New on DVD: 'Eagle vs. Shark' and 'The Golden Door'
New Zealand's 'Eagle vs. Shark' is on the wrong side of quirky, an Italian family immigrates to America in 'The Golden Door.'
Eagle vs. Shark (R)Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
In the pantheon of quirky independents, the New Zealand film "Eagle vs. Shark" falls closer to "Napoleon Dynamite" than "Juno." But where Napoleon was ultimately a winning character and the film more or less succeeded in its flirtation with total absurdity, the oddball characters in "Eagle vs. Shark" too often go over the edge. There is Lily, a sweet fast-food cashier whose mouth is caught in a permanent sheepish sneer. And Jarrod, so self-absorbed, seems undeserving of her affection. They meet, play a video game, sleep together, then make the journey back to his childhood home where he sets out to avenge a youthful slight. Unsympathetic as Jarrod may be, there is something touching about Lily's unflagging acceptance and devotion. Grade: B– – Teresa Méndez
The Golden Door (PG-13)
The Statue of Liberty inscription, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses," comes to vivid life in this early 1900s immigration saga about a destitute Sicilian family's voyage to America. In the bonus features, director Emanuele Crialese observes that they are voyaging to a literally New World, an idea he underscores in his occasionally surreal visual poem. (When the ship departs, for example, an overhead shot depicts an opening chasm between those on board and those on shore.) Though Salvatore, head of the family, finds romance aboard the vessel, it's hardly the Cunard line. During a storm, the ship's hold churns like a clothes dryer. Worse is yet to come. At Ellis Island, a conveyor-belt bureaucracy weeds out "undesirable" peasants. The family's triumph is hard won. Grade: B+ – Stephen Humphries