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Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010

Out on Blu-ray/DVD

For the week of 12/14/10 - 12/20/10

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THE OTHER GUYS

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Adam McKay

Starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson

Sony//Rated PG-13//Comedy//107 minutes

Available on: DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

Ferrell gets his geek on as NYC detective Allen Gamble. Because his investigations consist of forensic accounting on a computer, Gamble is on the bottom rung of his NYC Precinct's detective hierarchy. He idolizes precinct hotshots, Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Danson (Dwayne Johnson), but when the pair are taken out of commission, to Gamble's dismay his desk-bound partner Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg), gets them assigned to hotshots' last case, investigating a Ponzi scheme. Hoitz, Gamble, and Captain Gene Mauch (Michael Keaton), are updated stereotypes handicapped by goofy eccentricities. These have little to do with the plot, but sometimes hit comic pay dirt. Gamble drives Hoitz around in Gamble's girly red Prius while listening to the saccharin "Little River Band." Casting Wahlberg as Ferrell's angry, macho partner is an exercise in why opposites often spark terrific comedy. Conceived as a parody of buddy-action flicks, the pair is targeted by gunfire and explosive devices in action sequences less humorous than they ought to be. The fun lies in finding a funny perspective on the familiar -- Ferrell's forte. DVD features: Theatrical & unrated film versions, Deleted & extended scenes, Bed, bath & way beyond, stunt featurette, English or French language tracks, Spanish Subtitles, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: More Deleted & Extended Scenes, Gag Reel, Line-O-Rama, Pimps Don't Cry Music Video, A "Mom-mentary" featuring Will Ferrell, Writer Chris Henchy and Director Adam McKay's Moms, Movie lQ Sync, English, Spanish or French language tracks, Hindi Subtitles.

NANNY McPHEE RETURNS

(2010)

* * (C)

Directed by Susanna White

Starring Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor, Rhys Ifans, and Maggie Smith

Universal//Rated PG//Family//109 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

In chapter two, actress Emma Thompson once again steps in as both screenwriter and as star Nanny McPhee. This time McPhee arrives at a family farm where Isabel Green (Gyllenhaal) is barely coping with her own children when her wealthy sister's snooty kids arrive to sit out the bombing raids on London. The farm has fallen into disarray while Isabel's husband (a briefly glimpsed McGregor) is away at war. McPhee uses unusual methods to teach the kids to get along and work as a team. However, there's little here that we didn't seen the first time around. Synchronized swimming piglets are crowd pleasers, but repeated attempts by Isabel's brother-in-law (Ifans) to trick her into selling her farm, neither succeed as comedy nor as a credible threat. McPhee's return was all but guaranteed by a $75-million-dollar profit on the first film, though you'll notice she's looking better because each child she helps deprives her face of another hairy mole. DVD or Blu-ray features: director commentary, Deleted Scenes, Making-of featurettes, A Look Inside, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

BACK NINE

(2009)

*1/2 (C-)

Directed by Ron Vignone

Starring Jon Fitzgerald

Magnolia//Not Rated//Documentary//87 minutes

Available on: DVD

It's no surprise that Jon Fitzgerald's quasi-effort to become a pro golfer, at the age 40, landed him in the spotlight of this documentary. Once an aspiring filmmaker himself, Fitzgerald is no stranger to battling long odds. When he was unable to enter his freshmen film in an increasingly snobby Sundance Film Festival, Fitzgerald helped to found the Slamdance Festival, a competition that welcomes independent, low-budget films. Jon went on to build a career as a film festival organizer, but on his 40th birthday he decided what he'd most like to do is play golf on the pro tour. The problem with his effort to turn pro is that we sense Jon puts less effort into achieving his dream than will be required. Not long after beginning his quest, Jon accepts a job organizing a film festival in Dubai, thereby upsetting his golf practice routine and all but dooming his chances. Since Jon has little at stake we don't invest in him or in the film that appears to represent his actual goal. DVD features: Commentary with Jon Fitzgerald, Deleted Scenes, Clips and Tips from Coach Tim Suzor, Clips and Tips from Dr. Joe Parent (Zen Golf), Clips and Tips from Katherine Roberts (Yoga for Golfers), Top 10 Most Valuable Golf Tips, A Brief History of Golf, English language tracks, Spanish Subtitles, widescreen.

