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story.lead_photo.caption The Rider DVD

The Rider,

directed by Chloe Zhao

(R, 1 hour, 44 minutes)

The Rider is the sort of film that completely absorbs viewers' attention, to the point that when the credits roll, it takes a moment to collect oneself, gather up belongings, and stumble out of the theater while trying to refocus thoughts on the world that exists outside the grassy South Dakota plains of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where an outstanding young rodeo rider must face a future in which he can no longer compete.

Played with understated poignancy by Brady Jandreau in this spare, unsentimental and elegant contemporary Western, soft-spoken and self-contained Brady who, while in his early 20s, struggles to regain control of his fate and discover a new identity after a brutal riding accident forces him away from his cherished life as a cowboy.

Based on a true story.

With Tim Jandreau (as Brady's heavy-drinking dad), Lilly Jandreau (as Brady's 15-year-old sister, who has Asperger's syndrome), Lane Scott (as a former bull rider left paralyzed after a riding accident), Cat Clifford.

Book Club (PG-13, 1 hour, 44 minutes) A breezy, lightweight and ultimately forgettable romantic comedy that can thank its skilled and stellar cast for reeling in an audience. Four attractive, affluent older women (Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda) find their attitudes and approaches to relationships changing when their book club decides to read Fifty Shades of Grey. With Craig T. Nelson, Don Johnson, Richard Dreyfuss, Andy Garcia, Alicia Silverstone; directed by Bill Holderman.

Life of the Party (PG-13, 1 hour, 45 minutes) Even reliably funny Melissa McCarthy, who co-wrote the script here, can't turn this comedy into anything other than a generic story that doesn't have anything original to offer. When her husband abandons their marriage, a housewife (McCarthy) decides to change her life and go back to college, where she ends up in the same university as her daughter, who's none too pleased to find her there. With Gillian Jacobs, Maya Rudolph, Julie Bowen, Debby Ryan; directed by Ben Falcone.

Pickings (R, 1 hour, 43 minutes) This spirited if uneven crime adventure -- the directing debut of multitalented Usher Morgan (who also wrote, edited, and produced) -- concerns a bad-tempered criminal and his devoted gang of thugs who think they've discovered a neighborhood bar in Michigan that will be an easy target for a shakedown. That's before they rile up the owner, tough-as-nails Jo Lee-Haywood (Elyse Price), a Southerner with a volatile past. With Lynne Jordan, Katie Vincent. The Blu-ray includes deleted scenes, a DVD commentary, humorous short clips and a look into the making of the film.

Breaking In (PG-13, 1 hour, 28 minutes) A lack of suspense mars this home-invasion actioner in which a determined mother (Gabrielle Union) refuses to give up in a desperate effort to free her two children who are being held hostage in a house that supposedly has iron-clad security. With Billy Burke, Levi Meaden, Jason George; directed by James McTeigue.

On Chesil Beach (R, 1 hour, 50 minutes) Awkward and too minor-keyed to stir much of a response from viewers, this is the stiffly constructed story of an unlikely couple -- she's a musician, he's a graduate student in history -- having a storybook courtship that leads to a wedding and a disastrous honeymoon that disallows any path toward physical intimacy. With Saoirse Ronan, Samuel West, Emily Watson, Billy Howle, Anne-Marie Duff; directed by Dominic Cook with screenplay by Ian McEwan (based on his best-selling novel).

Lowlife (not rated, 1 hour, 36 minutes) A zany, sometimes mean-spirited, and ultimately dark comedy in which a Los Angeles criminal gets mixed up with three losers (an unsuccessful Mexican wrestler, a face-tattooed ex-con, and a recovering junkie who needs a new kidney) in an absurdly ridiculous organ-harvesting scheme. With Nicki Micheaux, Jon Oswald, Santana Dempsey; directed by Ryan Prows.

Transporter 3 (PG-13, 1 hour, 44 minutes) Flashy, fast, action-packed and unlikely to win any awards for clever screenwriting, the latest Transporter entry follows Frank Martin (Jason Statham) as he takes on -- what else? -- a dangerous mission involving taking the kidnapped daughter of the head of a Ukrainian environmental agency from Marseilles to Odessa. What could go wrong? With Natalya Rudakova, Francois Berleand, Robert Knepper. Bonus features include audio commentary with director Olivier Megaton, two making-of featurettes, story boards, visual effects, and information on the sets.

MovieStyle on 08/10/2018

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