man (John Gallagher Jr.) begins to suspect that his long-distance girlfriend (Kate Lyn Shiel) whom he met on the Internet has been living in the same city as him, and he sets out looking for her. Except for its ending, which deflates the tension and makes a brief gesture toward profundity, it’s an unblinking look at one man’s total unraveling.

The Farewell Party *** Directed by Tal Granit, Sharon Maymon. Residents of a retirement home build a machine for self-euthanasia in order to help their terminally ill friend, though they are faced with a series of dilemmas when rumors of the machine begin to spread. The film’s deft, improbable balance of tone makes its success feel well-deserved. Not many directors could have pulled off the blend of somber reflection and gallows humor that Granit and Maymon manage here.

The Great Museum **½ Directed by Johannes Holzhausen. This documentary reveals the day-to-day operations at a prominent Vienna museum, from curating and restoration to budgets and marketing. In avoiding narration, interviews, music or any traditional method to draw the audience in, the film has a cold, unengaging feel, leaving it mostly for art buffs who like seeing taxidermied bears having their hair fastidiously cleaned with a tiny toothbrush.

Pitch Perfect 2 **½ Directed by Elizabeth Banks. After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln Center, the Barden Bellas enter an international competition that no American group has ever won in order to regain their status and right to perform. If you loved Pitch Perfect you’ll find plenty to enjoy here because it’s pretty much exactly the same film, but there’s enough wit and warmth that it feels like a worthwhile sequel.

In the Name of My Daughter **½ Directed by André Téchiné. A young independent woman (Adèle Haenel), returns to Nice in 1976 to have a new start in her life after a failed marriage. None of it is quite satisfying, especially when old-age makeup takes center stage. But striking moments develop along the way, jolts of weird joy and melancholy as menace gathers under the Mediterranean sun.

Saint Laurent ** Directed by Bertrand Bonello. Yves Saint Laurent’s (Gaspard Ulliel) life from 1967 to 1976, during which time the fashion designer was at the peak of his career. The screenplay seems to generally lack a throughline or focus, coasting from party scenes full of drugs and alcohol to work-related drama but rarely managing to get inside the head of the self-destructive character the designer had become by the 1970s.

Big SkyDirected by Jorge Michel Grau. A teen (Bella Thorne) traveling with her mother (Kyra Sedgwick) to a treatment center for her agoraphobia has to fight for their lives against two gunmen (Frank Grillo, Aaron Tveit) who attack them. The film rests on the attractive but opaque Thorne, who is not ready for such weight. Commendably, she stretches her acting muscles, but her character’s internal struggle remains elusive. Viewers need more to connect with.

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