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Taking aim at the best and worst of movies and television.

New on DVD: Sucker Punch, Barney's Version, Beastly

Posted 8:31am on Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2011

Sucker Punch

Set in a retro-futuristic universe, the story -- what there is of one -- involves young, naive Baby Doll (Emily Browning) being sent to a mental institution by her stepfather. She's due to be given a lobotomy but vows to escape first. If any of this were delivered with a sense of humor, as Quentin Tarantino did with Kill Bill, Sucker Punch might be more of an enjoyable thrill ride. But director Zack Snyder approaches it all with a tedious sense of importance and music-infused sequences that could be mistaken for MTV clips from the '90s.

Barney's Version stars Paul Giamatti as novelist Mordecai Richler's lovably self-destructive curmudgeon. Director Richard J. Lewis' film adaptation moves effortlessly between churlish hilarity and aching melancholy.

Beastly is a young-adult take on Beauty and the Beast, starring Alex Pettyfer as the chiseled, cursed hero. The movie is just as superficial and obsessed with looks as the characters and the mindset it rails against.

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