Couch Theater — DVD Previews

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Jason Clarke in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

Jason Clarke in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

“The Hundred Foot Journey” (PG-13) —  Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) has dedicated herself to the painstaking perfection of the finest restaurants in France. Much to her chagrin, Papa Kadam (Om Puri) and his family, fresh from India, decide to start a new restaurant and a new life in the rundown building just across the street from Mallory’s hallowed establishment. Hassan is heir to his father’s Indian cooking legacy, but he’s drawn by the allure of fine French cuisine, and Madame Mallory’s sous chef (Charlotte Le Bon).

This uplifting Disney treat could have been too sweet, but comedic and dramatic talents of Mirren and Puri keep things interesting. Foodies will appreciate how much the camera and audio embrace the food at the heart of the story.

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“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (PG-13) —  Mankind has hit hard times, what with the virus that wiped out half of the population and the uprising of enraged extra-intelligent apes. Surviving humans in the remains of San Francisco must figure out what to do about the nearby Ape Army that’s settled in the woods. Is there room for both of us? Even if the leaders try to keep things cool, how long can peace last?

Just like in the prequel, you’ll find yourself sympathizing with the apes more than the people. Master motion-capture actor Andy Serkis (who gave awesome performances for King Kong and Gollum) reprises his role as Caesar, the conflicted leader of the apes. The action sequences are big and exhilarating, and the film’s more personal moments also come through.

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“As Above/So Below” (R) —  Beneath Paris lies the catacombs —  a miles-long twisted labyrinth walled with human remains. To one young researcher (Perdita Weeks) and her crew of tag-alongs, this sounds like a great place to go crawling around with cameras on their heads. They don’t find the mythical stone they were looking for, but they do find a tunnel into their own personal nightmares. The setting is grim and dark enough, but this found-footage flick will leave you more nauseous than spooked.

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“Kids for Cash” (PG-13) —  In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, more than 3,000 children were incarcerated for minor misconduct, all while one judge raked in nearly $3 million in kickbacks from the companies running the detention centers. One girl was even sentenced to juvenile detention for making a fake MySpace account as a joke on her school’s assistant principal. Each kid who entered Mark Ciavarella’s courtroom was railroaded to the maximum possible sentence, because every kid he locked up put money in his account. This documentary examines the scandal, the impact it’s had, and what it says about our justice system.

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TV RELEASES
“Justified: Season 5”
“Broad City: Season 1”
“The Simpsons: Season 17”
“Happy Days: Season 6”
“Gunsmoke: Season 11 —  Volume One”
“The Strain: Season 1”

© 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.