‘American Reunion’ is on DVD
Still obnoxious after all these years: Chris Klein (from left), JsonBiggs, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Thomas Ian Nicholas in “American Reunion.”
Updated: July 3, 2012 1:16PM
NEW THIS WEEK
Rated: R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, language, brief drug use and teen drinking
Stars: Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannibal, Sean William Scott
Proof positive that no matter how pointless, painful and ignominious high school might have been, you can look forward to an equally mortifying experience at your high school reunion. While creative dividends have diminished steadily in the “American Pie” franchise, box office returns have not — hence this fairly predictable but still reasonably charming entry that sees our horndog heroes approaching middle-age. Fortunately, Eugene Levy is still around to make things work as the world’s most mortifying kindly dad. Extras include an unrated version, alternate takes, commentary and a gag reel.
★ ★ ★
Rated: No MPAA rating
Length: 100 minutes
Stars: Josiane Balasko, Garance le Guillermic, Togo Igawa
One of the problems with this otherwise warm, involving and admirably unsentimental adaptation of the international best-seller from France is that it’s difficult to feel much sympathy for 11-year-old Paloma (le Guillermic), who has decided to kill herself on her 12th birthday because of the contempt she feels for the grownups in her life. As Paloma’s big sis says, she is “an intolerant and depressive little person who hates others.” Fortunately, the soul of “The Hedgehog” is widowed, 54-year-old Renee (Cesar-winning actress/writer/director Balasko of “French Twist”) the concierge of the girl’s luxury apartment building in Paris. Shabby, sour and prickly on the outside, but kindly and refined within, Renee takes comfort from her secret library of great literature, and models a more acceptable adult existence for Paloma. That’s all fairly predictable, but the story takes a surprising turn you’re likely to find either refreshingly unexpected or deeply frustrating, depending on how you feel about happy endings.
Rated: PG for some fantasy action and mild rude humor
Stars: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Nathan Lane
Since it was directed by Tares Singh (“The Fall,” “Immortals”) you can be sure this so-so fairy-tale comedy looks good, especially with costumes designed by his recently deceased secret weapon Elko Shook. But is it funny? Not so much. A pale imitation of the whimsical style of “The Princess Bride,” this faux-witty Snow White update gets a fair amount of traction thanks to Roberts as the evil queen and Lane as her terrified courtier; otherwise it’s slow, predictable and uninspired.
21 JUMP STREET
★ ★ ★1/2
Rated: R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, drug material, teen drinking and some violence
Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum
This at-times-inspired parody of the late-’80s Fox TV show that launched Johnny Depp is considerably better than you might expect, despite being rude, crude, foul-mouthed, politically incorrect and insanely violent. The directors of the similarly crazed (but far more wholesome) animated comedy “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” make the most of the surprising chemistry between Hill and Tatum as mismatched undercover partners sent back to high school to track down drug dealers. Extras include cast and crew commentary, behind-the-scenes featurette, four deleted scenes, gag reel.
ALSO NEW THIS WEEK
A volunteer in a homeless shelter (Paul Dano) encounters his long-lost father (Robert DeNiro) and considers reaching out to him. Paul Weitz (“About a Boy”) wrote and directed the drama. Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content, drug use and brief nudity.
Members of an elite group of assassins loyal to the emperor infiltrate a band of rebels. Michael Mak (“Sex and Zen”) directed this 1993 Hong Kong martial arts adventure as a comeback vehicle for Michelle Yeoh (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) No MPAA rating.
CHARIOTS OF FIRE: BLU-RAY DEBUT
The Oscar-winning 1981 drama about two British runners (Ben Cross, Ian Charleson) competing in the 1924 Olympics gets the high-def treatment. Extras include a CD sampler, six new mini-documentaries, deleted scenes and screen tests. Rated PG.
THE FLOWERS OF WAR
A westerner (Christian Bale) takes sanctuary with a group of women in a church during Japan’s Rape of Nanking in 1937, then attempts to lead them to safety by posing as a priest. Yimou Zhang (“Hero”) directed the drama. Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, disturbing images, and brief strong language.
FRONTLINE: MONEY, POWER AND WALL STREET
This special four-hour investigation tells the inside-story of the 2008 financial meltdown and the battle to save the global economy.
OUTLAND: BLU-RAY DEBUT
The 1981 “High Noon”-inspired sci-fi thriller about a police marshal (Sean Connery) stationed on a moon of Jupiter facing down deadly outlaws with no help from the populace takes a high-def bow. Rated R.
YOU’RE NOBODY TIL SOMEBODY KILLS YOU
Two New York detectives (Michael Mosley, Julito McCullum) try to track down a serial killer targeting hip-hop stars. Writer/director Michael A. Pinckney makes his feature debut with the crime thriller. Rated R for language, violence including a sexual assault, and some drug use. Extras include commentary.
AVAILABLE NEXT WEEK:
American Masters presents “Johnny Carson: King of Late Night,” a cheap Parisian hotel adopted as home away from home for American beat authors and jazz musicians is remembered in the documentary “The Beat Hotel,” and “Singin’ in the Rain” celebrates its 60th anniversary.