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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Home Movies/Out on Digital: April 14

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■ Contracted

Unprotected sex is the monster in this horror flick, where careless club life leads the young protagonist Samantha (Najarra Townsend) into the inhibition-free oblivion of alcohol. She ends the night in a sexual encounter she barely remembers with a man she never met before. Samantha awakens to rapid, nightmarish changes to her body—and finally her consciousness. The predatory male gaze is everywhere, but lesbians come across no better in director Eric England’s indie thriller.

Boardwalk

Lee Strasberg and Ruth Gordon are superb as a loving old couple whose happiness is nearing the end. This 1979 film (out for the first time on home video) is a period piece from the era of New York City-as-urban jungle as well as a nuanced character study of Old World refugees who refuse to run from the neighborhood they call home. The messages are a bit obvious and the melodrama unnecessary, but the heartbreak is palpable.

Meet Him and Die

Massimo (mop-topped Ray Lovelock) tends to his wheelchair-bound mom while plotting a jewelry store heist. He’s caught in scene two of this 1976 Italian cop drama (out on Blu-ray). Sent to prison, he proves himself to hardened criminals and the “boss” (Hollywood veteran Martin Balsam), who governs the penitentiary like a lord in his manor. But there’s a twist: Massimo is really a cop infiltrating the Boss’ drug gang in this entertaining, minimally budgeted feature.