‘Dead’ goes down, ‘Host’ inhabits and ‘Spring’ breaks on DVD

Among the movies that became available Tuesday, July 9 on Blu-ray and DVD at retail stores and rental outlets throughout the Valley are a thriller from Niels Arden Oplev, a science-fiction flick from Stephenie Meyer and a crime drama from Harmony Korine.

Admission

Tina Fey plays a Princeton admissions officer who, up for a promotion, takes a professional risk when an alternative school teacher (Paul Rudd) introduces her to a college-bound kid who just might be the son she gave up years ago in a secret adoption. (PG-13 – 100 minutes)

If anyone asks you to see “Admission” with them, swiftly reject their offer. If they then see the new comedy without you and say that it was anything other than a complete waste of their time, immediately deny having ever known them. Tina Fey is utterly unfunny as a character who is socially impaired and ultimately unlikeable while Paul Rudd appears as though he is starring in another movie altogether – a movie that may have actually been worth watching. A scene in which the wannabe freshmen’s fates are decided is kind of compelling but the rest should be renounced. (Thumbs Down!)

Dead Man Down

Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace star as two strangers who are irresistibly drawn to one another by their mutual desire for revenge. Terrence Howard and Dominic Cooper co-star. (R – 118 minutes)

Those viewers who lack patience are likely to give up on “Dead Man Down” long before any action takes place. As a result, they will miss out on some mesmerizing melodrama. On the other hand, they will also avoid being subjected to an onslaught of shadowy shootouts and crazy commotion that occurs in the final fourth of the film. What at first appears to be a slow-burning-but-strikingly-stylized story about love and revenge ultimately proves itself to be pointless preposterousness. The complex relationship between Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace’s characters remains mildly intriguing however it never amounts to anything that would save this nonsensical neo-noir. (Thumbs Down!)

The Host

Saoirse Ronan plays a girl who, when an unseen enemy threatens mankind by taking over their bodies and erasing their memories, will risk everything to protect the people she cares most about – proving that love can conquer all in a dangerous new world. (PG-13 – 125 minutes)

“The Host” is really, really robotic – which, as it turns out, is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, writer/director Andrew Niccol’s new cinematic adaptation of “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer’s novel makes for an engrossingly ethereal experience. On the other hand, the sci-fi romance conducts itself without any of the passion that makes for good melodrama – except for a few small scenes that, in aiming to appeal to the same audiences who consider themselves members of either Team Edward or Team Jacob, seem so out of place that they come across as incredibly corny. (Thumbs Down!)

Spring Breakers

Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Rachel Korine and Selena Gomez play best friends whose serendipitous encounter with a rapper (James Franco) promises to provide them with all the thrill and excitement they could hope for and a spring break they will never forget. (R – 92 minutes)

If writer/director Harmony Korine’s intention with his new crime drama “Spring Breakers” was to make viewers feel as though they have been drugged and are experiencing 90 minutes of extremely unpleasant intoxication, he hit that nail square on its head. The movie is artistically incompetent, substituting a structured narrative with something that looks more like a cross between a commercial and a music video. Worst of all, though, Korrine’s project is a direct insult toward young women – exploiting their bodies to pornographic effect and suggesting that the vast majority of them are soulless, money-hungry nymphomaniacs who are completely incapable of self-respecting behavior. (Thumbs Down!)

Joseph J. Airdo

Joseph J. Airdo is a film critic, producer and on-air personality for Breakthrough Entertainment, a talk radio show airing 10-11 a.m. Saturdays on KPHX 1480 AM and BreakRadioShow.com that shines a spotlight on the practical perspectives of the topics and themes explored in movies. He has a pet duck named Frozen who is as opinionated about movies as he is. E-mail him at joseph.airdo@gmail.com.

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