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Monday, July 21, 2014

Home Movies/Out on Digital: July 21

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Vinyl

Johnny, an aging ’70s punk guitarist, meets his old bandmates at a funeral and presses them into reforming. They sound good, but their old label declares them as not right for the “tweeners to twenties” demographic. Undeterred, they form a band of teenage nobodies to lip-sync their demo in this laugh-out-loud British comedy. Vinyl is a spot-on send-up of brain-dead entertainment moguls and the realization that rebellious youth has slid into middle age.

No Clue

A beautiful woman in need (Amy Smart) steps into a private detective’s office (where the sun casts perpetual shadows through Venetian blinds) and hires him to find a missing person in this film noir spoof. As with many Canadian comedies, No Clue is as agreeably tolerable and mildly amusing as the country itself. Comedian Brent Butt fronts the scenario as Leo, a bungling but ready-for-action pen salesman mistaken for a private eye.

The Monkey’s Paw

It might have been a gritty blue-collar drama of dead-end jobs and dead-end lives, but in the muggy setting of New Orleans, hoodoo festers like moss on trees. Jake (C.J. Thomason) accepts an evil talisman, a monkey’s paw, without believing in its power. But carelessly using it to fulfill a passing wish, he sets off an increasingly gruesome chain of unintended consequences. Good cinematography, editing and use of scenery mark the production.

■ “Hidden Kingdoms”

Of the millions of species on Earth, the big animals get most of the attention. Yet, the ground often teems with life beneath our feet. The three-part BBC series “Hidden Kingdoms” (out on Blu-ray and DVD) combines low-angle photography and computer animation to plausibly capture and recreate the world from the perspectives of such diminutive creatures as the elephant shrew in the African grasslands and the grasshopper mouse of the American Southwest. Stephen Fry narrates.