Scarecrow Suggests

July 12
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

The newest film by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul is like a bowl of gumbo. It has a little bit of this, a little of that; it’s layered and complicated and full of things you can’t quite put your finger on. Weerasethakul (who prefers to be called “Joe”) effortlessly constructs a lyrical tale about the last few days of a man who can literally recall his past lives. Sometimes they even show up for dinner. This cathartic, Palme-d’Or-winning, Buddhist film comes back to haunt you. PF 

July 12
Buster Keaton Short Films Collection: 1920-1923

This three-disc Blu-ray set is from Kino International, which has done more for Buster Keaton’s legacy on home video than anybody. If Kino’s restoration efforts for The General and Steamboat Bill, Jr. are any indication, many of these will look better than they have in almost a century. That’s terrific news, because while Keaton’s features are golden nuggets of silent comedy, these shorts are every bit as good, and there are more of them—19 in all on this set. Standouts include The Goat (my favorite), Cops, and One Week. The set also includes 15 visual essays and more all-new extras. MS

July 15
Rango

The first quarter of the film is fascinating and fun; after that, Rango’s primary fish-out-of-water Western storyline becomes the least interesting part of the film. Still, it looks better than 90 percent of computer animated films, thanks to Industrial Light and Magic. The Rango character is surprisingly charming and reminds me of Bugs Bunny via Chuck Jones—it’s probably Johnny Depp’s best performance in five years. Highly recommend to those who love Blu-ray; you’ll get your money’s worth. MP

July 19
Doctor Who: Series 6 Part 1

Matt Smith’s casting as the eleventh indoctrination of Doctor Who was extremely controversial. Not only was Smith, by far, the youngest person to portray the lead character in the long-running British Science Fiction TV series, he was also a fairly inexperienced and little-known actor. But Smith has proven to be a successful and popular choice, and this DVD collects the first seven episodes of his second season. Highlights include: a tense two-part cliffhanger series premier (featuring Richard Nixon and a sinister alien invasion) that was shot partly in the U.S., an adventure on a 17th century pirate ship, an intriguing episode written by Neil Gaiman and a visit to a clone-filled future. The Doctor Who series originally ran from 1963 to 1989 on the BBC and was revived in 2005 to worldwide acclaim. SH 

July 26
Source Code

It’s understandable if you saw Jake Gyllenhaal in the Source Code trailer and decided to pass. But this psychological sci-fi/mystery from Moon director Duncan Jones is not your standard mindless action fare. Gyllenhaal plays Coulter Stevens, a soldier whose last memory is crashing his helicopter somewhere in Afghanistan. He’s understandably disoriented when he wakes up on a Chicago-bound commuter train, sitting across from a chatty young woman (Michelle Monaghan) who keeps calling him “Sean.” After eight minutes of “What the heck is going on?!” the train explodes. Coulter wakes up in a small cockpit-like enclosure with a no-nonsense voice (Vera Farmiga) explaining he’s part of a military experiment: He’s been sent in to the past to find who planted the bomb. Over his many attempts to solve the crime, Coulter pushes the parameters of his mission as he becomes more curious about this new alternate reality, keeping him and the audience guessing about his fate. JK

Paige Fukuhara, Spenser Hoyt, Jen Koogler, Marc Palm, Mark Steiner, Staff at Scarecrow Video