This flawed 2009 outing by Italian director Giuseppe Piccioni dwells on a self-pitying, immature (though supposedly brilliant) author, Guido, who finds himself drawn to his daughter’s swim coach, Giulia, played luminously by Valeria Golino. Giulia has a (rather ridiculous) secret, however, that doesn’t allow her to go out at night. The problem is that Piccioni seems to have invested too much of himself in the author character, leading his narrative continually away from the interesting (Giulia) and toward the tedious (Giulia’s influence on Guido’s writing) – a narcissistic reading that eliminates any possibility of sympathy for the main character. Still, it’s worth a look to marvel at Golino, whose recent, award-worthy work has finally begun to overshadow her dubious Hollywood beginnings. (She was Charlie Sheen’s horse-riding, bacon-grilling love interest in the Hot Shots movies.) (available now)
Special Features: none
While I’m still not entirely convinced that the world needed this remake of the Swedish-language instant classic, Let the Right One In, it’s fortunate that Matt Reeves, a director as capable of moments both broad and intimate, was at the helm. As the eternally preadolescent vampire, Abby, Chloe Moretz continues to display her preternatural camera instincts and raw presence, while Kodi Smit-McPhee’s Owen is played appropriately more cowed and curious than the original boy. The result is a film that’s familiar to fans of the source material but that, like a great cover song, reveals new depths and metaphors that beg further inspection. (available now)
Special Features: Audio commentary, featurettes, deleted scenes
What a pleasant surprise to find so much depth, poetry and ideas inside what’s essentially a laptop movie. Writer-director Gareth Edwards is uniquely qualified to tell this story of aliens on Earth and the contentious (mis)understanding that develops between the occupied and the incidental occupiers. Edwards has a background in both digital effects and nature documentaries, having directed sensationalistic “what-if” programs for Discovery like “Solar Storm” and “Super Tornado.” That same sense of impending, amorphous dread pervades here, as a freelance journalist and his girlfriend attempt to navigate a Mexican wasteland where creatures that hitchhiked from one of Jupiter’s moons (Europa, one of the places scientists believe life could exist on in real life) exist in a kind of quarantined nowhere. Due to budget constraints, we don’t see these creatures in their full glory too often, and the film is better for it – all the better to ponder Edwards’ potent, smart allegories. (available now)
Special Features: Deleted scenes, featurettes, short film
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