There are only a couple of films opening in local theaters this week, and from the early reviews it appears "It Lives Inside" (reviewed elsewhere in this section) might be pretty good for what it is -- a PG-13 horror film with aspirations to social relevance. In this case, rookie director Bishal Dutta employs horror as a metaphor for the immigrant experience.
But if "It Lives Inside" is being touted as a fresh take on an old genre, it's likely "Expend4bles" is exactly what you expect. It's tuned to a specific audience. You already know whether you're going or not, and the addition of Megan Fox and 50 Cent to the returning ensemble of Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jason Statham and Randy Couture might be seen as re-loading rather than re-building. (Stallone says this is his last go-round as team leader Barney Ross, with Statham expected to carry the team into the future. That's about all we know about the fourth installment, rated R, of the action franchise, but it's probably enough.
On other screens, a little movie called "Barbie" hit digital distribution this week. Funny I can't seem to find any pertinent information on that one. (Greta Gerwig directs Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae and America Ferrera in the 1 hour, 54 minute, PG-13-rated extravaganza.)
"The Girl From Rio" (R, 1 hour, 34 minutes, Blu-ray) This is a restoration of the original camera negative of Jesús Franco's bizarre, fast-paced, well produced and sexy 1969 Grindhouse spy thriller in which super-villain Sumuru/Sumitra (Shirley Eaton) has a foolproof plan to dominate the male species and the world with an army of superhuman women. Or so she thinks. With Richard Wyler, George Sanders. The restoration includes new audio commentary with film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth, interviews with director Franco, producer Harry Alan Towers and Eaton; additional scenes from the German version; a Trim Reel, and a poster and still gallery.
"Dancing in the Dust" (not rated, 1 hour, 40 minutes, On Demand Sept. 29) A poignant Iranian drama of sacrifice and redemption by Asghar Farhadi (his directing debut), released in 2003, concerns naive young Nazar pressured by his family into divorcing his new wife, Reyhaneh, after rumors circulate of her mother's possible prostitution. After insisting on paying back Reyhaneh's marriage dowry, he's soon on the run from creditors, hiding out in the desert where he meets a taciturn old snake hunter, who reluctantly allows Nazar to work with him to pay off his debts. With Faramarz Gharibian, Yousef Khodaparast, Baran Kosari. In Iranian with English subtitles.
"Suburra" (not rated, 2 hours, 10 minutes, Blu-ray, DVD) Based on events that occurred in 2011, this complex modern crime neo-noir, released in 2015, follows attempts to turn a small Mafia Capitale-owned town into the Las Vegas of Italy, complete with corruption, triple-crossing, blackmailing, and murder. With Pierfrancesco Favino, Claudio Amendola; written and directed by Stefano Sollima. DVD features include a making-of featurette, a two-hour documentary; a production gallery and a theatrical trailer. Subtitled.
"Were You Raised by Wolves?" (42-55-minute podcasts) Emmy Award-winning journalist Nick Leighton and comedian Leah Bonnema ("Late Show with Stephen Colbert") try to make the world a more polite place by offering entertaining, educational, practical and often comical advice on etiquette, manners and more to guide listeners through all sorts of situations. A recent episode explains the best ways to replace lost gloves, how to behave when arriving at parties too early, the rules regarding commandeering other people's dates, and much more. Other topics include living in dorm rooms, taking care of pets, and the correct use of toilet bowl brushes.
"Condition of Return" (not rated, 1 hour, 33 minutes, On Demand) Directed by Tommy Stovall from a script by John Spare, this slow-burning character study/crime triller tells the story of Eve Sulllivan (AnnaLynne McCord), a church-going teacher, whose apparent descent into darkness results in her being accused of a dreadful crime. Is she guilty? Is it a result of her troubling past? Much depends on the response of her psychoanalyst Dr. Donald Thomas (Dean Cain), who is tasked with determining her fitness to stand trial. With Natasha Henstridge, James Russo.