Fast Scans | August 15, 2013

Come Out and Play. color. 86+ min. In English & Spanish w/English subtitles. Flatiron Film, dist. by New Video. 2013. DVD UPC 767685288689. $26.99; Blu-ray UPC 767685288696. $29.99.

Day-tripping on an island just off the coast of Mexico, a vacationing couple (Vinessa Shaw, Ebon Moss-Bachrach) find a serene locale inhabited by kids but oddly short of adults. After witnessing the brutal beating of an old man by a giggling girl, the pair realize that hell best describes this little slice of paradise. A remake of Who Can Kill a Child? (1976), this promising film debut by the pseudonymous Makinov provides an upgrade over the obscure original. Taut, slick, and atmospheric, it’s a creepy shocker. For horror buffs.

The Men. b/w. 87 min. Olive Films. 1950. DVD UPC 887090061704. $19.99; Blu-ray UPC 887090061803. $26.99.

Crippled by a sniper’s bullet, Lt. Bud Wilozek (Marlon Brando) wallows in bitterness and self-pity in the paraplegic ward of a veterans’ hospital. Eventually buoyed by his blunt doc (Everett Sloane) and always upbeat fiancée (Teresa Wright), Bud appears poised to accept his life. Produced by Stanley Kramer (Home of the Brave) and directed by Fred Zinnemann (High Noon), this socially aware drama deals with a touchy subject with surprising candor for its era and showcases Brando’s gutsy screen debut for the actor’s many fans.

Supporting Characters. color. 87+ min. Tribeca Films, dist. by New Video. 2012. DVD 767685291092. $26.95.

Best friends and coeditors working to “fix” a poorly previewed indie film for a testy director, Nick (Alex Karpovsky, HBO’s Girls) and Darryl (cowriter Tarik Lowe) are also trying to salvage romances with, respectively, a steady but overly demanding partner and a volatile dancer with an attitude. Daniel Schechter’s slyly knowing but unpretentious rom-com pokes fun at the film business and modern love with the offhanded tack of “mumblecore” (extremely low-budget) pictures but should appeal to a bit wider audience than other genre entries.

Things To Come. b/w. 97+ min. Criterion Collection. 1936. DVD ISBN 9781604657357. $29.95; Blu-ray ISBN 9781604657340. $39.95.

Master sf writer H.G. Wells collaborated closely with director William Cameron Menzies in adapting his novel The Shape of Things To Come (1933), a century-spanning speculative history of mankind starting with a long war, followed by an epidemic, and ending with a utopian world order. Raymond Massey stars as freethinker John Cabal and, later, his visionary descendant Oswald, who steadfastly opposes reactionary forces pitted against progress. The polemics are heavy-handed, but the production design is amazing. Not just for sf fans.

Wild Strawberries. b/w. 92+ min. In Swedish w/English subtitles. Criterion Collection. 1957. Blu-ray ISBN 9781604657333. $39.95.

Veteran silent-film director Victor Sjöström (The Phantom Carriage) gives a moving performance as a crusty professor who ends up taking a journey of self-discovery on a road trip to receive an honorary degree. Hailed as one of Ingmar Bergman’s best films, this richly symbolic work explores the somber Swede’s usual themes—regret, guilt, disillusionment, etc.—through dreamy flashbacks, culminating in a transcendent ending. Given a welcome high-def release, Strawberries is ripe for picking. Bergman aficionados will dig in.