THE A-TEAM

(2010)

* 1/2 (C-)

Directed by Joe Carnahan

Starring Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Quinton Jackson, Jessica Biel, Patrick Wilson

Fox//Rated PG-13//Action//119 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

The film adaptation, based on the television series from the mid-80s, spent 15 years in development. The story is updated to the Iraq war while retaining the original concept of four war veterans being framed for a military crime, then escaping custody in order to clear their names. Teetering somewhere between camp and serious action, the film sputters, despite casting always-reliable Neeson as mission specialist Hannibal Smith. Cooper appears as the team's weapons expert, Jackson plays the driver B.A. Baracus, Copley is on board as pilot Murdock and Biel plays Peck's former love interest while Wilson appears as a mysterious CIA operative. A poorly written screenplay with dull action and dialog that's even harder to hear than to speak, downgrades this effort to the D-Team. DVD features: theatrical version and unrated extended version, director commentary, The A-Team Theme Mash-Up Montage, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. 2-Disc Blu-ray features same plus: inside the action with Joe Carnahan, character chronicles, Plan of attack featurette, Deleted scenes, gag reel, digital copy.

LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA'HOOLE

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Zack Snyder

Voices of Helen Mirren, Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Emily Barclay, Abbie Cornish, Ryan Kwanten, Anthony LaPaglia, Miriam Margolyes, Sam Neill

Warner//Rated PG//Animated//97 minutes

Available on: DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D

Adapted from the first three books of a Scholastic series by Kathryn Lasky, the story casts a young barn owl as an unlikely savior. We meet owlet Soren (voice of Sturgess) shortly before he is abducted and taken to the forbidding St. Aegolius Academy for Orphaned Owls. The facility serves as a front for evil owls seeking to rule the forest with iron claws. Soren escapes the academy with his friends, to search for the Noble Guardians, a group safely stashed away in a remote part of the wilderness. Filmed in 3-D, the visuals encompass dark forests and imposing seascapes, mainly seen through the eyes of our heroes soaring above. Battle sequences can be frightening and intense, but ponderous dialog weighs heavily on this film. The topnotch voice cast saves this one. DVD features: Digger and Modern Family's Rico Rodriguez Host a Look Into the World of Owls and Why They Are Counting On You to Protect Them, New Looney Tunes Cartoon Fur of Flying, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: explore the world of Ga'hoole, Rise of the Guardians, To the sky music video by owl city, 4 Artwork galleries.

THE TOWN

(2010)

* * * (B)

Directed by Ben Affleck

Starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Titus Welliver, Pete Postlethwaite, Chris Cooper

Warner//Rated R//Drama//125 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

Adapted from Chuck Hogan's novel "Prince of Thieves," "The Town" returns Ben Affleck to both the director's chair and his Boston hometown. The director stars as Doug MacRay, a veteran bank robber who leaves his troubled girlfriend (Lively) behind when he falls for the bank teller (Hall) he and his masked crew recently held at gunpoint. Wanting out of the criminal racket, MacRay seeks advice from his imprisoned father (Cooper). To make good his escape, MacRay needs to pull off a lucrative heist while misleading the Feds and evading the wrath of his crime boss (Postlethwaite) as well as MacRay's frustrated partner (Renner). Tense, and featuring several robberies and chase sequences, "The Town" establishes Affleck as a director to be reckoned with. DVD features: Director commentary, The Real People of Charlestown, Ben Affleck: Director & Actor Profiles of the Academy Award-winning Filmmaker, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features same plus: the film on DVD and Blu-ray, Ben Affleck takes viewers through the movie-making process in his hometown. Segments include: The cathedral of Boston, Nuns with guns: filming in the north end, Pulling off the perfect heist, The town, digital copy.

