DVD previews: 'Home,' 'White God'
"Home" (PG, 94 minutes, DreamWorks Animated): Evoking "The Wizard of Oz," "Annie" and "E.T.," this kiddie sci-fi adaptation is about the yearning for the comforts of family. Based on Adam Rex's best-selling children's book "The True Meaning of Smekday," "Home" also is a road-trip buddy comedy about a little girl looking for her mom and a lonely alien looking for a friend. When the Boov, a color-changing alien species that's perpetually on the run from the evil Gorg, invade Earth, leader Capt. Smek (voiced by Steve Martin) renames Earth "Smekland," relocating all humans to amusement-park compounds in Australia. The 12-year-old heroine, Gratuity "Tip" Tucci (singer Rihanna), is accidentally left behind as her mother (Jennifer Lopez) is whisked away. Alone with her feisty pet cat, Tip sets out in the family car in hopes of finding her mom, teaming up along the way with Oh (Jim Parsons), a misfit Boov who's a wanted criminal after sending a party invite to every creature in the universe. That includes the Gorg, who could arrive and destroy the planet. Rihanna holds the film's biggest appeal, not only contributing her cultural background and voice acting to the project, but also her music. Several of the songs on the soundtrack are Rihanna's, with Lopez belting out a ballad as well. A brilliant mechanic who can't read social cues, Oh is basically an alien version of Sheldon from "The Big Bang Theory." The odd-couple chemistry between Tip and Oh will win over younger audiences, just like Lilo and Stitch did a decade ago.
"White God" (R, 119 minutes, in Hungarian and English with subtitles, Magnolia Home Entertainment): Thirteen-year-old Lili (Zsofia Psotta) and her dog, Hagen, have a typical relationship of mutual devotion. But in the world created by Hungarian filmmaker Kornel Mundruczo in this provocative social parable, Hagen isn't the wise, loyal, magnificent creature Lili sees. Rather, as a mixed breed, he's marginalized and despised -- a four-legged symbol of all groups oppressed by nativist movements and rigid orthodoxies. Lili's unfeeling father, a punctilious meat inspector, throws Hagen onto the streets, unwilling to pay the tax charged by the state for keeping mutts. Undocumented and unloved, Hagen becomes embroiled in misadventures including a high-stakes chase by animal control officials and a brief, brutalizing dogfighting stint. Scenes of abuse that make up the heart of "White God" will prove disquieting for animal lovers, who are assured that no dogs were harmed during filming. Lili undergoes her own coming-of-age trials, culminating in a third act awash in equal parts potent metaphor, dazzling genre exercise and inspired lunacy. Even those who don't buy in completely to Mundruczo's parable will be impressed by his canine crowd, staged with ambition, skill and genuinely original vision. Contains violence and language. Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette and interviews with Mundruczo and animal coordinator/technical adviser Teresa Ann Miller.
Also: "Comet," "3 Hearts" (France), "Mr. Right," "Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXXIII," "Justice League: Gods and Monsters," "The Milky Way" (documentary), "Descendants" (Disney made-for-TV movie), "Homefront" (documentary), "Our Daily Poison" (documentary), "Four Blood Moons" (docudrama), "Life on the Reef" (PBS) and "Ghost Town" (1988).
Television series: "Helix: Season 2" and "Mama's Family: Mama's Favorites, Season Six."