Monday, October 19, 2015

This week's DVD releases


Click on title to see the film’s trailer

Güeros *** Directed by Alonso Ruiz Palacios. During a student strike at Mexico’s National University, flatmates Sombra (Tenoch Huerta) and Santos (Leonardo (Ortizgrls) settle into a different routine until the arrival of Sombra’s brother, Tomás Sebastián Aguirre), sends the trio on a quest to find a long-forgotten musical star. A good story, full of life and related with intelligence and a sense of humor.

The Wolfpack *** Directed by Crystal Moselle. In the heart of Manhattan, Baghavan and Susanne have raised their seven kids with virtually no exposure to the outside world. This documentary captures their offspring’s unique views of society molded largely by films they’ve watched. Despite its considerable faults, this bizarre, fascinating story is impossible to shake off, like the expression on the face of one of the brothers as he’s talking about his father and begins getting choked up (instead of crying, he smiles convincingly, evidence of a life led having to learn to hide his emotions for fear of reprisal).

Z for Zachariah **½ Directed by Craig Zobel. In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors. Its craft can be impressive: Zobel’s film possesses a searing, slow burn tone that’s beautifully controlled. The movie is admirably patient and gives breathing room and space for these relationships to bloom believably and organically. But the build to a climax is far too slow and with little emotional payoff.

Jurassic World **½ Directed by Colin Trevarrow. A new theme park is built on the original site of Jurassic Park. Everything is going well until the park’s newest attraction — a genetically modified giant stealth killing machine — escapes containment and goes on a killing spree. The movie unquestionably "delivers." It feels like a hit; it offers a professionally crafted blend of blandness, predictability, watered-down cultural commentary and manufactured excitement.

Seeds of Time **½ Directed by Sandy McLeod. A documentary that follows agricultural scientist Cary Fowler as he traverses the globe on a mission to preserve and stockpile seeds that may someday avert a worldwide famine. Fowler is not a terribly charismatic subject, but the matter-of-fact manner in which he delivers important information and the stunning depth of his knowledge compensates, as does the steady way in which McLeod reveals pertinent personal details about his life and work.

Paper Towns **½ Directed by Jake Schreier. When Quentin Jacobsen’s (Nat Wolff) longtime crush — fabulously cool high school senior Margo Roth Spiegelman (Cara Delevingne) — vanishes soon after drafting him for a revenge-fueled mission, he sets off on a cross-country road trip to find her. While Schreier (Robot & Frank) doesn’t do a whole lot with the camera besides make sure that there are people in the frame, he does manage to provoke strong performances from Wolff — who looks kind of like a young Dustin Hoffman, but stretched out like a piece of taffy — and the young supporting cast.

Meet Me in Montenegro ** Directed by Alex Holdridge. Linnea Saasen. A failed American writer enters into an affair after a chance encounter with a European dancer. While this tale of a couple experiencing myriad romantic ups and downs has its occasional amusing and insightful moments, it doesn’t quite render its characters’ foibles endearing.

Hungry Hearts ** Directed by Saverio Costanzo. When Mina (Alba Rohrwacher) and Jude (Adam Driver) get stuck in the bathroom of a New York City restaurant, romance, marriage and a child soon follow. But before long, the couple finds themselves clashing over the care of their infant, who’s not developing. Beginning as an adorable romcom, the film morphs into a disturbing but not particularly illuminating story of mental illness.

The Vatican Tapes Directed by Mark Neveldine. When an infection from a cut lands 27-year-old Angela Holmes (Olivia Dudley) in the emergency room, everyone around her begins to suffer, thanks to a Satanic force that’s taken possession of the young woman. Another day, another exorcism. Ho-hum.

Chloe & Theo * Directed by Ezna Sands. Determined to save his Arctic Inuit homeland from environmental ruin, Theo (Theo Ikummaq) sets off for New York City, where he finds an unexpected ally in a homeless young woman named Chloe (Dakota Johnson). This should have been a film about Theo: a complex man taking on an unfamiliar world he is not particularly fond of, with little more than conviction and principle to help him along. Instead, we get another film where a hapless foreigner teaches white people how to better themselves.

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