DVD Picks

DVDs out August 20

August 15, 2013 

  • Also out

    “Hitting the Cycle”

    “Shadow Dancer”

    “Rapture-Palooza”

    “Highland Park”

    “The Life of Muhammad” (PBS)

    “No Place on Earth”

    “The Dragon Pearl”

    “The Big City” (1963, Criterion Collection)

    “Charlulata” (1964, Criterion Collection)

    “Mike & Molly: The Complete Third Season” (TV)

    “Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season” (TV)

    “Parenthood: Season 4” (TV)

    “Being Human: Season 5” (TV)

Picks of the Week

‘Amour’

(PG-13, 127 minutes, in French with English subtitles, Sony): Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva play Georges and Anne, retired music teachers who lead a life of understated refinement in Paris.

Georges and Anne attend a piano recital, ending the evening in their well-appointed apartment. They’re a “nation of two,” as a poet once described marriage, secure in the companionable rhythms they’ve composed over decades. Soon thereafter, things begin to fall apart, as a series of small slips launches the couple on an agonizing downward slide. Although their daughter (Isabelle Huppert) occasionally visits, it’s clear the couple have built their own tender bulwark that serves not only as a source of strength, but also one of loneliness and, eventually, quiet desperation.

One of the most painful things about “Amour” isn’t just watching vibrancy give way to diapers, feedings and moanings. It’s how Georges and Anne have so few social resources to draw on in the form of family or friends.

Contains a disturbing act and brief profanity.

Extras: Making-of featurette and Q&A with director Michael Haneke.

‘Epic’

(PG, 110 minutes, Fox): This CGI adventure, based on children’s author and illustrator William Joyce’s eco-themed “The Leaf Men,” might be guilty of overselling itself a bit.

Joyce’s 2001 story of the secret, teeming life of a garden had a charm similar to his earlier “George Shrinks,” in that both books derived much of their enchantment from imagining what the world looks like if you’re only an inch tall. The film, on which Joyce worked as producer, writer and production designer, retains enough magic of the original to make it enormously visually appealing, even if the story itself is almost unrecognizably bloated.

As in the book, the Leafmen are a race of bug-size soldiers who maintain the order and balance of the natural world. Riding saddled hummingbirds, they keep the forces of decay and rot – embodied by creatures known as the Boggans – at bay. But when Mandrake (voice of Christoph Waltz), the evil leader of the Boggans, attacks the Leafmen’s queen (Beyonce Knowles) and steals the magical flower bud containing the soul of her replacement, the Leafmen must fight to get it back before its power is perverted into poisoning all life.

Contains cartoon violence, peril and death.

Extras: Featurettes “Rot Rocks” and “Bugs of Camouflage,” “Storybook Builder” mobile device application.

‘Scary Movie V’

(PG-13, 85 minutes, Dimension Films/Anchor Bay Entertainment): This boring, vile, unfunny attempt at a horror-film spoof is the kind of movie that leaves you wondering, “How on earth did this movie get made?”

It’s a series of snippets in which characters borrow from other movies, including “Mama,” “Inception,” “Black Swan” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

It doesn’t put any twist on these, so much as present them in some brainless context. A knock-knock joke told by a 6-year-old would be funnier than this endless stream of flatulence jokes, feces-infused food items and gratuitous vomiting.

Contains crude language, brief nudity, sexual situations, allusions to drug use and gory violence. Extras: Extended and deleted scenes.

Washington Post

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