Flick Picks 6/26/2015: Run All Night, Zero Motivation, The Duff

Poor Liam Neeson  Always having to exact revenge on one villain or another.  Never a moment's rest.  And now he's made to run all night.  The poor man could use a vacation.  In addition to Mr. Neeson's latest travails, we have dispatches from that even more daunting battlefield - high school. This in the form of the likable teen comedy, The Duff.  If this classic summer fare offers less substance than you're looking for, consider a couple of excellent foreign films, Timbuktu and Zero Motivation.     
 



Feature Films



RUN ALL NIGHT

So, yes.  The big guy is running away this time instead of pursuing the bad guys.  In a plot reminiscent of Road to Perdition, Liam Neeson plays Jimmy Conlong, a.k.a, The Gravedigger, a mob hit-man on the run with his estranged son, trying to outwit an assassin hired by his former boss and friend.  

 




THE DUFF

Bianca is trying to navigate her senior year of high school.  She reluctantly attends a party only to find out that's she been invited as a "DUFF" - Designated, Ugly Fat Friend.  Never mind that Bianca is really neither of these things  Will Bianca find happiness and acceptance?  Aren't we really all "DUFF's" in our way?  Watch, find out and ponder.  We have The Duff in both Blu-ray and regular DVD.    

 




Foreign Film




The most successful Israeli film of 2014, Zero Motivation follows the lives of a group of young women performing their required military service at a remote base.  The dreariness of their administrative work is alleviated by extended sessions of Minesweeper, dreaming of transfer to Tel Aviv and occasionally brandishing staple guns like automatic weapons.  A black comedy that deftly balances its lighter and more serious moments, Zero Motivation is the impressive first feature by Talya Lavie (Best Director winner at the Ophir Awards, the Israeli Oscars).  
 
 


TIMBUKTU

Almost universally praised and nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the 2015 Academy Awards, Timbuktu is based on the 2012 occupation of the Malian city (Timbuktu) by Islamists. Despite the weighty subject matter, this protest film has been described by critics as graceful, poetic, even witty.  

 



Series



RIPPER STREET, SEASON THREE

 
It's now 1894 in the season three of the British series which began six months after the Jack the Ripper murders in London's Whitechapel neighborhood.  Many of the series principal characters are reunited by a train accident in the beleaguered district of the city as the third season begins.   
 




Flick Picks will be on hiatus next week, but will return with lots of new DVD news on July 10.



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