Monday, May 2, 2016

This week's DVD releases


RATINGS

***** A classic. Should be a part of any serious film lover’s permanent library.
**** Excellent with only a few minor flaws.
*** Worthy of renting or streaming.
** Below average, but mght have limited appeal to some tastes.
* Should be avoided at all costs.
No stars All copies should be confiscated and destroyed for humanity’s sake.

Click on title to see the film’s trailer.

The Club ***½ Directed by Pablo Larrain. At a seaside facility that houses disgraced priests, the death of a new arrival prompts the Catholic Church to send upright Father García (Marcelo Alonso) to investigate. This is no sympathetic drama of absolution, no portrait of forgiveness sought by sinners. Larrai n is after something trickier and harder to pin down; he asks us to share real estate with these men, while offering few windows into their heads or hearts, or even a clarification of their crimes.

East Side Sushi ***½ Directed by Anthony Lucero. When she begins working at a Japanese restaurant, single mother Juana (Diana Elizabeth Torres) soon learns the journey from fruit cart vendor to sushi chef isn’t an easy one, especially if neither your race nor your gender matches up with people’s expectations. Lucero’s delectable debut feature has its share of on-the-nose writing and Cinderella-story contrivances, but for the most part folds its cross-cultural insights into a pleasing underdog narrative as deftly as its heroine presses together rice and nori.

A Royal Night Out **½ Directed by Julian Jarrold. Young princesses Elizabeth (Sarah Gardon) and Margaret (Bel Powley) join the partying crowds on V.E. Day 1945. A frothy, forgettable comedy.

Joy **½ Directed by David O. Russell. After 10 years of trying to mass-market the revolutionary floor mop she had invented, housewife Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence) strikes gold with a personal pitch on QVC that turns her Miracle Mop into an overnight marketing miracle. Has none of the energy or precision of any of Russell’s recent efforts. Not even Mangano heself could invent a mop good enough to clean up this mess. While Lawrence does robust, heartfelt work in the lead, this is the most miscast she’s been in a while, and it’s such a strangely imagined film in the first place that it never really gets its bearings.

Remember **½ Directed by Atom Egoyan. With the aid of a fellow Auschwitz survivor (Martin Landau) and a hand-written letter, an elderly man (Christopher Plummer) with dementia goes in search of the person responsible for the death of his family. The plot, as it unwinds, is increasingly eye-poppingly preposterous, but it holds you anyway, not only because of its outlandishness but because Plummer, against all odds, brings pathos and dignity to a role that doesn’t deserve him.

The 5th WaveDirected by J Blakeson. Still alive after four devastating alien invasions of Earth, 16-year-old Cassie Sullivan (Chloe Grace Moretz) searches through a desolate landscape for her younger brother. Topical ideas on humanity, mistrust and alien-as-immigrant metaphors are a plus, but a laughable romance and a ridiculous wrap-up render the film as only a staging ground for the next two parts of the trilogy to come.

The Choice * Directed by Ross Katz. Bachelor Travis Parker (Benjamin Walker) is enjoying the single life in his seaside North Carolina town when the beguiling Gabby Holland (Teresa Palmer) moves in next door. The movie has a twist or two toward the end, and they’re about as cheaply maudlin as the movies get. The only choice is to make sure a barf bag is nearby if you should choose to watch this stinker.

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