This Week’s DVD Releases: What are they Worth?
Worth a Rental:
With Matt Damon.
Here’s a film I thoroughly enjoyed during my theatrical viewing, with Matt Damon turning in one of my favorite performances of the year. I would say buy it, but I’m not sure how this one is going to hold up to repeat viewings and it’s definitely not for everyone. Soderbergh is one of our most efficient filmmakers, alternating between mainstream flicks and passion projects. What amazes me most about him is his ability to turn a story (like this one) that has no business being made into a major motion picture into a great film. Erin Brockovich is another prime example, as it is basically a Lifetime-caliber story that he made into an Oscar winner. The Informant! is hilarious and features some of the greatest voiceovers outside of Terrence Malick.
RIYL: American Psycho, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
With Cameron Diaz, James Marsden and Frank Langella.
The Box is a high-concept, incredibly gripping thriller. It raises some interesting questions as a couple (Diaz and Marsden) is presented with a series of propositions. The ending gets a little messy as they try to pull the whole thing together in the final act, but I loved the pacing and the framing of the shots throughout. Each shot looked well-developed and thought out. Sure, Cameron Diaz is pretty awful and her southern accent is extremely irritating, but she becomes little more than an afterthought down the stretch as Marsden’s character really becomes the catalyst for everything that goes down. Remember that Nicolas Cage movie, Knowing? This is the film that Knowing wanted to be.
RIYL: Knowing, The Day the Earth Stood Still (original, obviously)
With Robert DeNiro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell.
This one flopped during its theatrical run ($9 million gross), but it has “decent rental” written all over it. The sap gets lathered on a little think towards the end, but the charismatic performances from DeNiro and his exceptionally good-looking “kids” make Everybody’s Fine a prime candidate for “family DVD night.” My biggest complaint with the movie is the embarrassing photoshopping job of DeNiro’s face on the DVD cover. His mouth makes him look like an E-Trade baby with gray hair.
RIYL: Mrs. Doubtfire, The Family Stone.
Sorority Row: I haven’t seen this one, but I’m sure it was much better when it was called I Know What You Did Last Summer and starred Jennifer Love Hewitt at the peak of her hotness. I’d skip it.
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant: I love John C. Reilly, but I doubt I’ll ever get around to watching this. Plus, I hate overly long titles on movies that aren’t even sequels. It just proves that they weren’t confident in the finished product. It’s like “whoa, let’s throw ‘freak’ AND ‘vampire’ in the title… we’ll double our demographic!” Lame.