DUE DATE (2010/B-/Directed by Todd Phillips/Starring Robert Downey Jr., Zach Galifianakis, Michelle Monaghan, Juliette Lewis, Jamie Foxx, Danny McBride, RZA, Matt Walsh/Warner/Rated R/Comedy/95 minutes/Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack): Robert Downey Jr. plays buttoned-down Peter Highman, an architect sprouting a Bluetooth from his ear. During his jobs away from home, arrogant Peter counsels his heavily-pregnant wife (Michelle Monaghan), via his Bluetooth, regarding acceptable baby names. Peter appears destined to be a distant and controlling father. His best shot at changing occurs when he becomes trapped on a road trip with self-indulgent ignoramus, Ethan (Galifianakis). After Ethan provokes a scene in an Atlanta airport that lands Peter on the "do not fly list," Ethan persuades Peter to join him for the 2,000 mile drive to their Los Angeles homes. Ethan is traveling with a coffee can containing his father's ashes, and an ugly lap dog named Sonny. Now that his father has died, Ethan hopes to become an actor so that he can appear on his favorite TV show, "Two-and-a-Half Men." Peter preaches the realities of Hollywood to Ethan, but Peter's trying road companion is impervious to either criticism or sarcasm. The charismatic actors successfully sell the film's mean-spirited jokes as does the direction by "Hangover's" Todd Phillips. The thinly-plotted "Due Date" feels as if it was rushed into and through production. The film's saving grace is that it doesn't ask its characters to grow up, get a clue, or become better people. DVD features: Gag reel, English, Spanish or French language tracks, widescreen. 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on DVD and Blu-ray, Digital Copy, full "Two and A Half Men" scene featuring Ethan Tremblay, Additional scenes, Compilation of the physical comedy, too many questions mash-up, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.
FISH TANK (2009/B/Directed by Andrea Arnold/Starring Michael Fassbender, Harry Treadaway, Rebecca Griffiths, Katie Jarvis, Sydney Mary Nash, Kierston Wareing/Criterion Collection/Not Rated/Dramas/122 minutes/Available on: DVD and Blu-ray): Confused and Rebellious Mia Williams is 15 and her suspension from school leaves Mia with too much free time and energy to resent living in a ramshackle apartment block with her single, hard-drinking mother, Joanne (Kierston Wareing), and her potty-mouthed younger sister, Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths). Mia runs afoul of authorities, her family, and local teens, but she feels a connection with animals. A local boy tries to get close, but Mia already has a crush on Connor (Michael Fassbender), her mother's new boyfriend. She interprets his attention and gifts to her as reciprocating her feelings, further upsetting the family's precarious balance. Mia is played by non-professional actress Katie Jarvis, who was given just one scene at a time, along with the rest of the cast, so they did not know what was coming next. The resulting cinema verity garnered a prestigious Cannes Jury Prize for writer/director Andrea Arnold. DVD features: Three Short Films by Director Andrea Arnold: Milk (1998), Dog (2001), and the Oscar-winning Wasp (2003) - New Video Interview with Actor Kierston Wareing - Audio Conversation with Actor Michael Fassbender from 2009, Audition footage, Stills Gallery by Set Photographer Holly Horner, Theatrical Trailer - Plus: a Booklet featuring an Essay by Film Scholar Ian Christie, English language tracks, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: Director-approved digital transfer, with DTS-HD master audio soundtrack.
MEMENTO (2000/A-/Directed by Christopher Nolan/Starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jorja Fox, Mark Junior Boone, Harriet Harris/Lionsgate/Rated R/Thriller/113 minutes/Available on: DVD and Blu-ray): Last year, director Christopher Nolan wrote and directed "Inception," a marvelous film that plays with our notion of dreams. Back in 2000, Nolan directed this tale turning the concept of memory on its head. He worked from a short story by his brother Jonathan, to depict Leonard (Guy Pearce), a character unable to form new memories following the rape and murder of his wife. To pull us into Leonard's confused state, Nolan depicts Leonard's revenge scheme in reverse. The film begins near the end of the story, then plays the scene preceding that one, then the one preceding that one, and so on. Living on the run, Leonard substitutes Polaroids of the important players and their names and roles in his wife's demise, for memories. When he becomes certain that a clue will aid his search, he tattoos it onto his body. His puzzle becomes ours as we struggle to predict the events preceding those in each scene. More often than not, Nolan surprises us in this film that demands our full attention and rewards us with something unlike anything that has come before. DVD features: "Memento Mori" - short story by Jonathan Nolan, IFC interview with writer/director Christopher Nolan, Tattoo gallery, Director & cast biographies, Theatrical trailer and TV spot, "Following" trailer, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: director commentary, Remembering Memento, Anatomy of a scene, Leonard's journal.
