COUCH THEATER — DVD PREVIEWS

Kristin Scott Thomas

PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Super 8” (PG-13) — Remember when a blockbuster movie wasn’t necessarily a franchise flick? When Steven Spielberg used equal parts special effects and imagination-massaging storytelling in his science-fiction features? “Super 8” will bring it all flooding back. The immortal Spielberg teamed up with today’s sci-fi darling, JJ Abrams (creative force behind “Fringe,” “Cloverfield,” and the latest “Star Trek”) to make this nostalgia-fueled popcorn flick.

It’s 1979, and a group of small-town youngsters are shooting their own monster movie when they witness a sudden train wreck. Lost dogs and inexplicable phenomena become the chief local export as the plot thickens and the lovable scamps get closer to unraveling some serious movie magic.

“Sarah’s Key” (PG-13) — An American journalist with a French husband starts pulling on a historical thread, and finds revealing connections between her life and the life of a French girl who lost everything in the holocaust. The film’s engine lies in its star, Kristin Scott Thomas as Julia, whose character navigates a clouded moral landscape of guilt and survival.

The story has considerable emotional weight, as Julia learns that her life in the present may have benefited from monstrous acts committed not so far into the past. The parallel stories of Julia and Sarah do seem a little imbalanced; Julia suffers in an unhappy marriage in the present, while Sarah is a young Jewish girl in Nazi-occupied France.

“Rushmore” [Blu-ray] (R) — Wes Anderson’s breakthrough 1998 film about an especially odd teenager finally makes it to a Criterion Collection Blu-ray release. This is the film that gave Jason Schwartzmann his start, put Wes Anderson on the map, and gave audiences their first look at the new era of Bill Murray. Quiet, contemplative and categorically eccentric, “Rushmore” is a rare and re-watchable kind of movie.

DOG OF THE WEEK
“Conan the Barbarian” (R) — This pretender to the throne has nothing on its 1982 namesake in terms of power, visuals or even emotion. Newcomer Jason Momoa (you may recognize him from his previous barbarian role as Khal Drogo from HBO’s “Game of Thrones”) had Mr. Universe size shoes to fill, and about two hours of awful storytelling working against him.

I’ve been assured there is a plot. I only ascertained that there are bad people, and new Conan is the only one qualified to yell at and stab them. The gore is copious and computer-generated, but the fight choreography and editing makes the battles more frustrating than exhilarating. This new Conan just can’t answer the riddle of steel, or the riddle of why a classic had to be defiled to cash in on the 3-D trend.

TV RELEASES
“Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series”
“Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman Season 2”
“Nova: Fabric of the Cosmos”
“L-Word: Complete Series”
“Boy Meets World: The Complete Series”
“Conan The Adventurer: Season Two, Part One”

© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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