NEW THIS WEEK ON DVD | Week of 7/6/09


KNOWING (Science fiction, PG-13, 122 m., 2009). Among the best science fiction films Ive seen frightening, suspenseful, intelligent and, when it needs to be, rather awesome. Nicolas Cage plays an MIT astrophysicist whose son brings home a sheet of paper after a 50-year-old time capsule is opened at his grade school. The sheet is covered with numbers, which the scientist, despite all his training, becomes convinced mean something. Pluck this movie, and it vibrates.
Rating: Four stars.

PUSH (Sci-fi thriller, PG-13, 111 m., 2009). A gaggle of paranormals fight in Hong Kong for Im not quite sure what purpose, although it involves a briefcase as the MacGuffin and many examples of the Talking Killer Syndrome. Dakota Fanning has a lot of pluck to travel alone at her age and meet up with these strangeos. With Chris Evans, Camilla Belle, Cliff Curtis and Djimon Hounsou.
Rating: One and a half stars.

TWO LOVERS (Drama, R, 110 m., 2009). Joaquin Phoenix is superb in an uncommonly touching story of a nice but troubled man wavering between two women: a loving family friend (Vinessa Shaw) and an emotionally fraught but superficially glamorous one (Gwyneth Paltrow). Sidesteps all the usual cliches about families and children.
Rating: Three and a half stars.

INKHEART (Fantasy, PG, 105 m., 2009). Brendan Fraser plays a man who has the gift, when reading aloud, of bringing fictional characters to life and trapping living people in the pages of a book. He and his daughter (Eliza Hope Bennett) find a copy of Inkheart, the novel he was reading when her mother was sucked into its pages. Now they compete with demonic spirits freed from its pages at the same time. Ingenious, yes, but it all descends into basic action scenes and skullduggery.
Rating: Two stars.

WALTZ WITH BASHIR (Animated documentary, R, 87 m., 2009). A devastating Israeli animated film that tries to reconstruct how and why thousands of innocent civilians were massacred because those with the power to stop them took no action. During Israels 1982 invasion of Lebanon, Palestinian refugees were killed by a Christian militia. Blame has never been clearly assigned.
Rating: Three and a half stars.