NATURE: Elsa's Legacy - The Born Free Story (2011/B-/PBS Video//Not Rated//Documentary//66 minutes/Available on: DVD and Blu-ray): "Born Free" is the heartrending story of Joy and George Adamson, surrogate parents to an orphaned lion cub they eventually released back into the wild. Fifty years after the book, which became a film, was published, this documentary examines how the film changed Western attitudes toward wildlife, and the far-reaching effects that working with big cats in Africa would have on the cast. DVD or Blu-ray features: English language tracks, widescreen.
MEGAMIND (2010/B/Directed by Tom McGrath/Voices of Brad Pitt, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross, Justin Theroux, Ben Stiller/Paramount/Rated PG/Animated, Comedy/96 minutes/Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack): After the villainous Megamind (Ferrell) destroys superhero Metro Man (Pitt), he gleefully goes about wreaking havoc on Metro City. However, without opposition to spice up the action, Megamind soon becomes weary of his fun. To rectify his loss, Megamind blends Metro Man's DNA with that belonging to a cub reporter (Hill). The resulting creation, intended to defend all that is right and good, turns out to be a supervillain. Inspired by a beautiful journalist (Fey), Megamind decides to honor Metro Man's legacy and fight his own creation by attempting to become a superhero. DVD features: Behind the scenes with cast and crew, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, Filmmaker's commentary, The Button of Doom: all-new Mega Comedy Adventure, Animators' Corner featuring Picture-in-picture Storyboards, Behind-the-Scenes Footage, Interviews, Trivia Track, Interactive Comic Creator, Meet the Cast, Discover The Lost Scene, Visit Megamind's Lair, Experience AnimatorMan, Learn to Draw Megamind, Megamind Video Comic Book, Games.
GET LOW (2010/B-/Directed by Aaron Schneider/Starring Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray, Lucas Black, Gerald McRaney, Bill Cobbs, Scott Cooper, Lorie Beth Edgeman/Sony/Rated PG-13/Drama/102 minutes/Available on: DVD and Blu-ray): Forty years after becoming a hermit, elderly Felix Bush means to throw his own funeral party so he can attend it while still alive. Based on a real-life character, Bush is known as a cantankerous, shot gun-toting atheist, feared by townies who aren't aware of his better qualities or the secret that has long weighed him down. Bush's undertaker (Murray), helps to boost attendance and defray funeral costs by suggesting that Bush raffle 40 acres of prime timber to those buying $5 tickets. Sissy Spacek appears as a sympathetic woman from Bush's past while Cobbs plays Reverend Gus Horton, once Bush's close friend. Robert Duvall's crafty portrayal of Felix Bush, provides the film's most rewarding viewing. DVD or Blu-ray features: Commentary with cast and filmmakers, Cast & Crew Q&A, The Deep South: Buried Secrets, Getting Low: Getting Into Character, A Screenwriter's Point of View, On the Red Carpet, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.
GAME OF DEATH (2010/B-/Directed by Giorgio Serafini/Starring Wesley Snipes, Gary Daniels, Robert Davi, Zoe Bell/Sony/Rated R/Action/86 minutes/Available on: DVD and Blu-ray): Wesley Snipes elevates what would be an average direct-to-video actioner with his tight acting and fighting chops. He plays Marcus, a CIA undercover agent betrayed by his double-crossing team. This puts Marcus in the uncomfortable spot of trying to rescue a high-profile criminal (Davi) -- along with the crook's doc -- from determined, well-trained CIA agents (played by Daniels, Bell and several others) seeking to steal the crook's $10 million smackeroos. The astutely choreographed action, partially redeems an underwritten plot placing Marcus in claustrophobic settings outgunned and outnumbered, but rarely outsmarted. The film's entertainment value owes much to Italian director, Giorgio Serafini, who was hired a mere three days before shooting began. DVD features: Several Behind the scenes featurettes, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.
TIMMY TIME: Timmy Steals The Show (2009/C-/Created by Jackie Cockle/Voices of Kate Harbour, Justin Fletcher, Louis Jones/Lyons/HIT Entertainment/Not Rated/Animated/43 minutes/Available on: DVD): Aardman Studio produces its first show for the preschoolers, spinning off the youngest lamb from "Shaun the Sheep." Unlike "Shaun's" subversive humor, "Timmy's" straight forward plots unfold in a barnyard preschool attended by a farmer's assortment of animals. The painfully colorful settings overwhelm these dull, repetitive tales. Rug rats may enjoy Timmy, but adults will have to content themselves with a nap. DVD features: Timmy Time sing-along, English language tracks, widescreen.
