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This week: Something otherworldly is tormenting the poor Barretts in "Dark Skies," the sci-fi horror film starring Josh Hamilton, Keri Russell, Dakota Goyo and Kadan Rockett as a suburban family under siege by nasty alien visitors.
Also new this week is the 2010 Irish road-trip indie film "My Brothers" and the compelling drama "Lore" starring young Saskia Rosendahl as a German girl wandering post-WWII Europe with her siblings after their Nazi parents are interred by the Allies.
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Box Office: $17 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 34% Rotten
Storyline: Daniel (Josh Hamilton) and Lacy Barrett (Keri Russell) have a fairly ordinary life in the 'burbs with their two sons until some mysterious break-ins and disturbing activity — including blackouts, "Poltergeist"-like stacking of objects and sleepwalking — cause the family to suspect that something otherworldly is trying to get into their house. As the parents do research on alien abduction and try to protect their family from an unknown extraterrestrial threat, nosy neighbors suspect the parents might be loons and the only real danger for the children comes from within the house.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain alternate and deleted scenes as well as commentary with writer-director Scott Stewart, executive producer Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and editor Peter Gvozdas.
We Say: Although this movie comes from the producers of "Paranormal Activity," "Insidious" and "Sinister" (all of them superior works), think of "Dark Skies" more as "Close Encounters of the Derivative Kind." There are a few creepy moments as the family creeps wide-eyed through the house as dark and mysterious spindly figures lurk behind them, but no satisfying explanation is ever given as to why this is happening to "Felicity" and her family. Instead, all the usual stuff about alien abduction (implants, the Greys, etc.) is recycled from past movies. Did you know several versions of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" are available on one Blu-ray? Abduct a copy of that instead.
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Box Office: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes: No Score Yet ...
Storyline: Borrowing a beaten-up bread van, three young brothers (Timmy Creed, Paul Courtney and T.J. Griffin) set out on a journey across the wild Irish landscape during Halloween weekend in 1987 on a quest to replace their dying father's watch. As they grind gears and scream at each other en route to an arcade machine in Ballybunion, the trio takes a detour of self-discovery in this 2010 directorial debut of Paul Fraser.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray are bare-bones with no bonus features.
We Say: Loaded with symbolism (the brothers' road trip itself is about life's journey toward independence from one's parents), this copper-hued coming-of-age flick will connect with the art house crowd thanks to the convincingly natural performances by the three leads. In-between all the flatulence jokes and brotherly bonding, though, there may be more subtext than actual story.
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Box Office: $903,802
Rotten Tomatoes: 93% Fresh
Storyline: Saskia Rosendahl stars as the 14-year-old titular character who, along with her four destitute siblings, trek 900 kilometers across a post-WWII Germany to reunite with their grandmother after the children's Nazi parents are interred by the victorious Allies. Along the way they meet a Jewish concentration camp survivor named Thomas (Kai Malina) who becomes the group's unlikely protector.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain "The Making of 'Lore,'" "Memories of a German Girl," an alternate ending, deleted scenes, "Reel Talk" panel discussion and the theatrical trailer.
We Say: Everything Lore has learned about Germany, Nazis, Hitler and the Jews is wrong, so when she sets across Germany with her siblings and gets help from a Jewish boy, it's like she's on an alien world and everything is unusual and exhilarating, if not a little frightening — just like director Cate Shortland's critically acclaimed slow-burn drama itself.
Also New This Week:
"The Loving Story"
"A Good Day to Die"
"Simply Irresistible" Blu-ray
"Dying Young" Blu-ray
"Jumpin' Jack Flash" Blu-ray
"My Super Ex-Girlfriend" Blu-ray