An 11-year-old girl (Flora Cross in her film debut) becomes a spelling-bee champion, attracting the attention of her disinterested father (Richard Gere) in this diffuse adaptation of Myla Goldberg’s novel from directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel ( Suture, The Deep End). Extras include three featurettes, six deleted scenes, and two commentary tracks, including one with the directorial team.
The President’s Last Bang
Included in last fall’s New York Film Festival, Im Sang-soo’s latest film is a farcical rendering of the events leading up to the 1979 assassination of South Korean president Park Chung-hee. Those unfamiliar with the history in question may have difficulty keeping up. The disc includes an interview with the director.
One of the better-crafted films to emerge from the recent wave of brutally violent shockers that have come to dominate the non-PG-13 horror landscape, the Australian Wolf Creek follows a trio of young backpackers who unknowingly get involved with deranged serial killer Mick (John Jarratt, named in homage to Crocodile Dundee). Writer-director Greg McLean does a terrific job evoking the vastness of the Outback, and the scenes of suspense and gore are skillfully rendered, but the sociological subtext is underdeveloped (particularly in comparison with the film’s obvious model, Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and the torture and mutilation that dominate the second half, nearly all directed against women, come to seem pointlessly cruel.