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The River Why (PG-13)

Image Entertainment

Based on an "acclaimed novel" that I pray I never have to read, this is a 104-minute masturbation session based completely on fishing. Oh, and it's filled with irredeemably quirky characters. Imagine if John Irving wrote a book about fishing and they made a movie out of it; The River Why would be the rip-off of that movie. Fishing-obsessed Gus (Zach Gilford) runs away from home because his father and mother — a fey British writer obsessed with fly-fishing (William Hurt) and a two-fisted redneck obsessed with bait-fishing (Kathleen Quinlan), respectively — fight nonstop about what style of fishing is better. He moves to a remote cabin and fishes, fishes, fishes, occasionally making time to romance the sheet of wallpaper that is Amber Heard. If you find Bass Pro Shops erotic, this is for you. Everyone else? Just order off the Long John Silver's dollar menu. — Louis Fowler

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Atlas Shrugged: Part One (PG-13)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Ayn Rand has been blessed with a resurgence, mostly thanks to conservatives who have taken to her book Atlas Shrugged as a second Bible of sorts. Are they reading it? Probably not, but Glenn Beck has regurgitated enough to where they don't need to. As someone who struggled through it in high school, it's boring and excessive and in no way suited for film. But that didn't stop them. This cinematic adaptation is great to look at and well-acted, but nothing really happens. It reminds me a lot of The Phantom Menace, the first film in a franchise, but one that's basically nonstop talking, in this case about economic plans and railroad problems and man's will to succeed. There's no real action, just lots of setup. And lots of trains. Do I want to see Part Two? Yeah, but honestly, Part One isn't all that necessary. I'm sure they'll recap it for you in the sequel, anyway. — Louis Fowler

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The Rules of the Game (NR) (Blu-ray)

The Criterion Collection

There's a certain breed of film critic who, "honor bound" by his or her position to pontificate on the likes of Monte Carlo and The Human Centipede, sees every new movie and little else. It's in this absence of context and perspective that barely above-the-mean trifles like Bridesmaids are sanctified as game-changing insta-classics. It should only take one viewing of Jean Renoir's 1939 masterpiece about bourgeois farce and moral relativism at the dawn of World War II for sensible critics to remember that film is an art form for mass consumption and not a 3-D poster board for car and laptop ads. Failing that, one could bludgeon them with this Criterion release, as it's a hearty two-disc set brimming with extra features. Among them is a "version comparison" pitting Renoir's compromised 81-minute version side-by-side against his reconstructed 106-minute original. — Daniel Barnes

  • The River Why, Atlas Shrugged: Part One, The Rules of the Game

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