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New on DVD: 'The Book of Eli' and more

Posted 10:21am on Wednesday, Jun. 16, 2010

The Book of Eli

A meteorite and a subsequent war 30 years earlier have scorched the Earth and the population. Bandits (albeit cannibalizing bandits) lurk the desert roads, while rough crowds take refuge in hardscrabble towns. Across this charred land strides our Christian cowboy, Eli (Denzel Washington), a mysterious, solitary man who carries the last remaining Bible in his backpack. He also carries a gleaming silver knife and a shotgun, both of which he uses expertly. Post-apocalyptic tales are all the rage these days, and it's easy to see the imprint of Cormac McCarthy's far more deeply felt The Road -- just recently adapted with disappointing results -- on Eli. What breathes life into The Book of Eli is the performances, most notably by Washington and Gary Oldman, a villainous man who presides over the town Eli wanders into.

Youth in Revolt serves up our favorite sweet pushover, Michael Cera ( Juno), as Nick Twisp, virginal twerp, in love-lust with brazen, confident Sheeni (Portia Doubleday). Director Miguel Arteta ( Chuck and Buck) captures Sheeni's inscrutable smile, Nick's clumsy obsession and the daft eccentrics (Fred Willard, Justin Long) whose paths Nick crosses.

Happy Tears stars Parker Posey and Demi Moore as sisters caring for their father, Joe (Rip Torn). The rapport between Posey and Moore is pleasurable and convincing, but the film grows more conventional and less involving as it unfolds.

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