Keri Russell stars in "Dark Skies."
Updated: July 1, 2013 6:27AM
NEW THIS WEEK
PG-13 for violence, terror throughout, sexual material, drug content and language — all involving teens
Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, J.K. Simmons
There’s nothing scary going on in “Dark Skies” that you haven’t seen before in superior shockers, ranging from “The Birds,” to “Poltergeist” to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” to “Paranormal Activity.” It helps, though, that this alien-abduction thriller takes itself seriously enough to provide occasional ominous moments and even some climactic full-on scariness after meandering for nearly an hour. Russell and Hamilton star as stressed suburban parents whose anxieties about unemployment and impending foreclosure start to seem like small stuff after a weird alien sculpture shows up in their kitchen, swarms of birds dive-bomb their house and an unwelcome interplanetary visitor starts messing with their kids.
LIFE IS SWEET
R for language and a scene of sensuality
Jim Broadbent, Alison Steadman, Claire Skinner, Jane Horrocks
This early masterpiece from English director Mike Leigh (“Vera Drake”) is a sublime little comedy that’s short on plot but long on honest emotion. Largely based on improvisations with the splendid cast, “Life is Sweet” is basically a couple of days in the life of a lower-middle class London family including a strong, cheerful mom (Steadman), a likeable, weak-willed dad (Broadbent) and their polar-opposite, young-adult twin daughters, happy and well-adjusted Natalie (Skinner) and dark, contemptuous Nicola (Horrocks). On the surface, the main order of business appears to be dad’s foolish acquisition of a broken-down lunch wagon with a drunken friend, but the true matter of concern is the revelation of how deep Nicola’s dark feelings run — and the ultimate requirement of a radical intervention. This one’s something special. Extras include commentary by Leigh.
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