COUCH THEATER — DVD PREVIEWS

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Tom Hanks in “Cloud Atlas”

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PICKS OF THE WEEK
Cloud Atlas (R) — In six stories set in vastly different places in time and space, a rich story of human experience and interaction unfolds. In history, modern days and the near and distant future, characters from each story are dimly aware of their connections to other people in the timeline. It’s ethereal, thoughtful and kind of sentimental at its heart. Actors play different characters across the six stories, suggesting that old souls are living new lives.

Tom Hanks delivers fine performances in his different roles. The film is full of excellent visuals and special effects — except for some of the makeup. Hanks especially looks odd in a few of his roles. It’s hard to mask that famous face and make someone so recognizable look like he’s from a different time and ethnicity.

“3:10 to Yuma” (Criterion Collection) — This 1957 classic Western is now available on Blu-ray. Dan Evans (Van Heflin) is a dirt-poor frontier rancher who captures a deadly outlaw, Ben Wade (Glenn Ford.) While they wait for the train, Ben offers the poor rancher $10,000 to let him go. Wade’s gang mount up to rescue their leader, while the townspeople get antsy about the outlaw in their midst.

This is one of those Westerns where mind games are more prominent than gun fights. There’s plenty of bang bang shoot’em up, but the real tension comes from masterful movie-making. Watching the two main characters try to pick each other apart as the minutes tick down to 3:10 is like watching a spark sizzle its way toward a powder keg.

“Liz & Dick” (NR) — This made-for-TV biopic about Liz Taylor (Lindsay Lohan) and Richard Burton (Grant Bowler) fails on a few levels. It begins with Lohan’s dead-eyed stare going straight into the camera. She’s no Liz Taylor, and doesn’t seem to be trying, either. Which is sad, considering that the whole affair was about venerating an icon while reviving the burned-out starlet. It also misses the mark for tolerable campiness — the last ditch appeal for movies like this.

“Tomorrow You’re Gone” (R) — Charlie (Stephen Dorff) is a small-time tough guy, fresh out of prison. His life was saved by a devilish criminal called The Buddha (Willem Dafoe). Now, Charlie has to commit a murder to repay his debt to the shadowy figure. Somehow, a porn actress (Michelle Monaghan) gets involved in the extra-thin plot. The movie hints that Dorff might be without all of his marbles — but it’s hard to care with a character this boring. Lots of grimacing and shadows, a little bit of partial nudity, not a lot of thrills.

TV RELEASES
“Dexter: The Seventh Season”
“My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Season Two”
“The Bletchley Circle: Cracking a Killer’s Code”
“Dance Academy: Season 2, Volume 2”
“Roseanne — Season 9”
“Top Gear 19”
“3rd Rock From the Sun — The Complete Series”

© 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

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