DVD of the Week
This handsome tale of magician Edward Norton who tries to woo the ravishing Jessica Biel away from nasty emperor Rufus Sewell won over audiences thanks to its sharp sense of storytelling and vivid period sense. (It's also a little easier to follow than The Prestige.) Norton is particularly excellent as the charismatic conjurer with nothing up his sleeve, and Prague provides a seductive fairytale setting. With commentary and an interview with LaBiel.
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They pitched it as Speed without the bus, and they weren't lying. British fall guy Jason Statham (The Transporter ) is the hit-man on the verge of retirement who wakes up to find himself dosed with a "Beijing Cocktail." If he wants to live, he's going to have to keep his adrenalin level up by all means necessary. In a movie as jacked up as its lead character, that means snorting cocaine, starting fistfights and shagging girlfriend Amy Smart in public in front of a bus of Japanese tourists. In a word, awesome.
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This Mike Judge sci-fi comedy was inexplicably dumped into theatres by Fox without any promotion--maybe they found some of the jokes hitting too close to the bone. Luke Wilson wakes up a thousand years in the future to discover a world that could have been invented by Beavis & Butthead, complete with an Ultimate Fighting Champion-turned-president and hand jobs for sale at Starbucks. A portrait of our stupid nation that will make you laugh 'til it hurts ... and it hurts.
Robin Williams is a despondent DJ who begins getting calls from a kid who has suffered a lifetime of abuse. When the boy asks for help in publishing his memoirs, Williams decides to track him down. Yet proving his existence isn't easy ... This low-key who-wrote-it? came a little too hard on the heels of the James Frey/JT Leroy scandals to make much of an impact, but both Williams and Toni Collette are impressive.
A quinceanera is a coming-of-age celebration held when a girl turns 15. With its stretch limos, fancy duds and mobile discos, it's a little like a Hispanic bat mitzvah. Echo Park resident Magdalena's bash gets just a little more complicated when she becomes pregnant, and is tossed out of the house to live with her gay cousin and an elderly uncle. On paper, this Sundance hit sounds incredibly schematic. Instead, it's a delightful charmer that provides a keen cross-section of a changing L.A.
If there's anything that will get Hank Williams spinning in his grave other than Rascal Flatts, it's watching the linebacker-like Toby Keith stumble his way through this drama. The singer is a faded country star trying to reconnect with the daughter he never knew, yadda yadda yadda. This helping of country corn comes with a side helping of Willie Nelson and Burt Reynolds for added redneck value.
Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz, both in leather chaps. So what went wrong? Although this cowgirl western was barely given a wide release, it's exactly the sort of dopey fun to be expected. The two friends display their obvious chemistry, while spoofing their Latina images as a rich girl and tomboy who start robbing banks to save their pueblo from a ruthless landlord. Keep the pause button at the ready, there is a catfight.
Movies about artists usually involve much anguish and flying paint pots. Maurice Pialat's 1992 masterpiece, covering the last two months of the Sunflowers painter's anguished existence, takes a different angle. It's almost meditative in its contemplation of the earless artist, inviting the viewer to look at the world as he did. As a destitute Vincent, contemptuously leeching off his patrons and friends, French pop star Jacques Dutronc redefines the word "smouldering." A must-see.
Since Ricky Gervais perfected the obnoxious oaf with The Office, his latest HBO/BBC series gives the likes of Ben Stiller and Samuel L. Jackson the chance to do the same. Satirizing show biz hubris is a little like shooting the side of an elephant, but you have to laugh when Patrick Stewart tells Gervais about his dream project. And you're going to want to see Kate Winslet offer some phone sex advice while dressed as a nun. With deleted scenes and a documentary on trying to get Leo DiCaprio to guest-star.
The addictive 'toon for kids is back, and the underwater crab flipper can still put a smile on adults' faces, too. Putting one season on two separate packages is kind of a gouge, but there are 10 episodes new to DVD and two unseen episodes, including "Hocus Pocus," where His Bobness thinks he's turned Squidward into ice cream, and "The Thing," where Squidward becomes SquarePants' pet.
Kiefer Sutherland loves the music of Rocco DeLuca so much that he created a record label, signed the slide guitarist to it, and then appointed himself tour manager. This documentary follows the motley crew on a two-week European tour, with Sutherland using his celebrity to shine the light on an unknown. DeLuca's music is good enough to justify the 24 star's interest, and Sutherland's clowning around (including a YouTube moment when he tackles a Christmas tree) nicely offsets the musician's intensity.