Wednesday, March 12, 2014
NEW ON THE SHELF
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “Looper.”
"COSMOPOLIS" -- Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti. A young billionaire tycoon (Pattinson, in a welcome break from the "Twilight" series) slowly and eventfully traverses New York City in a ludicrously well-equipped limo on an especially traffic-clogged day with designs on getting a haircut from his father's old barber across town. It's a simple enough quest that becomes a surrealistic nightmare when business deals begin to go south all around him, and a disgruntled ex-coworker (Giamatti) turns up with an ill-advised plan to assassinate his former boss. Director David Cronenberg ("A History of Violence") adapts Don Delillo's acclaimed novel in his trademark slickly bizarre style, and Pattinson successfully makes the jump to non-romantic-vampire fare. Rated R. Running time: 1:49.
Suggested retail price: $24.98; Blu-ray $29.98.
"LOOPER" -- Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis. Writer-director Rian Johnson has consistently proven himself one of the most innovative and original young talents in the business today with such films as "Brick" and "The Brothers Bloom," and "Looper" should land him firmly in the big leagues with its thrilling and stylishly presented tale of a future where the mob sends its victims back in time to be killed by hitmen waiting on their other side. It's a scenario that becomes even more deliriously complicated when one of the hitmen in question (Gordon-Levitt) finds himself face to face with his future self (Willis). Needless to say, things get messy, and entertaingly so. Rated R. Running time: 1:59.
Suggested retail price: $30.99; Blu-ray $35.99.
NEW TO DVD
"BEING HUMAN: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON" -- Sam Huntington, Meaghan Rath. Mining the BBC for show ideas proves successful once again with this Americanized version, which finds a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire becoming roommates, an arrangement with more than its share of dramatic possibilities. Not rated, contains language, sexual content and some violence. Running time: 9:32.
Suggested retail price: $39.98; Blu-ray $39.98
"JUSTIFIED: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON" -- Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins. The gritty, often quite funny and unfailingly entertaining continuning chronicles of Marshal Raylan Givens (perfectly played by Olyphant in what will be remembered as an iconic performance), a hard-drinkin', trigger-happy, proudly old-school lawman attempting to adjust to his unwanted reassignment from sunny Miami to his old stomping ground in Eastern Kentucky. Not rated, contains language and violence. Running time: 9:01.
Suggested retail price: $55.99; Blu-ray $75.99.
"THE THOMPSONS" -- Cory Knauf, Samuel Child. Fans of Kathryn Bigelow's 1987 cult hit "Near Dark" should find much to like about this follow-up to 2006's "The Hamiltons," which follows an infamous vampire clan attempting to keep the family happy and healthy while constantly on the run from the law, who are understandably none too pleased with the bloody havoc left in the family's wake. A fine example of quality straight-to-DVD fare. Rated R. Running time: 1:23.
Suggested retail price: $14.99; Blu-ray $20.99.
NEW TO BLU-RAY
"THE ROOM" -- Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero. Certainly not a film crying out for high definition, Tommy Wiseau's infamous and unlikely cult hit has become the bad movie to beat through word of mouth alone, a hilariously, mind-bogglingly inept quasi-thriller in which businessman Wiseau butts heads with his best friend (Sestero) upon finding out that he's been sleeping with his terrible wife (Juliette Danielle). Between Wiseau's garbled delivery of ridiculous dialogue and inexplicable scenes of tuxedoed men playing football, there's something for every bad movie lover in "The Room." Rated R. Running time: 1:42.
Suggested retail price: $35.99.
"WAR OF THE DEAD" -- Andrew Tiernan, Mikko Leppilampi. Truth in advertising can be a rare thing in the home video world, but this gory killfest delivers exactly what it purports to: People fighting a war against dead people, or Nazi zombies, to be precise. Director Marko Makilaakso mostly dispenses with plot and wisely sticks to the battle footage, which is appropriately graphic and nicely varied to prevent combat burnout for the strong-stomached viewer. If you're in the market for footage of people in various stages of decay getting blown apart (in high definition, no less), "War of the Dead" would appear to be exactly what you're looking for. Rated R. Running time: 1:26.
Suggested retail price: $24.98.
"LITTLE BIRDS" -- Juno Temple, Kay Panabaker. Downbeat but ultimately hopeful drama from first-time writer-director Elgin James is the gorgeously shot and fearlessly acted tale of Lily (Temple) and Aliison (Panabaker), a pair of oft-squabbling tween friends eager to escape their dismal Salton Sea existence, with its rundown trailer parks and unsupportive, occasionally even dangerous citizens. Regarding a group of visiting street kids from L.A. as a possible ticket out, the girls follow their new friends to the supposed promised land, only to become embroiled in a frightening situation that promises to spiral out of control in short order. A warts-and-all hard luck tale of a complex friendship tested to its limits. Rated R. Running time: 1:34.
Suggested retail price: $28.99.
"THE TROUBLE WITH BLISS" -- Lucy Liu, Michael C. Hall. Viewers accustomed to Hall's genially psychotic and exacting performance as "Dexter" may find it hard to buy him as a passive slacker in this refreshingly unpredictable comedy, but once the initial shock wears off, he's a hoot as Morris Bliss, a thirtysomething layabout still reluctant to leave the comforts of his father's (Peter Fonda) appealing East Village apartment. It's a situation that takes a hilarious and unexpected turn when a chance encounter with a young woman (Brie Larson) somehow results in a bevy of extremely attractive women throwing themselves at the bookish, unassuming Bliss. Hall's reactions to the encounters are priceless, and the entire affair will favorably remind movie buffs of Martin Scorsese's 1985 cult comedy "After Hours." Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:37.
Suggested retail price: $14.98
-- Courtesy of Videoport