COUCH THEATER —  DVD PREVIEWS

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Scene from “Canopy”

Scene from “Canopy”


“Earth to Echo” (PG) —  This found-footage feature feels like a return to the classic blockbuster kidventure flick, but updated with just enough new-millennium style. Tuck, Munch and Alex (Astro, Reese C. Hartwig and Teo Halm) are the three closest pre-teen pals in their little Nevada neighborhood. The boys desperately want to save the town from a freeway expansion that will demolish it and separate the trio. Adventure calls when the boys receive strange messages on their cellphones, all leading to Echo, a stranded little alien who needs help.

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“Snowpiercer” (R) —  This bold-action science-fiction flick has been burning down the film festivals, despite its silly name. When mankind tries to control the climate with a chemical solution, we accidentally freeze the whole world. The last living people have to stay aboard a constantly moving super-train called Snowpiercer —  and there’s trouble brewing with the rabble who are forced to live in the back of the train and “know their place.” Chris Evans plays the hardened hero who leads a scheme to overthrow the train’s ruling class.

This movie has a wide array of sci-fi and pop-culture inspiration, all used to great effect. Director Joon-ho Bong of Korea is known for “The Host,” a seemingly typical monster flick that turned out to be astoundingly engaging, emotional and fun. This same inventiveness is evident in this newest offering, which also boasts a bigger budget and a globe-spanning A-list cast.

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“The Purge: Anarchy” (R) —  Slightly better than last year’s purge, this one leaves the suburban fortress and goes into the streets. In the near-ish future, the government gives everybody one night a year where all crime is legal. The action follows Sergeant (Frank Grillo), a grizzled loner who ends up saving a few helpless folks with his armored car. Sergeant and the assorted survivors cruise the city streets, fighting and evading different gangs of psychopaths. The movie is gory, but doesn’t cut as deep as it thinks it does.

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“Canopy” (PG-13) —  An Australian fighter pilot wakes up suspended in a jungle canopy, shot down by invading Japanese forces. Now he’s stranded, unarmed, starving and uncertain of which way to go. In the jungle, he meets another stranded soldier —  a member of the local resistance. They band together to brave the harsh wilderness and outfox the determined Japanese troops hunting them. This movie uses suspense, paranoia and masterful audio to keep the tension strong in this fight for survival.

TV RELEASES
“Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons 1 & 2”
“Mad Men: the Final Season-Part 1”
“Silent Witness: Season 1”
“Annie Oakley: The Complete TV Series”

© 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.