Suthep Po-ngam in “The Rocket”
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Gimme Shelter” (PG-13) — A tattooed teen named Apple (Vanessa Hudgens) runs away from her abusive addict mother (Rosario Dawson), and finds a new set of hardships ahead of her. Apple — shaken, unwashed, starving and pregnant — finds her father (Brendan Fraser) in an affluent New Jersey suburb. Eventually, she finds her way into a shelter for pregnant teens and forms real human connections.
While based on true events, the story is told in stilted, cliched lines that sound like they could only be put together from scraps of old PSAs. This isn’t to discredit the performances. Hudgens has never been further from her peppy Disney Channel image.
“Gloria” (R) — Single and over 50, Gloria leads a fulfilling life outside of her office job. She’s into yoga, self-improvement classes and keeping up with her adult children. The audience first sees her moving confidently through a nightclub, dancing and checking out other singles. Gloria’s life turns a corner when she meets Rodolfo, a slightly older man who helps Gloria embrace her passion for life.
This Chilean import strikes a fine balance between laughter and drama. Gloria isn’t a wacky older dame, nor is she a sad story about life’s later years. She’s a three-dimensional person at a point where she wants love in her life, but she’s strong enough to not fall apart without it.
“The Rocket” (Unrated) — Ahlo is a 10-year-old Laotian boy who must be bad luck. He was born a twin, but his brother did not survive — an ill omen, as superstition says that one twin will be cursed and the other blessed. One day, Ahlo’s village receives news that they have to leave their land because it will be flooded to make the reservoir for a new dam. Of course, people are quick to blame such misfortune on Ahlo once they find out he’s a twin. The boy decides he’s going to re-write his fate — he’s going to enter a rocket-building contest and win. “The Rocket” tells a unique, transporting and uplifting story.
“The Selfish Giant” (Unrated) — Best pals and partners in crime, Arbor and Swifty are perpetually in trouble at home and at school. Both are adolescents living in a bleak and recessed British town brimming with abandoned lots and rusty metal. Arbor is the wilier one who gets Swifty to ditch school. The boys start getting paid by a local scumbag for bringing in stolen scrap metal and wires with their horse carriage. From the beginning, you can see tragedy stalking the pair.
“Masterpiece: Mr. Selfridge Season 2”
“Hill Street Blues: The Complete Series”
“Francis the Talking Mule Complete Collection”
“Dynasty: Season 8, Vol. 1 & 2 (2-Pack) ”
“Father Brown: The Complete Collection”
“Bob Hope Classic Comedy Collection”
© 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.