Chris Rock and Julie Delphy in the movie "2 Days in New York." (Jojo Whilden, Magnolia…)
2 Days In New York
Available on VOD beginning July 6
Writer-director-star Julie Delpy follows up her funny, poignant 2007 romance "2 Days In Paris" with this film, in which her photographer character Marion returns. In the sequel, Marion entertains her vacationing family in her NYC home and deals with their judgmental attitudes toward her lifestyle, her city, and her African American boyfriend (played by Chris Rock). While the first film was more about the differences that divide romantic partners, this new one is about how families are forced to live with each other despite having little in common. The new movie is quite broad, but Delpy knows how to write for and direct herself, and the culture-clash comedy here is as well-observed as it is wacky.
Any movie that opens with a zero-gravity striptease in a shag-carpeted spaceship is a movie bound for cult status, and yet even today, Roger Vadim's 1968 sci-fi comedy is more talked about than seen. Jane Fonda stars as an intergalactic adventurer whose formerly peaceful galaxy is rocked by the arrival of a mysterious villain with a new kind of weapon. Based on Jean-Claude Forest's lightly erotic comic book series, "Barbarella" is a pure product of the '60s "camp" era, but it's an unusually imaginative one, what with its squid-drawn sleighs, killer baby dolls and special sex pills. The film was a box-office bomb and was disowned by many of the people involved with making it, yet its silliness and unabashed sexiness are a lot more novel and fun now. The new Blu-ray edition is a missed opportunity though; it looks nice but contains no bonus features.
Available on VOD beginning July 3
From the director of "Free Willy" (and, um, "Operation Dumbo Drop") comes another movie about the special relationship between humans and animals. Simon Wincer tackles the true story of the 2002 Melbourne Cup, when jockey Damien Oliver (Stephen Curry) rode despite the death of his jockey brother just a few weeks before the race. Wincer knows his way around horses, having helmed "Phar Lap," "The Young Black Stallion" and several good westerns; and he gets a strong supporting performance from Brendan Gleeson as the trainer of Oliver's mount. But while "The Cup" is diverting enough — especially for those who know nothing about Oliver's story or the outcome of the 2002 Melbourne Cup — it never rises to the level of anything special. It's flat and plain, galloping full-on from gate to finish.
Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98
Willem Dafoe stars as a crafty mercenary tasked to track down a Tasmanian tiger in writer-director Daniel Nettheim's adaptation of Julia Leigh's elemental adventure novel. Following Leigh's lead, Nettheim turns"The Hunter" into a story about outsiders who seek to exploit the resources in an untamed land. But he doesn't skimp on the tension either, as the movie's morally ambiguous hero stalks through the jungle, always aware that the beauty and serenity around him can be shattered in an instant. The DVD and Blu-ray add a Nettheim commentary track, deleted scenes and a featurette.