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New on DVD: ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,’ ‘Magic Mike’

By Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee –

Stories about the end of the world, lacrosse, vampires and strippers hit DVD this week.

“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” Grade B: Two very different people find each other during the last three weeks of life on Earth.

The first few moments of this film suggest this Earth-ending story is going to be a dark look at humanity when the entire population knows there’s only three weeks left to live. Then the script by director Lorene Scafaria settles into a sweeter tone that shifts this from a foreboding tale of death and destruction to a sweet — albeit short — love story.

—“Crooked Arrows,” Grade B-minus: The film wants to do for lacrosse what “Invictus” did for rugby. It’s based on the true story of a struggling team of Native American high school students. Losing has brought great shame on the community because the tribe considers lacrosse a gift from the Great Creator.

Screenwriters Brad Riddell and Todd Baird do a paint-by-numbers telling of the story. Director Steve Rash tries to get believable performances out of a group of mostly amateur actors. Because he cast real lacrosse players, they look good on the field, but they need a lot of coaching when it comes to delivering dialogue.

—“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” Grade B-minus: If you can get past the absurdity that the 16th President divided his time between the White House and killing vampires, this is pure entertainment. Benjamin Walker does a good job of playing Lincoln, a man who learned to split logs so he could kill vampires better.

A lot of the movie looks like an episode of old TV series “The Wild, Wild West,” but when it comes to escapist material, this one’s a winner.

—“Magic Mike,” Grade C: A young man is taught the ropes by veteran dancers.

First-time screenwriter Reid Carolin loads “Magic Mike” with clichés, including a conniving dance club boss and a down-and-out stripping virgin (Alex Pettyfer) who goes from innocent to sinner in less time than it takes to pull off a pair of breakaway pants. There aren’t enough original ideas to fill a G-string.

All this talk about sloppy writing is really a moot point, though. The movie is to filmmaking what stripping is to the dance world — a guilty pleasure that shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

———

Also new on DVD Oct. 23:

“Disney Fairies: Secret of the Wings”: Tinker Bell travels to the Winter Woods.

“Upstairs Downstairs: Season Two”: Alex Kingston stars in the series set in 1938.

“Peter Gunn: The Complete Series”: Includes 114 episodes of the crime drama. Craig Stevens stars.

“Law & Order: Criminal Intent — Season 8”: Vincent D’Onofrio stars in the crime drama.

“Lost Girl: The Complete First Season”: Anna Silk’s fantasy series.

“Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection”: Madea offers witness protection.

“The Fugitive” The Most Wanted Edition”: Includes all four seasons.

“Gabe the Cupid Dog”: A dog tries to help his owner find love.

“Disasters Deconstructed”: Look at major cataclysmic events.

“The Ernie Kovacs Collection Volume 2: Includes eight episodes of Kovacs’ morning show.

“Rules of Engagement: The Complete Sixth Season”: Megyn Price stars.

“Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines”: Killer hillbillies return.

“Beauty”: Portrait of a man’s inner demons.

“247°F”: Four friends are trapped in a killer car.

“Happy Endings: The Complete Second Season”: Elisha Cuthbert stars in the TV comedy.

“Fantasy Island: The Complete Third Season”: Vacationers find paradise and themselves.

“Star Wars The Clone Wars: The Complete Season”: Animated adventures in a galaxy far, far away.

“Take This Waltz”: A look at adult relationships.

“Blade Runner”: Blu-ray version released to mark 30th anniversary.

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