This week’s new DVDs: Source Code, The Music Never Stopped, and more

July 28, 2011

There was not enough room at the inn in this week’s MovieStyle section, so the Homemovies column makes it’s BDA debut. This might eventually become its permanent home. We shall see. Here’s a roundup of some recently released DVDs:

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (PG-13, 107 minutes) — Based on Italian horror comic books but transposed to the Louisiana bayou and starring Brandon Routh, Dylan Dog is kind of a mess, a sub-True Blood winking comedy that is neither funny nor scary. Grade: 77

Heartbearts (Not rated, 95 minutes) — Xavier Dolan is a 22-year-old  French-Canadian filmmaker and Heartbeats, his second full-length feature, is very much a young person’s movie, splashing colorful postmodern blotches all over a gray, hoary premise. Some of it works, much of it doesn’t, but through sheer exuberance the filmmaker commands our attention. But it’s ultimately a bauble, a harmless little movie that might one day be dismissed as juvenilia. Or offered as proof as young promise betrayed. But right now, it’s just a goofy little movie about young people who think they’re in love. Grade: 86

The Music Never Stopped (PG, 105 minutes) — Sentimental to a fault and apparently underfunded (though somehow filled with what had to be some very expensive music), first-time director Jim Kohlberg’s The Music Never Stopped is an earnest and somewhat fictionalized recounting of a case history that the neurologist and author Oliver Sacks (Awakenings) wrote about in his essay “The Last Hippie,” which appeared in his 1995 book An Anthropologist on Mars. In 1986, a tumor destroys a young man’s short term memory, causing him to believe he’s still living in the early 1970s. His father, a gruff, classical music-loving engineer, finds the only way to connect with his son is by embracing the rock music of the period. Great soundtrack and good performances go a long way to elevating the Movie of the Week script. Stars two excellent , if somewhat underused actors, J.K. Simmons — whom you may recognize from Juno or as one of the Coen brothers’ favorites — and Lou Taylor Pucci in the key roles. Grade: 83

Peep World (NR, 79 minutes) — At their father’s 70th birthday party, four siblings — Rainn Wilson, Sarah Silverman, Michael C. Hall and Ben Schwartz — air their grievances, chief among them the youngest brother’s publication of his best-selling novel, a thinly disguised tell-all book about this particular unhappy family. Though unfocused and overstuffed with characters, it has its dark comic moments. Grade: 84

Source Code (PG-13, 93 minutes) — Smart time-travel thriller grounded in recognizable human emotions by Duncan Jones (Moon) makes great use of Jake Gyllenhaal and (especially) the preternaturally engaging Michelle Monaghan. However, if you’re the sort inclined to think too much about these sort of things, you might be bothered by a few loose ends that never get tied up. With the ever reliable Vera Farmiga and the ever enjoyable Jeffrey Wright. Grade: 86

Winter in Wartime  (R, 103 minutes) — Beautifully photographed, well acted and moderately involving, Martin Koolhoven’s Winter in Wartime is an above-average melodrama about a 13-year-old Dutch boy, Michiel (Martijn Lakemeier) living in occupied territory who, in the final months of World War II, is drawn into the resistance movement. The source material is a 1972 children’s novel (Oorlogswinter) by Jan Terlouw, but Koolhoven seems to have aimed the film at an adult audience while retaining the early adolescent point-of-view. The result is a naive story that has some of the dreamy qualities of a remembered myth — Michiel hasn’t access to all the details and adult complications of his situation, and he isn’t fully aware of the implications of his actions. Grade: 86

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