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click to enlarge Take This Waltz

Take This Waltz (R)

Magnolia Home Entertainment

Margot (Michelle Williams) and Lou (Seth Rogen) are five years into a marriage held together by proximity, humor, detached aggression and respect for each other's interests — or respect enough not to poke around their self-designated space. So when Margot's antennae for quirk zeroes in on Daniel (Luke Kirby), a harder-edged artist type about eight or nine sleazy moves ahead of Margot in her tired game of domestic boredom, part of you wants to believe her commitment to sturdy old Lou is strong enough. It's not, which is enough to churn the stomach — but it's also a necessarily painful and infuriating introduction to Polley's not-so-subtle yet still powerful visual essay on the subject. If Margot's capriciousness is shameful, the film dares the finger-wagging viewer to cast the first stone. — Justin Strout

click to enlarge Lawless

Lawless (R) (Blu-ray)

Anchor Bay Entertainment

There's so much to love about Lawless: Nick Cave's screenplay, John Hillcoat's direction and Guy Pearce's deviant performance. You'd think that would elevate Lawless so that flaws could be easily overlooked. However, there are too many flaws — mostly thanks to the stunt-casting of a bunch of kids, playing 1930s dress-up, in what amounts to a Prohibition-era wannabe Young Guns (minus the cocky excitement of that revisionist experiment). Shia LaBeouf is the pesky little brother to backwoods bootlegger Tom Hardy, whose brooding is really beginning to show him as a true one-trick pony. They take on the aforementioned Pearce and his anti-alcohol lawman lackeys, but just looking at them trying so hard to be "serious actors" is just too silly and vapid to accept the movie as anything truly genuine. — Louis Fowler

click to enlarge A Burning Hot Summer

A Burning Hot Summer (NR)

Sundance Selects

A Burning Hot Summer? Try a boring long movie. Another entry into the death of marital bliss sweepstakes that seems to be the indie de rigueur as of late, this French entry is about a couple who visit their married pals in Rome for the summer, only to have a front-row seat in watching the marriage crumble. Tensions rise, friendships are questioned, nudity is shown, and I fall asleep. We've seen the story told so many times, in so many better ways. Director Philippe Garrel doesn't even try to infuse anything new into this bitter sub-genre, instead relying on forced brooding and an admittedly great score by the Velvet Underground's John Cale. As someone who's recently divorced, I'd suggest you watch a movie like Blue Valentine to truly see what a fractured, ugly, dead marriage really is. — Louis Fowler

  • Take This Waltz, Lawless, A Burning Hot Summer

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