DVD reviews

"The Last Mimzy" provokes maddening curiosity. "Sweet Land" offers a slow-burn romance for those with the patience of a barn-builder.

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The Last Mimzy (PG)

The title of this family-oriented sci-fi film provokes maddening curiosity. What is a Mimzy? Turns out it's a stuffed rabbit that has been sent back in time. When two children, Noah and Emma Wilder, stumble across a magical box containing Mimzy, they start displaying unusual powers. Noah's teacher (a charming Rainn Wilson of "The Office") soon believes his student is a genius. Then the FBI invokes the USA Patriot Act to lock up the Wilders when Emma shuts down a power grid. But the kids' quest to return Mimzy to the future doesn't have the intended emotional payoff – it's hard to get teary over an inanimate toy. In other words, following this white rabbit down the rabbit hole won't quite take you to Wonderland. Grade: C+

Sweet Land (PG)

Recommended: 25 of the best new middle grade novels

Inge, a German mail-order bride, arrives in rural, 1920s Minnesota with all her worldly possessions – an elegantly horned gramophone and an English phrase book. But her wedding to Olaf, a shy Norwegian farmer who might have been more aptly named aloof, is called off when she can't produce immigration papers. After all, the locals are suspicious of foreigners. "You think she's a spy?" asks Olaf. "I'll tell you what's in her favor," answers a clerk, "she's not Chinese." Lingering shots of wide-open spaces and sparse dialogue make this a slow-burn romance for those with the patience of a barn-builder. But you'll be as entranced by Inge (the unheralded Elizabeth Reaser) as Olaf is. Grade: A

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