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click to enlarge The Odd Life of Timothy Green DVD

The Odd Life of Timothy Green (PG)

Walt Disney Co.

A quaintly literal-minded fairy tale constructed of syrup, cheese and just enough grown-up melancholy by a curious crew that includes delightfully oddball Peter Hedges (What's Eating Gilbert Grape?); scion of Invention, Ahmet Zappa; and John Toll (Cloud Atlas). If that assemblage suggests high quirk and deep passion, those expectations are set aside by Hedges' aggressively wholesome approach. Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner play a couple whose reproductive hopes have been dashed by science — but then lightning crashes and a boy springs from the Earth with leaves on his shins. Is it a cruel, supernatural prank or a teachable moment? Hedges and Zappa go wayward trying to be both. A tidy moral escapes this storybook, but like the Greens, the film is earnest enough about its emptiness to root for it anyway. — Justin Strout

click to enlarge Burning Man DVD

Burning Man (NR)

IFC Films

No, Burning Man is not a dreadlock-drenched flick set against the backdrop of the world's most pretentious music festival, but instead is an extremely gut-wrenching meditation on the death of your soul mate. Matthew Goode (Watchmen) gives it his emotional all as a chef who has no idea how to cope with his wife's death. He tries to use numerous sexual encounters as healing balm, and even self-inflicted harm and painful carelessness to feel anything other than this incredible grief from which there's no escape. All of this leads him down a darker road of anger and frustration, widening the gap between him and his 8-year-old son, as well as his successful restaurant and his employees. Told in a very disjointed, out-of-sequence way, Burning Man's narrative is hard to keep up with at first, but with patience, it's an ultimately rewarding, yet wholly heartbreaking, experience. — Louis Fowler

click to enlarge Inside John Lennon DVD

Inside John Lennon (NR)

Passport Video

A re-issue of 1993's Inside John Lennon: An Unauthorized Biography is, for the most part, a bottom-of-the-barrel affair for the fair-weather Beatles fan. Made up of public-domain footage, with recycled interviews and absolutely no Beatles music, it's very much the same Lennon story most of us have heard time and again. But(!) for Beatles completists, such as myself, it actually contains quite a few tidbits that tend to get skipped over in other docs, including John's sister Julia and her staunch defense of her mother (and indifference at the band's break-up), as well as a pretty defensive look at the rumors of homosexuality between Lennon and manager Brian Epstein. There are many better Lennon docs (The U.S. vs. John Lennon, Lennon NYC, for starters), but for the bargain basement price you can't get better than this primer. All you need is love ... and about $5, apparently. — Louis Fowler

  • The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Burning Man, Inside John Lennon

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