News Column

DVD reviews: 'The Host,' 'Spring Breakers' and 'The Gatekeepers' [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)]

July 11, 2013

YellowBrix

"The Host" (2013, PG-13, 125 min., $29.98) Even though it hasn't captured the same attention as the "Twilight" franchise, "The Host" has much in common. The film's adapted from a book from Stephenie Meyer, the same author who penned that popular aforementioned tale of vampires and werewolves. Also, "The Host" is geared toward the young-adult demographic. Even though it possesses a first-rate cast - - Saoirse Ronan, William Hurt and Diane Kruger are in lead roles -- "The Host" isn't able to take advantage of its star power, and viewers are left with a confusing storyline with too many holes. Best described as a cross between science fiction and romance, "The Host" is about Earth after an alien attack. The aliens have put themselves inside the bodies of humans, using them as hosts. Most have been turned, but there are a few holdouts. One is Melanie (Ronan). The aliens try to extract info from the strong-willed young woman, but she won't go easily.

"Spring Breakers" (2013, R, 92 min., $21.98) For viewers who have never seen a Harmony Korine movie, it's an unforgettable experience. The original filmmaker delivers one of the more memorable pictures of 2013 with "Spring Breakers," a well-shot crime thriller about a group of wild college gals experiencing a different type of spring break. Faith (Selena Gomez), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) want nothing more than to go to Florida for spring break. They rob and steal their way down to St. Petersburg before running into trouble at a party. When a dangerous drug lord named Alien (James Franco) bails them out, they're at his disposal. Suddenly, a life of crime doesn't seem so fun. Korine delivers a solid film, that's played out by a remarkable cast.

"Dead Man Down" (2013, R, 118 min., $26.99) Colin Farrell, Terrence Howard, Noomi Rapace and Dominic Cooper lead an all-star cast in director Niels Arden Oplev's thriller about a professional hit man and the victim of a terrible crime drawn together through an intense chemistry.

"The Gatekeepers" (2012, PG-13, 101 min., $30.99) Israel's secret service agency -- the Shin Bet -- is the focus of this forthcoming documentary from filmmaker Dror Moreh. Nominated for an Academy Award in the documentary field earlier this year, "The Gatekeepers" gathers six former heads of the Shin Bet, and the discussions revolve around Israel's tumultuous relationship with Palestine.

"The Power of Few" (2013, R, 96 min., $19.97) Leone Marucci wrote and directed this picture about five different characters who are tied to the efforts of a smuggling ring trying to steal a priceless artifact. A top-notch cast includes Christian Slater, Moon Bloodgood, Christopher Walken and Anthony Anderson.

"Admission" (2013, PG-13, 107 min., $29.98) Comedy veterans Tina Fey and Paul Rudd star in this laugher from filmmaker Paul Weitz about a straight-laced admissions counselor (Fey) from Princeton University who makes a surprising discovery during a recruiting visit to an alternative high school.

TV ON DVD

- "Portlandia: Season Three" (Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, two discs, 10 episodes, $19.95)

- "Warehouse 13: Season Four" (Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly, five discs, 20 episodes, $49.98)

-- Garrett Conti

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