Movie News & Reviews

This week’s DVDs: ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2,’ ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’

“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (PG-13, 142 minutes, Sony): This sequel is a strenuously chipper but nonetheless saggy, baggy and mostly ho-hum addition to the Spider-Man canon. What was once its greatest strength – its casting – is on the verge of becoming its biggest liability. Whereas the chief pleasure of the first “Amazing Spider-Man” was the cuddly chemistry between Peter Parker (played by Andrew Garfield) and his girlfriend Gwen (Emma Stone), here they generate fewer sparks than questions. Namely: how a 30-year-old and 25-year-old (respectively), despite their proven and prodigious talents, can be expected to play recent high school graduates with any degree of credibility? Contains sequences of sci-fi action and violence. Extras include commentary from director Marc Webb, deleted scenes and Alicia Keys’ “It’s On Again” music video. Also, on Blu-ray: a six-part, behind-the-scenes making-of documentary and nine additional deleted scenes (including “Peter Meets His Father”). 3-D version also available.

“Only Lovers Left Alive” (R, 113 minutes, Sony): As unlikely as it sounds in the era of “Twilight” and its defanged imitators, Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive” proves there are still new sights and sounds and meanings to be derived from the conceit of characters who rarely sleep, never die and feast on the blood of others. In the hands of the godfather of late 20th-century American independent cinema, the sensory pleasures are extravagant, the approach both wry and profound, and the greater meaning well worth searching for, even within a tired, overworked genre. Strong cast includes Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston (“The Avengers”), Mia Wasikowska and Jeffrey Wright. Contains obscenity and brief nudity. Extras include a “Traveling at Night With Jim Jarmusch” featurette, deleted and extended scenes, and Yasmine Hamdan “Hal” music video.

“The Quiet Ones” (PG-13, 97 minutes, Lionsgate): That this is a cut above the average horror film is thanks mainly to its pedigree as a Hammer Films production. The venerable British studio, known for churning out a steady stream of campy-but-fun monster movies in the 1950s and 1960s – and, more recently, the decent “The Woman in Black” and “Let Me In” – imbues this 1970s-set tale of paranormal experimentation with a modicum of class and polish. But the story (by Craig Rosenberg, Oren Moverman and director John Pogue) and the strong cast make for an experience that is both relatable and genuinely frightening. Contains brief obscenity, smoking and violent and scary images. Extras include commentary with Pogue and producer Tobin Armbrust, deleted scenes, gag reel. Also, on Blu-ray: a making-of documentary and “Manifesting Evil: Visual Effects” featurette.

Also: “A Brony Tale” (documentary on the phenomenon of young men who are fans of the “My Little Pony” cartoon series aimed at girls, Virgil Entertainment), “Home Is Where the Heart Is” (originally released as “Watercolor Postcards”); “The Empty Hours” (Spain), “Adventure Planet” (animated family fare featuring voices by Jane Lynch, Brooke Shields and Drake Bell), “A Good Man” (with Steven Seagal), “Silent Mountain,” “The Sacrament,” “Ace Wonder” (mystery featuring a 10-year-old detective), “That’s My Man,” “Jarhead 2: Field of Fire,” “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” (1990, Pedro Almodóvar classic, The Criterion Collection), and “Y Tu Mama Tambien” (2001, Alfonso Cuaroón comedy, The Criterion Collection).