Monday, December 7, 2015

This week's DVD releases

Click on title to see the film’s trailer

Blind ***½ Directed by Eskil Vogt. When she loses her sight, a woman (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) retreats to her apartment and senses that her husband may not always leave when he says he’s going to work. It’s all presented as a playful cinematic puzzle by Vogt’s confident direction and mischievous humour.

The Kindergarten Teacher *** Directed by Nadav Lapid. A kindergarten teacher discovers in a 5-year-old child a prodigious gift for poetry. Lapid confidently peppers the film with enough provocative beats, unsettling behaviors and bold camera moves to keep us intrigued — if not necessarily invested.

Ant-Man **½ Directed by Peyton Reed. Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, cat burglar Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), plan and pull off a heist that will save the world. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to make it through the entirety of Ant-Man’s two hours without thinking of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids as least once, and I’m not sure that’s an association the filmmakers were courting.

Xenia **½ Directed by Panos H. Koutras. When gay teen Danny (Kostas Nikouli) loses his mother, he travels from his home in Crete to Athens to meet up with his older brother (Nikos Gelia). Together, they set out on a surreal journey to find the Greek father they’ve never met. Brashly uneven and wildly overlong, this comedy of brotherly love and outsider acceptance nonetheless boasts a spirited, audience-pleasing core.

Jobriath A.D. **½ Directed by Kieran Turner. After enjoying a brief burst of fame in the mid-1970s, gay rocker Jobraith was quickly abandoned by his audience. He died of AIDS in 1983. This documentary surveys the details of his life and renewed interest in his music. Viewers will surely have their curiosity piqued, but may not finish watching this convinced of Jobriath’s place in the pop Pantheon.

Minions **½ Directed by Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin. Minions Stuart , Kevin and Bob (all voiced by Coffin) are recruited by Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock), a super-villain who, alongside her inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm), hatches a plot to take over the world. The new team thinks that if mayhem is funny, five times the mayhem will be five times as hilarious. That’s not how movie math works, and too many scenes spin out of control.

Knock Knock ** Directed by Eli Roth. Alone for the weekend, Evan Webber (Keanu Reeves) offers two attractive young women (Lorenza Izzo, Ana de Armas) shelter from a stormy night but comes to regret his charity after they seduce him and then proceed to upend his idyllic life. A pretty flimsy erotic thriller, but thanks to Reeves’ oaken obliviousness it’s also got a few moments of deliciously trashy fun.

Partisan ** Directed by Ariel Kleiman. Alexander (Jeremy Chabriel), a boy who has been raised in a sequestered commune, finds that his increasing unwillingness to fall in line puts him on a collision course with Gregori (Vincent Cassel), the society’s charismatic and domineering leader. While the systematic corruption of innocents under an outwardly benevolent protector makes for a disturbing scenario, Australian newcomer Kleiman dulls the unease with his studiously enigmatic approach.

One &Two ** Directed by Andrew Droz Palermo. Two siblings (Kieman Shipka, Timothée Chalamat) discover a supernatural escape from a troubled home. Never feels as momentous or as angsty as a good story about moody teenagers should, and that’s mostly because the film lacks a menacing parental adversary.

Jellyfish EyesDirected by Takashi Murakami. Kids have mini-monster "friends" that they control via smart phones. May be blessedly unpretentious, but it’s also immediately unmoving and relentlessly boring.

The Transporter Refueled * Directed by Camille Delmarre. In the south of France, former special-ops mercenary Frank Martin (Ed Skrein) enters into a game of chess with a femme-fatale (Loan Chabanol) and her three sidekicks who are looking for revenge against a sinister Russian kingpin. Cheap silliness abounds, including car chases that are more about loud crashes and CGI than the thrill of speed.

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