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New on DVD:
“Beautiful Creatures” – Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich make an adorable couple in a surprisingly satisfying adaptation of Kami Garcia’s YA novel. A February box-office flop, it probably won’t spawn the franchise Warner Brothers had intended. But it’s still better than any of the “Twilight” movies. (B).
“The Last Stand” – In his first starring vehicle since 2003′s “Terminator 3,” Arnold Schwarzenegger plays an Arizona sheriff (don’t ask) battling a nefarious Mexican drug cartel. Korean cult director Kim (“I Saw the Devil,” “The Good, the Bad, the Weird”) Jee-Woon’s kinetic action flick is frequently silly, but never dull. (B).
“Parker” – This pulpish Donald E. Westlake adaptation starring Jason Statham and a nicely self-effacing Jennifer Lopez is very much in the style of early ’70s Don Siegel (“Charley Varrick”) and Phil Karlson (“Framed”) movies. It’s got the same casual brutality and vivid sense of place (in this case, Palm Beach, Florida). It does, however, suffer from a slight case of bloat/flab. Instead of an indulgent 118 minutes, it really should have clocked in at a lean, mean 90 minutes. The director, Taylor Hackford (“An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Ray”), has made better films in the past. (B-).
“Side Effects” – “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” star Rooney Mara headlines Steven Soderbergh’s deliciously tricky Hitchockian thriller about psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. A stellar supporting cast (including Jude Law, Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta Jones) just adds to the fun. (B+).
“Stand-Up Guys” – Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin are the chief pleasures of this otherwise fairly routine comedy-drama about small-time hoods that received a perfunctory theatrical release early this year. Amiable enough on its own modest terms, but pretty much instantly forgettable. (C-).