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New Releases: A delightful chemistry in 'Your Sister's Sister'

Also reviewed: 'Beyond the Black Rainbow,' 'Lola Versus' and 'The Loved Ones.'

September 07, 2012|By Noel Murray
  • Emily Blunt, left, as Iris and Rosemarie DeWitt as Hannah in "Your Sister's Sister."
Emily Blunt, left, as Iris and Rosemarie DeWitt as Hannah in "Your… (Benjamin Kasulke / IFC Films )

Your Sister's Sister

Available on VOD beginning Thursday

Writer-director Lynn Shelton's follow-up to her hit indie comedy "ENMV0002398">"Humpday" stars Mark Duplass as a sad sack who has a drunken sexual encounter with the sister of his late brother's ex-girlfriend. The indiscretion threatens to derail not only the siblings' rapport but also his own friendship with the woman who once loved his brother (Emily Blunt). As the trio — rounded out by Rosemarie DeWitt — spend time together at a house on a remote Washington island, plenty of unresolved feelings get dredged up, in that casually honest, frequently funny way that made "Humpday" such a delight.

Though the location of "Your Sister's Sister" is lovely and the performances are top-notch, Shelton can't seem to figure out where to take this story and imposes a third-act plot twist that feels like an afterthought. Still, the film is plenty enjoyable, thanks to its tone and its cast, who excel at this kind of in-the-moment human comedy.

Beyond the Black Rainbow

Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

This retro sci-fi horror homage is nearly all texture and mood, so anyone looking for an exciting, pulpy plot to go along with all the sterile set design and throbbing synthesizers might well be confounded by writer-director Panos Cosmatos' freaky little genre exercise. There is some story here — about a near-comatose, possibly psychic young woman and the psychologically disturbed doctor who observes and torments her — but it takes a back seat to Cosmatos' riffs on De Palma, Kubrick, Lucas, Tarkovsky and Argento. First and foremost, this is an environment: like some awesome '70s prog-rock album cover come to life. The DVD and Blu-ray contain extended scenes and a pair of featurettes.

Lola Versus

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $29.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

One of the most unexpectedly divisive movies of the year, "Lola Versus" stars Greta Gerwig as an artsy New York grad student who gets dumped by her fiancé and then tries to get over it by indulging in sexual and chemical misadventures. Writer-director Daryl Wein and his co-writer Zoe Lister-Jones capture a lot of what it's like to be young, sad and unattached in the big city, giving a raunchy, distaff perspective on urban aimlessness. But the vulgarity feels forced at times, and while Wein and Lister-Jones seem to think they're subverting the Hollywood rom-com, the rampant quirkiness and hapless heroine aren't too far removed from the typical Katherine Heigl flick. The DVD and Blu-ray add a Wein/Lister-Jones commentary track, plus deleted scenes and featurettes.

The Loved Ones

Paramount, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Nearly all the characters in this Aussie high-school horror-comedy are shaggy-haired metalheads, which makes writer-director Sean Byrne's debut film feel closer to classic drive-in fare than the recent spate of slicked-up American exploitation remakes. The film follows a misfit teen (the remarkable Robin McLeavy) who kidnaps the boy she loves on prom night and puts him through the ringer. Byrne throws together a bunch of familiar exploitation characters and images — pot-smoking, sex in cars, backwoods freak families, dudes strapped to chairs — but what sets the movie apart is the tightness of the plotting and the relative depth of the characterization. The DVD and Blu-ray include cast interviews.

And…

Snow White and the Huntsman

Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

We Have A Pope

MPI, $24.98

What to Expect When You're Expecting

Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Where Do We Go Now?

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $45.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

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