“Insidious: Chapter 2” (PG-13, 90 minutes, Sony): When we last left the Lamberts in “Insidious,” eldest son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) had awakened from his comalike trance thanks to a rescue mission by his intrepid father. Like a paranormal Navy SEAL, Daddy (Patrick Wilson) had metaphorically rappelled, under hypnosis, into the spirit realm, where his son was being held captive. “Insidious: Chapter 2” picks up there. Where do you go with a tale that ended so over the top, in a fog-shrouded netherworld called “The Further”? Apparently, even further. Director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell, who collaborated on the 2004 “Saw,” have made a name for themselves as horror auteurs. Here, they try to outdo what they did in “Insidious,” piling on plot twists borrowed from a host of other movies that, while in some cases are genuinely creepy, turn “Chapter 2” into an overly busy mess. “Poltergeist” seems to be the model for both “Insidious” films, which presuppose a parallel universe beyond the physical one, inhabited by malevolent entities who can drift in and out of our world, and into whose world some of us can also enter, willingly or not. “Insidious: Chapter 2” features a visit to the Further by someone tied to – I kid you not – a piece of string. Contains frightening sequences, violence and brief crude language.
“Don Jon” (R, 90 minutes, Fox): Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in his feature-length writing and directorial debut, stars as Jon, a New Jersey bartender who has no trouble bedding ladies but prefers pornography. This disarming film proves Gordon-Levitt’s deftness both behind the camera and in front of a computer screen, writing, and gives Scarlett Johansson a star turn as Jon’s foil Barbara. The movie starts as a raunch-fest, reveling in crass language and frank discussions about the relative merits of computer-generated ecstasy over the old-fashioned kind. But somewhere along the way, the comedy seamlessly morphs into an incisive satire and, finally, an extremely affecting story about the value of intimacy between two real people - not actors, not avatars. Tony Danza and Glenne Headly are wonderful as Jon’s loud, sports-obsessed father and his oppressive mother who yearns to be a grandma. Contains strong graphic sexual material and dialogue throughout, nudity, strong language and drug use. Extras include HitRECord shorts “My Favorite Things: Request Video,” “My Favorite Things Remix: Film Preservation,” “Love of Objects” and “Vinegar.” Also, on Blu-ray: a making-of and other featurettes.
Also: “Freedom Force” (animated sci-fi adventure), “Love, Marilyn” (HBO documentary), “Sweetwater,” “Sanitarium,” “Shaolin Warrior” (2011, China), “Ritual,” “Zombie Hamlet” and “Cassadaga.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee