COUCH THEATER — DVD PREVIEWS

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Arnold Schwarzenegger, Johnny Knoxville in “The Last Stand”

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PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Beautiful Creatures” (PG-13) — This supernatural teen romance thriller is aimed squarely at the “Twilight” crowd, but manages to rise above its sibling. Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) is a human 17-year-old who wants to get out of his fictional Southern hometown. He takes an interest in the new girl at school, Lena (Alice Englert) — a mysterious chick from a powerful and enigmatic family (surprise: they’re witches.) Their love is forbidden, and somehow the fate of the world gets caught up in it.

“Beautiful Creatures” stands out among the pack because the young lovers have actual chemistry, not just vacant stares. The pacing is a little sluggish. The movie’s mythology keeps changing, and new arbitrary plot twists spring up like dandelions. As far as young-adult supernatural love stories go, you could do a lot worse.

“The Last Stand” (R) — Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a rickety old sheriff who can still dole out master-level violence when the time is right. When a devious drug lord stages a spectacular escape from prison, he and his army of thugs make a run for the border. The last stop before Mexico is Somerton, Ariz. — a peaceful small town under the protection of the aging lawman. It’s up to Ah-nuld and his ragtag bunch of townsfolk to shoot them bad guys.

Arnold holds up to the ravages of time pretty well. He’s (relatively) believable as a police veteran seeking some peace. But this movie is mostly about fighting, and that’s all good here. Johnny Knoxville (of MTV’s “Jackass”) plays a shifty gun nut with an arsenal — thus supplying the firepower for the big scenes.

“Stand Up Guys” (R) — Val (Al Pacino) is released from a 28-year stay in prison, and meets up with his old partners in crime, Doc (Christopher Walken) and Hirsch (Alan Arkin). These three old-timers immediately start riffing. Ignore some plot holes and get over a few pacing issues, because the veteran cast is the real draw here — and they deliver laughs to those who are observant. Walken especially. His dead-pan is impeccable, and as a former mafia man gone soft with age, he gets some of the best lines in the movie.

“Side Effects” (R) — Emily (Rooney Mara) has a nice apartment and a man with A-list looks (Channing Tatum), but she just can’t feel OK. Her psychiatrist (Jude Law) gives her Ablixa, an anxiety medication that he’s getting paid to prescribe. At first, it’s all great and dandy. Things get real dark though, and the opening scene of the movie suggests that there’s murder on the way. This is a tight and twisting thriller. Well worth a rental if you can handle a dose of Hitchcock-style mind games.

TV RELEASES
“True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season”
“Teen Wolf: Season Two”
“Perception: The Complete First Season”
“Laverne & Shirley: The Sixth Season”
“Saving Hope: The Complete First Season”
“The Gene Autry Show — The Final Season”

© 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

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