ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT MOVIES Movies Now

New releases: 'Upstream Color' is a complicated, lost-souls tale

Upstream Color

ERBP, $24.95; Blu-ray, $29.95

Available on VOD beginning May 7

Since opening at Sundance this year, this sci-fi-inflected indie drama has been described as "baffling," but even though it's a complicated film, its basics aren't that hard to understand. A woman (Amy Seimetz) has her life ruined when a crook hypnotizes her with a psychedelic worm, and in the aftermath, she finds herself drawn to a handsome stranger (played by the film's writer-director-producer Shane Carruth) who's similarly broken. Other characters drift in and out of the story — most notably a musically inclined pig farmer whose purpose is primarily metaphorical — but for the most part the movie is about two lost souls who seek solace in each other and meaning in the more esoteric mysteries of life. Even if it doesn't all make immediate sense, the primal yearning in this film is powerful and beautifully rendered. In keeping with Carruth's unusual self-distribution model for "Upstream Color," the film arrives VOD and in a bare-bones DVD/Blu-ray set immediately after completing its limited theatrical run.

Jack Reacher

Paramount, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD beginning May 7

This well-crafted thriller that should've been a bigger hit stars Tom Cruise as the title character: a retired MP who gets involved in the investigation of an Army sniper accused of killing five civilians in Pittsburgh. Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie adapts Lee Child's novel "One Shot" (part of a "Jack Reacher" series), and effectively captures the rhythm and flavor of Child's hard-boiled mysteries, emphasizing how nothing is as it appears and how it sometimes takes a chilly loner like Jack Reacher to catch all the clues. Slick but not breezy, the movie's more for noir fans than the "Mission: Impossible" crowd. The DVD and Blu-ray add a Cruise-McQuarrie commentary and a trio of featurettes.

Mama

Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

Available on VOD beginning May 7

Writer-director Andrés Muschietti's horror film is properly atmospheric, telling the story of two orphan girls raised in the woods by a mysterious, terrifying entity and then are taken in by their uncle (played by "Game of Thrones'" Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his overwhelmed punk-rocker girlfriend ("Zero Dark Thirty's" Jessica Chastain). The problem is that "Mama" was expanded from an excellent short film — included on the DVD and Blu-ray, along with deleted scenes, featurettes and a commentary track by Muschietti and his co-writer-producer-sister Bárbara — and the feature-length version just isn't substantive enough to support its handful of admittedly scary scenes. The Muschiettis are great at set pieces, but less so at fitting them into a narrative with any momentum or flow.

30 Rock: The Final Season

Universal, $44.98

Tina Fey's NBC sitcom started out in the shadow of the higher-profile "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" — another NBC series about what goes on behind the scenes of a sketch comedy show — and then became one of the most acclaimed series on television before suffering a small backlash in its later seasons. But "30 Rock" ends well, with an abbreviated 13-episode seventh season that brings some closure to the story of Fey's romantically challenged TV producer Liz Lemon and her circle of weirdos. The last "30 Rock" DVD set includes deleted scenes, featurettes and commentary tracks on a handful of episodes, but mainly it contains some of the funniest and most unexpectedly touching episodes in this series' stellar run.

And…

Fringe: The Complete Series

Warner Bros., $159.96; Blu-ray, $197.50

The Oranges

20th Century Fox, $22.98; Blu-ray, $29.99

Safe Haven

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD beginning May 7

Starlet

Music Box, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

Superman: Unbound

Warner Bros., $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.98

calendar@latimes.com

PHOTOS AND MORE PHOTOS: Faces to watch 2014 | Movies ENVELOPE: The latest awards buzz DOCUMENTARIES: 10 best of 2013, and a new crop in 2014


Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Q&A: Zach Braff on Kickstarter, indie filmmaking and the skeptics
    Q&A: Zach Braff on Kickstarter, indie filmmaking and the skeptics

    Zach Braff made headlines last week when he became one of the first top-tier Hollywood personalities to try -- and succeed in -- financing a movie via Kickstarter. Just a few days after listing his idiosyncratic project “Wish I Was Here,” which he aims to direct and star in, he...

  • Betsy Sharkey's best films of 2014
    Betsy Sharkey's best films of 2014

    The imprint of the auteur not only shaped the year, it very much influences each of my top 10 (or so) choices.

  • Artists and filmmakers make surprising leaps in 2014
    Artists and filmmakers make surprising leaps in 2014

    Exhibiting raw promise is one thing, but to exceed those initial flashes is something really special. Throughout this year, many filmmakers and performers were pressing on in remarkable ways, showing that even artists who have already exhibited notable skill, talent and accomplishment still...

  • Mark Olsen's best indie films of 2014
    Mark Olsen's best indie films of 2014

    Throughout the year people you thought you knew showed they were still full of surprises. In 2014, when some would see cinema as a storytelling mode and cultural force as an endangered species, these are vital signs of life. Here is Mark Olsen's top ten list of independent films:

  • Kenneth Turan's best films of 2014
    Kenneth Turan's best films of 2014

    What's the point of doing a 10 best list if you put only 10 films on it?

  • Daring films lifted the artform in 2014
    Daring films lifted the artform in 2014

    Like voices crying in the wilderness — rising above that vast wasteland of movie mediocrity — came the roar of the auteurs in 2014. A rangy group with varying aesthetics, they've left an indelible imprint on cinema despite the 400 or so of the marginal that clogged our theaters...

Comments
Loading