Culture » Film



The Girl on the Train (NR)

Strand Releasing

Unmotivated and seemingly devoid of self-knowledge, 20-year-old Parisian Jeanne (excellent newcomer Émilie Dequenne) dates a bad boy, casually looks for a job and rebels against her mother for no obvious reason. One day she beats herself up, inks a swastika onto her body and tells police she was the victim of an anti-Semitic attack. It's a true story that calls to mind Ashley Todd, who carved the letter "B" on her face and claimed to have been attacked by Obama supporters in 2008, only this brings up social dilemmas in Europe today. Director André Téchiné, however, barely scratches the surface of those issues, instead focusing on the enigmatic girl and who she might be. He never finds an answer, but it's the lead-up that concerns Téchiné — and he knows how to make us care about that as well. Justin Strout


Gamera: The Giant Monster (NR)

Shout! Factory

Toho's giant atomic-lizard, Godzilla, is an international superstar that transcended its Japanese roots to become an iconic symbol. With such success, it was only a matter of time until the gargantuan imitators stomped out of the mire, with Gamera probably the most recognizable. Who's Gamera? Why, he's a monolithic, flying, fire-breathing, um, turtle. Yes ... turtle. And did I mention he's from Atlantis? It sounds goofy on paper — and it's pretty goofy on celluloid — but it's a totally fun ride, even more than the original 1954 version of Godzilla, with less ham-fisted protestations of nuclear power and more focus on fun, adventure and pure Tokyo destruction. And the best part? It's still a pure kaiju eiga, never to be bastardized by American filmmakers out to make a quick buck. You hear me, Roland Emmerich? Louis Fowler


North Face (NR)

Music Box Films Home Entertainment

This terrifying adventure from music-video director Philipp Stölzl takes us to the side of a mountain and hangs us by a thread for two nail-biting hours. It's the truth-based tale of four climbers, two from Austria and two from Germany, attempting to scale the north side of Eiger mountain — known in Germany as "the last remaining problem in the Alps" and imbued with great importance by a Nazi Germany looking for heroes in the run-up to Berlin's 1936 Olympics. Although overstuffed with an extraneous love story and a subplot involving an unscrupulous newspaper editor, Stölzl keeps most focus on the climbers and their impossible task through ultra-realistic settings and a wringing look at their moment-to-moment life-and-death decisions. It is far from a happy story, but it's one that satisfies to the bitter end. Justin Strout

Rock 'N' Roll High School (Blu-ray) (PG)

Shout! Factory

Forget the Sex Pistols and all that British punk noise! The Ramones are the real godfathers of punk, and the 1979 Roger Corman-produced alternative-teen-flick Rock 'N' Roll High School shows them not only at their height, but also in an Elvis-esque musical-comedy that upped their myth for decades. The charmingly sweet Riff Randell is the type of cool rocker-chick every guy wishes they could have dated in high school, but she's infatuated by the aforementioned Ramones. Just as she gets her chance to meet them, the sadistic principal gets in her way, with explosive results that, in this age of high school violence, could never, ever, be replicated. Not only is RNRHS a classic rock flick with a great band, but it's also an 84-minute time-capsule of an era that I feel depressed I never lived in. Hey ho ... it's gone. Louis Fowler

Penn and Teller B.S.!: The Complete Seventh Season (NR)

Showtime Entertainment

I love Penn and Teller's Bullshit. I think it's the most important show on television. No one else really takes the time, with careful research and thorough examination, to fully slaughter this society's politically correct sacred cows, from the myth of recycling and energy vortexes in Sedona, Ariz., to, in season seven, astrology, violent video games, lie detectors, taxes, organic food and stress, among other topics. This is seminal viewing for a well-rounded adulthood, and maybe that's the problem; adults don't need to watch this. Children do! Bullshit should be shown in schools, but, sadly, Penn and Teller constantly feel the need to go overboard on the unnecessary nudity and cursing. How about a kid-friendly version? If they can show An Inconvenient Truth in schools, they should be able to counterpoint with this. Louis Fowler

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