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precarious since 1997 | by maryann johanson

new on DVD: ‘3:10 to Yuma,’ ‘Sunshine,’ ‘Joshua,’ ‘Eye of the Dolphin,’ ‘Eagle vs. Shark,’ ‘Death Sentence’

See it:

3:10 to Yuma [buy it]. From my review:

Mangold makes you feel like you’ve never seen a Western before. The stagecoach ambush and robbery that opens the movie features some pretty clichéd moments — thundering horses, good guys and bad shootin’ at one another, etc. — but Mangold finds fresh angles on a familiar scene, brings a modern action edge to something you might think couldn’t quite be modernized and still retain its retro deliciousness. But Mangold manages that, too: this new Yuma is gloriously old-fashioned in the best movie way, redolent of its pulpy, junky roots in the pure adventure thrills of dime novels but also heady with consequence. This Yuma knows — and maybe the old one did too; I’ll have to check it out — that there’s plenty of significance to be found in classic characters and simple stories.

See it:

Sunshine [buy it]. Reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey, this smart sci-fi flick is about the impact on actual human beings of boldly going where no one has gone before.

Joshua [buy it]. Is Joshua the son of Satan, or merely a fully mortal psychopath in the making? Oh, the places he’ll go…

See it… now that it’s on DVD:

Eye of the Dolphin [buy it]. This delightful drama about a father and a daughter rediscovering each other avoids sentimental sap without giving up any of its sweet gentleness.

Eagle vs. Shark [buy it]. This quirky New Zealand flick about nerds in love, kinda, might be a little too quirky — its characters are more Napoleon Dynamite than Napoleon Dynamite — but give it a shot anyway.

Skip it:

Death Sentence [buy it]. From my review:

Bacon’s Nick Hume lives in a world that’s a right-wing wet dream, one in which anarchic, immoral “animals” run amuck in the streets; cities are destitute, rundown hellholes of lawlessness; and the cops, when you ask them for assistance, tell you, “God help you.” Seriously, that happens here. I was waiting for the cop to tell Kevin, “Vaya con dios,” in that way that means, “You crazy bastard, what are you thinking, expecting civilization in this cesspit?” like he was in some badass old-fashioned Western. Cuz he is. Except this is, you know, Cleveland, or somewhere. I mean, what is this: Baghdad under American occupation? Or is it America America, where decent upstanding white folk are preyed upon by the scum of the earth?

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