Tuesday, December 22, 2009

DVD Releases: December 15 & December 22

I forgot to do this one last week, so I will include the releases from then as well. Some of the year’s best films are finding their way to DVD just in time for Christmas. In addition to the titles listed below, you may want to check out It Might Get Loud and The Headless Woman which supposedly hit DVD this week – I know I will since I missed both in theaters.

All About Steve ½ *
Sandra Bullock had a career year, with The Proposal and The Blind Side both being popular audience hits, and it looks like she’ll get her first Oscar nomination for the later movie. I think she is hoping that everyone will simply forget about this horrid turd of a movie, where she plays a lunatic who stalks Hangover star Bradley Cooper. Oh, this isn’t a thriller, but rather a pathetic romantic comedy! Thomas Haden Church co-stars, apparently because he needs money. This is a terrible movie, and it will surely wind up on my ten worst list of 2009 in a few weeks. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/09/movie-review-all-about-steve.html

District 9 ****
Some films evaporate in your mind as soon as they are over. District 9 is a film that keeps expanding in my mind as time passes (which is why though I originally gave the film 3 ½ stars, I have now upped that to 4, which is what I should have given it in the first place). First time director Neil Bloomkamp has made an intelligent science fiction movie that begins with an examination of Apartheid in South Africa, with aliens in the place of blacks, and turns it into not only a spectacular action movie (the last act is all action, brilliantly done), but also a tragedy as the main character (the great Sharlto Copley in his first major role) slowly transforms. The special effects and make-up in the movie are utterly brilliant, but Bloomkamp never overdoes it. If you missed this one in the theaters, don’t make the same mistake on DVD. For my original review please see:

Extract ** ½
In my mind, Mike Judge is a comic genius. Any man who came up with Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill, Office Space and Idiocracy can be nothing less. But Extract is the least successful of all of his work. It concentrates on a factory owner (Jason Bateman) who finds out his wife (Kirsten Wiig) is cheating on him, right when he meets a gorgeous young woman (Mila Kunis), and things at his factory are going haywire. What should have been an hilarious comedy, instead is just mediocre. I smiled more than I laughed, and the characters (particularly Ben Affleck as Bateman’s bartender buddy) have none of the depth of even Judge’s cartoon characters. I’m sure Judge will do something great again in the future – this just isn’t it. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/09/movie-review-extract.html

500 Days Of Summer ****
The year’s best romantic comedy is this indie starring Joseph Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel as two people who are almost meant to be together. Gordon Levitt continues his string of brilliant performances, here playing a would be architect slumming it writing greeting cards, and Deschanel is the free spirited new secretary who he falls for hard. The movie juggles time brilliant, and first time director Marc Webb shows a visual flair. Not your typical romantic comedy, but something much richer and deeper. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/07/movie-review-500-days-of-summer.html

The Hangover *** ½
Todd Philips The Hangover is one of the funniest, most enjoyable comedies of the year. Four guys head to Vegas for a Bachelor party. Three of them wake up the next day with no memory of what happened, and what’s worse, the groom is missing. Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifankis and Ed Helms are great as the three men trying to put the pieces back together, and the supporting cast is full of great performances. Yes, this is juvenile cinema, but it is juvenile cinema at its finest. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/06/movie-review-hangover.html

Inglourious Basterds ****
The year’s best film is Quentin Tarantino’s WWII farce/men on a mission/revisionist history/tribute to cinema past. This is a mind bogglingly entertaining film. Violent, witty, funny, disturbing and downright brilliant. The film is about the power of film, the importance of language, and like all of Tarantino’s films it is balls to the wall filmmaking. Christoph Waltz delivers by far the best performance of the year as the “Jew Hunter” Hans Landa, but the entire cast is brilliant. Brad Pitt shows up the flair for comedy as he did in the Coen’s Burn After Reading last year (this time Roger Ebert compared him to a Marx brother, and that is not far off), Melanie Laurent is great as the vengeful Shosanna, Diane Kruger wonderful as a German film star and double agent, and Michael Fassbender is marvelous as a British soldier. In total, this is THE must see film of the year. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/08/movie-review-inglorious-basterds.html

Lorna's Silence *** ½
Perhaps the least successful of all of the Dardenne brothers films, Lorna’s Silence is a still a fascinating little movie. Lorna (Arta Dobroshi) is a immigrant for Eastern Europe into Belgium. In order to get her citizenship, she marries a drug addict (Jeremie Renier) in a business arrangement, so she can do the same for someone else. But things get more complicated than her simple plan will allow. A wonderful slice of life film, that may take a few too many leaps of logic, but is still great. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/09/movie-review-lornas-silence.html

Taking Woodstock **
Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock is for me one of the most disappointing films of the year. What should have been an interesting, fun look at Woodstock becomes a jumbled mess of a movie that never really goes anywhere. All the performances are one note, and in the films second half, Lee concentrates more on making a head trip than a movie. This would be fine if it worked. It doesn’t. For my original review please see: http://davesmoviesite.blogspot.com/2009/08/movie-review-taking-woodstock.html

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