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DVDs In Brief: June 1, 2011

A.V. Club Staff

Nicolas Cage seems to be making midnight movies exclusively these days. He’s a one-man cult-classic machine, pumping out an endless string of demented B-movies like Drive Angry (Summit), a campy action-comedy and huge box-office bomb about a mysterious drifter (Cage) who busts out of hell to save his granddaughter from a Satanic cult. William Fichtner steals the film as Satan’s droll, deadpan accountant. No, it isn’t based on a true story…

Mexican auteur Alejandro González Iñárritu showed great promise with his electrifying debut feature, Amores Perros, but he’s been spinning his wheels ever since. Iñárritu finally hits rock bottom with Biutiful (Roadside Attractions), which lacks the gimmicky achronology of 21 Grams and Babel, but keeps the contrived pile-up of tragedies and false visual poetry. Javier Bardem plays the most put-upon man in movie history, a black-market middleman in Barcelona who’s dealing with Chinese migrant workers, illegal African street venders, a bipolar wife who’s sleeping with his brother, and a family on the brink of financial collapse. He also has terminal cancer. Oh yes, and he can communicate with the dead…


With Kaboom (IFC), veteran indie director Gregg Araki combines the daffy tone of his underrated Anna Faris pot comedy Smiley Face with an exploration of identity worthy of his best film, Mysterious Skin. The result is more fun than a barrel of polyamorous monkeys. Thomas Dekker stars as a college freshman who’s somewhere toward the middle of the Kinsey scale—mostly gay, but willing to experiment. But his sexual identity is just one element of an unhinged movie that combines booming music, bright colors, crazy conspiracy subplots, and zippy action sequences…

The Mickey Rourke-Megan Fox-Bill Murray indie Passion Play (Image) got some press when Rourke called the movie “terrible” in an interview, later walked back his remarks, then called it “terrible” again while talking to a reporter for the New York Observer. Arthouse viewers were clearly listening: In early May, the film opened on two screens and brought in $1,000 per theater, not enough to make the average mortgage payment. A month later, this misbegotten carnival fable has made its way to DVD, where it should remain ignored.

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