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Friday, Aug. 8, 2014

Home Movies/Out on Digital: Aug. 7

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Under the Skin

Scarlett Johansson plays a stiletto-heeled extraterrestrial sexual predator, luring young men into an erotic dance of death. British director Jonathan Glazer (Birth) produced a visually astonishing film, acutely aware of light and sound (as well as their absence). The story is opaque yet conveys the deadly strangeness of an alien life—and life on Earth as seen through her eyes. The oddly beguiling film is closer to poetry than prose, and leaves behind many haunting images.

■ “Labyrinth”

The helper at an archeological dig in southern France (Vanessa Kirby) is transported to scenes of carnage from the 12th-century Roman Catholic crusade against a mysterious French heretical sect, the Cathars. Based on Kate Mosse’s novels and produced by Ridley Scott, “Labyrinth” cuts between past and present through a millennium of conspiracies. The Holy Grail and other hidden knowledge are mixed with sex and family jealousy in a mini-series boasting cinematography and a good cast.

Boredom

That boredom leads to crime, addiction and idiotic risk-taking is just one insight found in Albert Nerenberg’s documentary. Interviewing neurologists, recovering addicts and participants in street riots, Nerenberg finds many questions that cannot easily be answered. Are we more bored than our ancestors despite being wired to the Web? Is boredom a symptom of an overly rational, linear society? Does boredom encourage consumerism (or consumerism boredom)? Nerenberg sketches a world sleepwalking toward the abyss. Boredom kills.