DESPICABLE ME

(2010)

* * * * (A)

Directed by Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin

Voices of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig, Elsie Fisher, Will Arnett, Danny McBride, Jemaine Clement, Miranda Cosgrove, Jack McBrayer, Julie Andrews

Universal//Rated PG//Animated//95 minutes

Available on: DVD, DVD Double Pack, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D/DVD Combo Pack

Aspiring supervillain, Gru (voiced by Carell), is intent upon outdoing his nemesis, Vector (Jason Segel), who has stolen the pyramid of Giza. After Gru's banker points out that his sinister plots don't turn a profit, Gru schemes to prove his bankability by stealing the moon. The task requires a rare shrink-ray gun, so Gru adopts a trio of orphans from Miss Hattie's home for girls, to be his unwitting accomplices. Gru is shocked to learn that parenting three little girls requires he listen to them, play with them, and attend their numerous activities. Gru's other help comes from his army of tireless minions -- mumbling yellow bubbles sporting eyes and feet. An original idea written for the screen, "Despicable Me" features cool gadgets, cute characters, frequent gags and enough action to keep the plot chugging along. DVD features: The World of Despicable Me, Despicable Beats, Gru's Rocket Builder, A Global Effort, Despicable Me Game Previews, Commentary with Directors Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin Featuring the Minions, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. DVD Double Pack features same plus: Minion Madness - Exclusive 3 all-new mini movies featuring the Minions: Banana, Orientation Day and Home Makeover, Voices of Despicable Me, Super Silly Fun Land, Digital Copy. Blu-ray Combo Pack features same plus: Making of featurette with behind-the-scenes footage and cast interviews with a PIP window, Miss Hattie's Top Secret Cookie Recipe, pocket BLU - Featuring the Minion Me and Minion Dominion apps for iPhone & iPad, uHear - Never miss another line of dialogue with this feature. Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack features same plus: Both 3D and 2D versions of the film.



MICMACS

(2009)

* * * (B)

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Starring Dany Boon, Andre Dussollier, Omar Sy, Dominique Pinon, Julie Ferrier, Nicolas Marie, Marie-Julie Baup

Sony//Rated R//Comedy - In French with English subtitles//104 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Bazil (Boon) is itching to get even with the French arms manufacturers he holds responsible for his father's death (via land mine) and the company's rival, maker of a stray bullet nearly killing Bazil. The two armament companies, run by eccentric CEOs, sit across from one another in an industrial zone on the outskirts of Paris. To get revenge, Bazil joins a crew of misfit junk collectors, expert in making contraptions from refuse. The crew helps him sabotage the arms makers in ways that humiliate the CEOs and ruin their corporate images. Bazil's schemes are fanciful set pieces, simultaneously thoughtful and amusing. DVD features: director commentary, Making of featurette, Q&A with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet & actress Julie Ferrier, Animations: absurd deaths, French language track, English Subtitles, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: English or French language tracks.

Also Out This Week

ARMY WIVES: Season Four

(2010)

Created by Katherine Fugate

Starring Kim Delaney, Sally Pressman, Brigid Brannagh, Sterling K. Brown, Catherine Bell, Brian McNamara, Richard Bryant, Rhoda Griffis, Wendy Davis

