New movies on home video platforms this week include a French melodrama, an offbeat sci-fi romance, and a pair of children's films about, respectively, a rock 'n' roll mutt and a friendly mermaid.
(Sundance Selects, 2016, PG-13, in French with English subtitles). The luminous Isabelle Huppert, who was nominated for an Oscar earlier this year for "Elle," stars in this midlife-crisis melodrama as a woman busily attending to the demands of her career as a philosophy teacher and the needs of her aged, ailing mother, as well as her own family. She's shocked when her husband announces that, after 25 years, he's leaving her for another woman, and the film follows her efforts to adjust to this new, unexpected and unwanted freedom — unwanted, that is, until she has a taste of it. This deliberately paced "art film" is rich and fulfilling for patient movie lovers, the kind of picture we seldom see these days, even from France.
(Universal, 2017, PG-13, deleted scenes/alternate ending, audio commentary, featurette). Initially charming but increasingly annoying, this coming-of-age flick is about a 16-year-old (Asa Butterfield) born and raised on Mars. He finagles a visit to Earth so a girl (Britt Robertson) he's been chatting with online can help him find his father. Naturally, because this is Hollywood, sex also enters the equation. Carla Gugino and Gary Oldman co-star.
(Summit, 2017, PG, featurettes, music video). This Chinese-produced, English-language animated feature is about a Tibetan sheepdog (voiced by Luke Wilson) that would rather become a rock musician than herd sheep. Other voices include J.K. Simmons, Eddie Izzard, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Sam Elliott and Matt Dillon.
(Lionsgate, 2017, G, featurettes, trailer). Young Ryan (Caitlin Carmichael) is still grieving for her late mother when her father (Jerry O'Connell) uproots them to move near his dotty father (Barry Bostwick) in a small fishing village. There, Ryan meets a mermaid named Coral (Sydney Scotia) and they become fast friends.
(Paramount, 2017, PG-13, featurettes, bloopers). Vin Diesel returns for another entry in his other action franchise, the one without the words "Fast" or "Furious" in the title. He plays an off-the-grid former spy pulled back into service when a CIA device that controls lethal satellites is stolen. And there are plenty of physics-defying stunts and a complete lack of logic, just like that other franchise. Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa, Samuel L. Jackson, Toni Collette and Ice Cube co-star.
(Indiepix, 2017, not rated/probable PG-13, in English and in Spanish with English subtitles). A young working-class Puerto Rican woman in Spanish Harlem yearns to be a writer and find a better life. But she lacks the confidence to do so, until she's inspired by her own heritage after learning about the Puerto Rican human rights group called the Young Lords. (After making the film festival rounds, this one debuted on the HBO Latino cable/satellite channel.)
(Monarch, 2017, PG-13). After eight seasons on the TV sitcom "The Middle," Eden Sher's character is now in college. But here, the actress is back in high school, organizing a bunch of nerds to stand up to bullies. Sher is 25 now, but she's still a convincing high schooler, and she's also a bright spot in this well-acted but surprisingly crude throwback to "Mean Girls," or perhaps "Revenge of the Nerds."
(Sony, 2017, R for violence, featurettes). Milla Jovovich returns for this sixth and allegedly last installment of the zombie-apocalypse franchise (based on a video game), which picks up directly from the previous film, "Resident Evil: Retribution." Here, Jovovich and friends return to the Hive in Raccoon City to battle forces of the evil Umbrella Corporation. I know, even that description is ridiculous.