Amir Bar-Lev explores tribalism in Penn State-centric 'Happy Valley'

Happy Valley

Music Box, $29.95

Amir Bar-Lev's latest documentary is ostensibly about the scandal that erupted at Penn State when assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was accused of sexually abusing young boys. But as with Bar-Lev's earlier films "My Kid Could Paint That" and "The Tillman Story," this one is really about much more. "Happy Valley" uses the Sandusky story and what came after — including the downfall of respected coach Joe Paterno — to discuss the different ways tribalism affects how people process a major event. As Penn State fans circle the wagons and come up with excuses for appalling behavior from their idols, Bar-Lev considers how it's human nature to pick sides and to turn a complicated situation into something with one-dimensional heroes and villains.

Listen Up Philip

Cinedigm/Tribeca, $19.97

Jason Schwartzman defines "lovably awful" in Alex Ross Perry's corrosive comedy, playing a misanthropic young author who's rude to everyone — because that's what he thinks literary geniuses are supposed to do. The movie works not just because Schwartzman's so funny as a raging jerk but also because Perry makes daring structural and visual choices. He divides the narrative among Philip, his ex-girlfriend (played by Elisabeth Moss) and his surly mentor (Jonathan Pryce), letting each be the center of the story for long stretches. Ross also gives "Listen Up Philip" the weathered, sun-dappled look of a late-1960s counterculture picture. The movie has the feels of both a keenly observed novel and a lovely art film. The DVD adds a commentary track, deleted scenes, and a featurette.


Cinedigm/Drafthouse, $24.99; Blu-ray, $29.93

Japanese cult filmmaker Hitoshi Matsumoto has made one of his strangest and most poignant movies yet in this semi-erotic comedy about a morose shop clerk who signs a contract with a company that sends out dominatrixes to humiliate him. When the women start threatening his job and family, the hero is alarmed to find that he can't cancel the service; he then ends up caught in the middle of a long-standing war between government agents and an army of sadists. "R100" is part slapstick, part pulp and part avant-garde; ultimately, it's a meta-comment on how some people have eclectic tastes in "entertainment."

The Red Road: The Complete First Season

Anchor Bay, $19.98

Though SundanceTV has yet to establish itself as a major player in the original cable drama market, both of its efforts have been strong: first "Rectify" and now "The Red Road." The latter's first-season DVD set contains three featurettes and six hour-long episodes, which follow a small town sheriff (played by Martin Henderson) and a bruiser (Jason Momoa) from a nearby Native American tribe as they try to get the bottom of an awful crime. Like "True Detective," "The Bridge," "Justified" and other recent cable cop shows, "The Red Road" uses a criminal investigation as a way to explore social structures and regional quirks in sophisticated and exciting ways.


The Liberator

Cohen, $24.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

Available on VOD on Tuesday

Life of Riley

Kino Lorber, $24.95; Blu-ray, $29.95

Low Down

Oscilloscope, $34.99

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $36.99


Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

Remote Area Medical

Cinedigm, $29.95

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times