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DVDs In Brief: September 12, 2012 


DVD round-up

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The summer’s second dark, lavish big-screen Snow White retelling, Snow White And The Huntsman (Universal) was much more financially successful than its predecessor, Mirror, Mirror, but narratively, it’s a snooze, a collection of stolen ideas and images scattered over unresolved plot threads that suggest a much more interesting film left either on the cutting-room floor or in the screenwriter’s frustrated imagination…

Ever since Love, Actually rolled several romantic comedies into one, Hollywood stars have happily logged a few days’ work in rom-coms like Valentine’s Day and He’s Just Not That Into You, but thinned-out storylines are the last thing the genre needs. Based on the scaremongering pregnancy book—and faithful to the extent that it covers a range of parenting crises—What To Expect When You’re Expecting (Lionsgate) brings a series of interconnected birthing stories to a big, obnoxious crescendo in the maternity ward…

Girl In Progress (Lionsgate) is a little too clever for its own good, a meta coming-of-age film about the precocious teen daughter (Cierra Ramirez) of a struggling single mother (Eva Mendes) who hears about the classic coming-of-age paradigm from a well-meaning teacher (Patricia Arquette) and decides to kick-start her maturity by embracing her inner bad girl. Girl In Progress consequently doubles as both a convoluted postmodern meditation on the coming-of-age movie and an unfortunately undistinguished variation on the same… 

Lebanon’s top-grossing Arabic-language film and Best Foreign Language Oscar entry Where Do We Go Now? (Sony) lies somewhere between satire and fairy tale, as it tracks a group of women using chicanery and outsized schemes keep the peace between the men of their half-Christian, half-Muslim small town. It’s occasionally hilarious and occasionally agonizing, but either way, it’s a smart, strikingly original film…

Mexico’s Cristero War between a Mexican government intent on repressing Catholic religious freedoms and righteous resistance fighters is dramatized in For Greater Glory (Arc), a melodrama that casts an elfin, scenery-chewing Peter O’Toole as a martyred priest and Andy Garcia as a secular general who agrees to fight on behalf of oppressed Catholics like his beloved wife. The histrionic, overheated war drama is based on a true story, but it nevertheless feels unmistakably like vulgar, lurid pulp fiction.