May 1, 2009 in Features

Remake of Korean horror flick predictable, entertaining

Washington Post
 

Coming up

Among upcoming DVD releases (schedule subject to change):

May 5: “ The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Incendiary,” “Last Chance Harvey”

May 12: “Lying,” “Passengers,” “Taken,” “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans”

May 19: “Driven to Kill,” “My Bloody Valentine 3-D,” “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” “Valkyrie”

May 26: “Forever Strong,” “New in Town,” “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers”

- McClatchy-Tribune

‘The Uninvited’

This remake of the Korean “A Tale of Two Sisters” begins with teenage Anna (Emily Browning) in a mental institution. She can’t get over dreams of the fire that killed her mother 10 months before, and she’s troubled by visions of a creepy red-haired girl.

Even so, her kindly shrink says it’s time for her to go home. There she finds that her father (David Strathairn), a famous writer, has set up housekeeping with Rachael (Elizabeth Banks), the nurse who had been tending to Mom. Anna and her smart-alecky older sister, Alex (Arielle Kebbel), suspect that Rachael killed their mother.

First-time directors Thomas and Charles Guard give the action a glossy polish and a properly measured pace. Experienced horror fans will probably stay one step ahead of the game, but it’s still a nice ride.

DVD extras include alternate ending, deleted scenes, featurette. (1:27; rated PG for frightening images, language and sexual content)

‘Bride Wars’

Predictable and lazy, this thoroughly joyless movie also possesses a deep nasty streak, making it loathsome when it might have been merely annoying.

Kate Hudson plays Liv, a high-powered lawyer who with her childhood friend Emma (Anne Hathaway) has always dreamed of getting married at New York’s Plaza Hotel in June. When Liv and Emma get engaged around the same time, they book back-to-back Saturdays, only to discover … oh, what’s the point?

Sexist, mean-spirited and unfunny, the film seems to have been manufactured chiefly as a vehicle for its two stars, who wobble through it with grim determination.

DVD extras include deleted scenes, featurette. (1:30; PG for suggestive content, profanity and rude behavior)

‘Hotel for Dogs’

This comedy, starring perfectly pleasant up-and-comer Emma Roberts (Julia’s niece), is about kids, not parents.

Andi (Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin) have been parentless for three years, smuggling their dog from foster home to foster home, always getting evicted after infractions or other violations. Deprived of affection, guidance and decent nutrition, Andi and Bruce stumble on an abandoned hotel in downtown Los Angeles and decide to turn it into a home for unwanted pups.

For all the latent social criticism of the film, it’s a candy-coated romp through death and abandonment. On the upside, the movie could do something positive for the cause of homeless pets.

DVD extras include commentary by Thor Freudenthal, Ewan “Jack” Leslie, Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin; deleted scenes; featurettes; photo gallery. (1:40; PG for thematic elements, language and crude humor)

‘JCVD’

Playing Jean-Claude Van Damme is what Van Damme does in Mabrouk El Mechri’s inventive, insightful and utterly surprising movie.

Van Damme may be the idol of millions, but his career has been a roller-coaster tour of fame, substance abuse and incipient ex-fatherhood. When he dashes into a bank, there’s a robbery in progress. Outside, the police and the citizenry think Van Damme has gone rogue.

Although humor, violence and nervous tension are generated here, El Mechri’s prank is putting an action star in a movie that debunks the mythos of action stars. With a gun to his head, Van Damme is like anybody would be. DVD extras include bonus footage; theatrical trailer. (1:32; rated R for vulgarity and violence)

Also available: “Gangland: Season 3,” “Johnny Got His Gun,” “Martyrs,” “Nothing but the Truth,” “Stranded,” “Beethoven,” “The Waltons: Season 9,” “What Doesn’t Kill You,” “While She Was Out.”


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