Capsule reviews, by Standard-Examiner movie critic Steve Salles, of DVD releases coming out Tuesday, Aug. 21, unless otherwise indicated:
BERNIE *** 1/2 (PG-13) Some violent images and brief strong language. Jack Black channels his inner Cam (from "Modern Family") to play this meticulous funeral director who is beloved by his entire East Texas community. He is so loved, that even after he confesses to a deed most foul, no one wants to convict him. This is a highly enjoyable dark comedy that features Black in one of his best roles in recent memory. 104 minutes.
A SEPARATION *** 1/2 (PG-13) Mature thematic material. In Persian with subtitles. An Iranian couple, struggling between the duty to care for an aging relative and offering their child a better life, find themselves in tremendous difficulty, dealing with a moment of anger that will alter their lives forever. It's definitely worth seeing. 123 minutes.
CHIMPANZEE *** (G) The highs and lows of African chimp life are beautifully captured in this latest Disneynature documentary. Tim Allen narrates events with his homespun comedic style, but when things turn dark, he gets a little too carried away. Yet, it's still an amazing piece of filmmaking. 78 minutes.
THE DICTATOR *** (R) Strong crude and sexual content, brief male nudity, language and some violent images. Sacha Baron Cohen plays a spoiled North African dictator who is forced to work with the common man in New York City to get his power back. He'll do and say many terrible things along the way, but it's all to serve the almighty satire in Cohen's own irreverent way. He's still crude, but not as much. 83 minutes.
VIRGINIA ** (R) Language and some sexual content. A mentally-troubled woman has a long affair with a devout Mormon lawman who has political aspirations. Plus, his daughter might be falling for the woman's son, who may or may not be the lawman's boy. It's a surprisingly good cast (Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Emma Roberts) in an emotionally scattered film that goes nowhere slowly. 110 minutes.
WEEKEND ** (Not rated) Two British men spend a weekend of passion and argument, discussing topics of intimacy amidst several episodes of pot-smoking and cocaine-snorting. It was hard to understand their strong British accents, but when I did, it was actually a bit boring. 97 minutes.
Also being released:
BONSAI (Not rated) Alejandro Zambra's celebrated novella of love and literature comes to the screen in this film adaptation from director Christian Jimenez. 96 minutes.
HELL (R) Violence. As the sun scorches the Earth, threatening to wipe out all life on the planet, Phillip, Marie and her younger sister Leonie race to reach a water reservoir rumored to be nestled in the mountains. 84 minutes.
HOME RUN SHOWDOWN (Not rated) A pint-sized athlete with a major league dream sets his sights on impressing his imprisoned father, and gets some help from the last place he expected. 94 minutes.
POST MORTEM (Not rated) It's 1973, and Mario makes his living assisting a coroner in Chile, a nation in turmoil. However, Mario's thoughts are elsewhere, as he's fascinated with Nancy, who lives in his neighborhood and dances in a seedy nightclub. 98 minutes.
SHUFFLE (PG-13) Sexual situations, adult situations, profanity. A man wakes up every day at a different stage in his life, and races to find a reason in this psychological sci-fi thriller. 82 minutes.
Steve Salles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.