48 HRS (1982/B/Directed by Walter Hill/Starring Eddie Murphy, Nick Nolte, James Remar, David Patrick Kelly, Brion James, Annette O'Toole, Jonathan Banks, Denise Crosby, Frank McRae, Sonny Landham, Margot Rose/Paramount/Rated R/Comedy/96 minutes/Available on: Blu-ray): Eddie Murphy made his film debut as a convict on a two-day furlough so he can help Nick Nolte's violent detective capture the felon's lawbreaking, former partner (Remar). The racist, sexist banter between cop and convict is even funnier than it is offensive due to young Murphy's willingness to earn laughs, no matter the cost. Blu-ray features: Trailer, English, French and Spanish language tracks, Portuguese subtitles, widescreen.
Also Out This Week
ALL-STAR SUPERMAN (2011/Directed by Sam Liu/Voices of James Denton, Christina Hendricks, Anthony LaPaglia, Frances Conroy, Ed Asner/Warner/Not Rated/Animated/78 minutes/Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack: Based on the Eisner Award-winning graphic novel, this animated movie depicts Superman's final days. When Lex Luthor (LaPaglia) sabotages a mission to the sun, Superman (voice of Denton) saves the day, receiving a fatal dose of radiation in the process. With the end near, the man of steel reveals his identity to Lois Lane (Hendricks), then attempts to ensure Earth's safety in one final, selfless act. 2-Disc DVD features: Sneak Peak at Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Superman Now featurette, 2 episodes from the animated TV series, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, A conversation with Grant Morrison, Commentary with Bruce Timm and Grant Morrison, All-Star Superman Digital Comic Book, Digital copy of the film.
THE LONGORIA AFFAIR (2010/Directed by John Valdez/Hosted by America Ferrera/Narrated by Tony Plana/PBS Video/Not Rated/Documentary/52 Minutes/Available on: DVD): While many have heard of Rosa Parks famously standing up against segregation, few know the story of Felix Longoria, a Hispanic American killed while fighting the Japanese during WWII. The one funeral parlor in his hometown of Three Rivers, Texas, wouldn't allow Longoria's body to lie in state, and attempted to bury him in a segregated area of the cemetery for nonwhites. The resulting national outcry touched Texas Senator Lyndon Johnson who would later sign groundbreaking civil rights legislation when he became president. Filmed for Independent Lens, this documentary illuminates these events and Johnson's contentious relationship with Latino activist Dr. Hector Garcia, who would ultimately shape Johnson's views. DVD features: Trailer, Bonus video, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.
PSYCH:9 (2010/Directed by Andrew Shortell/Starring Sara Foster, Cary Elwes, Michael Biehn, Gabriel Mann, Colleen Camp, Winter Zoli, Susie Amy, Joel Kirby/Lionsgate/Rated R/Horror/98 minutes/Available on: DVD and Blu-ray): While working the graveyard shift at a recently closed hospital, Roselyn (Foster) experiences unsettling events she believes are tied to a series of unsolved murders in the area. Seeking the truth, she revisits her own painful past where increasingly fascinating clues are revealed. DVD and Blu-ray features: Deleted Scenes, Fear and Desire: Making of featurette, Outtakes, Trailer Gallery, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.
INVADER ZIM: Operation Doom (2001-2003/Created by Jhonen Vasquez/Voices of Andy Berman, Richard Steven Horvitz and Rosearik Rikki Simons/Nickelodeon/Not Rated/Animated/179 minutes/Available on: DVD): A simplistic, stylishly drawn cartoon airing on the Nickelodeon Network, "Zim" is a favorite with Internet Movie Data base users, who rate it 9-out-of-10. The titular character is an obnoxious, little green alien who poses as a human being in order to better conquer Earth. In these selected 13 episodes, Zim and friends, Gir, Dib and Gaz, renew their determination to take over the world and do what they will with all its annoying inhabitants. DVD features: English language tracks, full-screen format.
CLOVER (1997/Directed by Jud Taylor/Starring Ernie Hudson, Loretta Devine, Elizabeth McGovern, Beatrice Winde, Zelda Harris/Rhino/Not Rated/Drama/91 minutes/Available on: DVD): After her African American father (Hudson) dies in a car crash, 10-year-old Clover (Harris), is left in the care of her father's new bride, a white woman Clover barely knows. DVD features: English language tracks, widescreen.