3 Streamables

Neo-Western finds Kurt Russell back on the beat

“Bone Tomahawk” VOD (Oct 23):

Watching “Bone Tomahawk” is to see how the modern Western must oblige to modern sensibilities. The villains aren’t part of an existing tribe, but a splinter society known for its barbarism. A key character’s racism is mocked repeatedly even though he’s risking his life for others. There’s also a dollop of sex and the kind of hyperviolence John Wayne would bark could kill his brand. And yet there’s honor, sacrifice and the simple truth behind doing what’s right no matter the costs.

And then there’s Kurt Russell, the “Tombstone” veteran sporting a handlebar mustache for the ages and enough Western gravitas to fill a franchise. He plays the head lawman in Bright Hope, a town under attack from Indians who make off with the town deputy and a fill-in-doctor. So Russell gathers a small, seemingly outmatched posse to bring them back.

“Bone Tomahawk” features some ghoulish sequences, enough to scare away some fans of Western classics. It also captures the tenderness often overlooked between Western couples. The screenplay shrewdly pays tribute to the genre’s clichés, spinning humor from some unexpected places. It’s still a mite too long, and Richard Jenkins’ work as the bumbling comic relief should have been more subtle, but “Bone Tomahawk” shows the Western is more than sturdy enough to thrive in 2015.

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“The Wolfpack” Blu-ray-VOD

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Imagine if your only link to the outside world came from the mind of Quentin Tarantino. The celebrated documentary “The Wolfpack” answers just such a scenario with an approach that begs for a follow-up feature.

Seven siblings — six boys, one girl — live in a cramped New York City apartment with little way out. The family’s domineering dad won’t let them out of his sight and keeps the front door locked at all times. The world is too cruel for them, or so he insists. So the sibling stay put, entertaining themselves by re-enacting scenes from their favorite movies, like Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” and “The Dark Knight.” All the while, they wonder if they’ll ever be prepared for the real world.

Director Crystal Moselle keeps her camera moving but doesn’t ask questions along the way. That makes “The Wolfpack” as fascinating as it is confounding. The father, a creep with a worldview Bernie Sanders would cheer, deserves to be held accountable for his parenting. Yet the few interviews he grants reveal someone who may be realizing what a colossal mistake he’s made.

“The Wolfpack” is dysfunctional TV at its finest, with a hopeful streak slicing through the tragedy. What lingers is the question why the father, a master manipulator, agreed to let his brood take part in such a feature.

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“Z for Zachariah” VOD-Blu-ray: It’s the end of the world, again. This post-apocalyptic drama focuses on one of the few survivors of a nuclear war. Margot Robbie, who somehow survived the radiation, imagines she could be the last woman left on earth. Her fears fade when a scientist (Chiwetel Ejiofor) enters her life. Their partnership blossoms in more ways than one until a third party (“Star Trek’s” Chris Pine) shatters their domesticity.

“Zachariah” abandons the source material, the 1974 novel of the same name, with the introduction of Pine’s character. The story still touches on themes of survival, religion and humanity’s need for emotional bonds even in the very worst of times. Critics gave “Zachariah” a measured vote of approval, though some suggested the film touches on its themes without the confidence to dig deeper into them.

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