Buena Vista//Drama//Not Rated//774 minutes

Available on: DVD

This prime time soap is set at a US Army Post where several wives and one husband of enlisted spouses stoke the home fires. Social hierarchy within this group is largely predicted by their spouse's military rank. As wife of the post commander, it falls to Claudia Joy Holden (Kim Delaney) to help the others. Her rival Lenore (Rhoda Griffis) is married to a general. Claudia Joy's best friend Denise (Bell) is the wife of a major. Denise's son Jeremy (Richard Bryant) has recently seen combat and suffers from depression. He is counseled by psychologist Dr. Roland Burton (Brown), husband of Col. Joan Burton (Wendy Davis), wounded during service. Roxy LeBlanc (Pressman) is raising two sons and runs the local watering hole, the Hump Bar. Her best buddy is Pamela Moran (Brannagh), a police officer divorcing her Delta Force husband. The Lifetime Network's most popular drama, "Army Wives" mines difficult emotional terrain while maintaining quality writing and a good cast. 4-Disc DVD features: Deleted Scenes, Bloopers, Outtakes, Gags, Safety First: From Script to Screen, Southern Cooking Army Wives Style, English language tracks, Spanish Subtitles, widescreen.

DEAR MR. GACY

(2010)

Directed by Svetozar Ristovski

Starring William Forsythe, Jesse Moss, Emma Lahana

Anchor Bay//Rated R//Thriller//103 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Based on "The Last Victim," a biographical account of the relationship between John Gacy and Jason Moss, the film follows Moss's efforts, while a student of criminology at UNLV, to befriend convicted serial killer John Gacy as he awaits execution on death row. Moss, 18, wants to understand the mind of a serial killer. To that end, he poses as the sort of insecure youth Gacy preys upon. The pair strike up a friendship that escalates by letter, phone calls and through Moss's visits, but that increasingly brings Moss under Gacy's control. DVD or Blu-ray features: The Gacy Files: A minute profile of John Wayne Gacy (20 minutes), English language tracks, trailers, Spanish Subtitles, widescreen.

CYRUS

(2010)

Directed by Mark and Jay Duplass

Starring John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Catherine Keener, Jonah Hill, Matt Walsh, Katie Aselton

Fox//Rated R//Comedy//91 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Middle-aged and socially awkward, John is thrilled when vivacious Molly (Tomei) shows an interest in dating him. As romance blossoms, John discovers that Molly's 20-something son Cyrus (Hill), is overly attached to his mommy, and she sees nothing wrong with their overly close relationship. Feeling jealous, John sets about trying to break up mother and son, but finds that doing so is harder than expected. DVD or Blu-ray features: 2 Deleted Scenes Featuring More of John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill w/Intro by Directors, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

MOTHER AND CHILD

(2009)

Directed by Rodrigo Garcia

Starring Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smits, Samuel L. Jackson

Sony//Rated R//Drama//127 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-ray

Rodrigo Garcia penned and directed this film comprised of three stories linked by the theme of adoption, but focused on a range of perspectives. Karen (Bening) gave up the child she had at 14 and is now haunted by the daughter she never knew. Elizabeth (Watts), raised by adoptive parents, is an ambitious lawyer, but is unable to form close relationships. Finally, Lucy (Washington) and her husband hope to become parents by adopting. DVD or Blu-ray features: Deleted scenes, Creating the family tree, Universally connected - cast and crew discuss the universal themes in the film, English language tracks, widescreen.

THE LAST INTERNATIONAL PLAYBOY

(2008)

Directed by Steve Clark

Starring Jason Behr, Mon Mazur, Krysten Ritter, Lucy Gordon, India Ennenga, Mike Landry, Lydia Hearst

MTI//Rated R//Drama//92 minutes

Available on: DVD

Jason Behr stars as Jack Frost, a New York lothario who begins to feel his lack of meaningful connections when his mother dies, and the only woman he's ever loved (Mazur) informs him she's marrying someone else. When Jack's illusion he needs no one is shattered, he falls into a drunken stupor that attracts the attentions of his precocious, 11-year-old neighbor Sophie (India Ennenga), and his friends (Ritter, Gordon, and Landry). DVD features: Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Slide Show, Web Interactive, Trailers, English language tracks, Spanish Subtitles, widescreen.

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