The New Release Rack: 'Friends With Kids' and Friends Who Want Kids
Plus 'Salmon Fishing,' 'Lockout,' 'Casa de mi Padre,' 'Intruders,' and more
"The Three Stooges" (Fox) - Peter and Bobby Farrelly spent years trying to bring their love of The Three Stooges to the screen in a modern reincarnation of the slapstick trio. After failed attempts with superstars attached, they made it happen with a cast of relative unknowns: Sean Hayes (of "Will and Grace") as fizzy-haired Larry, Chris Diamantopoulos as the bowl-cut bully Moe, and Will Sasso as the lunkhead Curly. Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Download, and On Demand. Reviewed on Videodrone here.
"Friends With Kids" (Lionsgate), from director / writer Jennifer Westfeldt, stars Westfeldt and Adam Scott as the last two singles in their group of friends (Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Jon Hamm, Chris O'Dowd, Megan Fox, and Edward Burns), so they decide to have a baby together while dating other people.
"It's an absurd idea on the face of it, as everyone around them understands," agrees MSN film critic Glenn Kenny. "But it's also a reasonably good premise for a postmodern screwball comedy, and Westfeldt and her excellent cast get a good amount of mileage out of it even as the film shamelessly resorts to the explicit poop gags that pretty much every film featuring babies (except, of course, "Babies") has nowadays."
On Blu-ray and DVD, with commentary with writer/director/actress Jennifer Westfeldt, actor/producer Jon Hamm and director of photography Will Rexer II, deleted scenes (with optional commentary), the featurette "Making Friends with Kids," two additional featurettes (with optional commentary), and a gag reel. Also available On Demand and at Redbox.
See a clip from the gag reel below. Click on "More" at the bottom of the page.
"Salmon Fishing in Yemen" (Sony) stars Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor in a story of a Sheikh who wants to bring sports fishing to the desert and British press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) who turns the impossible dream into a public relations story.
"Directed by Lasse Hallström, who has mined similar fields with films from "Chocolat" to "The Shipping News," "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" feels like three partial films jammed into the space one would normally allot for a full one," writes MSN film critic James Rocchi, who observes that they all "come together to make a whole that's a little less than the sum of its parts. The best thing about "Salmon Fishing," in fact, is the romance between McGregor and Blunt."
On Blu-ray and DVD, with the featurettes "Miracles Happen: Making Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" and "The Fisherman in the Middle East: Novelist Paul Torday." Also available On Demand and at Redbox.
"Lockout" (Sony), produced and co-written by Luc Besson, plays like "Escape From New York" relocated to a maximum security prison in space, with Guy Pearce as a government agent framed for murder and offered amnesty in exchange for saving the President's daughter (Maggie Grace) from the prisoners, who have taken over the space station facility during her visit.
MSN film critic Glenn Kenny warns that "While the byplay between Pearce and Grace is not un-fun, and some of the action satisfying, "Lockout" is a largely half-hearted effort in which some of the major set pieces are so indifferently executed that they literally look exactly like sequences out of video games. The movie's not an active pain to sit through, particularly if you are indeed a fan of its genre, but it's also about as instantly forgettable as they come."
The Blu-ray and DVD both present an unrated version of the film along with two featurettes: "Breaking Into Lockout" and "A Vision of the Future: Production Design and Special Effects." Also available On Demand and at Redbox.
"Casa de Mi Padre" (Lionsgate) is a parody of Mexican telenovellas and melodramas starring Will Ferrell (speaking entirely in poorly-accented Spanish), Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Genesis Rodriguez. It turned out to be a misfire for Ferrell. "I found the experience of sitting through the relatively scant 80-plus minutes of the movie to be thoroughly tedious," confesses MSN film critic Glenn Kenny. "Humor being a subjective matter, of course, your experience may be different. But, to paraphrase a former editor of mine, if it is, maybe we shouldn't have lunch anytime soon."
On Blu-ray and DVD, with commentary by director Matt Piedmont, writer / producer Andrew Steele, and actor / producer Will Ferrell, plus a featurette, an interview with co-star Pedro Armendáriz Jr., and four faux commercials among the supplements. Also available On Demand and at Redbox.
"Intruders" (Millennium), from Spanish filmmaker Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, stars Clive Owen, Carice Van Houten, and Pilar López de Ayala as the parents of children tormented and assaulted by a supernatural figure called Hollow Face that takes shaped in the shadows. "The monster that creeps into the satisfyingly shivery horror film "Intruders" doesn't just hide under the bed, it also lurks in dark corners, including those dimmed by your own imagination," writes New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis. Daniel Brühl and Kerry Fox co-star. On Blu-ray and DVD, with two featurettes.
"4:44 Last Day on Earth" (eOne) is Abel Ferrara's end of the world film, starring Willem Dafoe and Shanyn Leigh as lovers who spend their last hours of existence secluded in their Manhattan apartment. "It's not an entirely original observation to speculate that, faced with not just their own doom but the extinction of their race, people will act in the same self-interested and petty ways that they do in everyday life, in which they're assuring themselves that they in fact do have a future," observes MSN film critic Glenn Kenny. "This is pretty standard not-with-a-bang-but-with-a-whimper-punctuated-by-an-occasional-blowup stuff." Blu-ray and DVD, no supplements.
"Extraterrestrial" (eOne) is an alien invasion film about the folks who decide to just hole up and wait it out, in particular a couple who wake up after a one-night-stand and discover the city is deserted and a space ship is hovering overhead. In essence, it's a romantic comedy in a state of emergency where no one is under any particularly sense of urgency. Which is part of the film's dry humor. Nacho Vigalondo directs the tongue-in-cheek science fiction comedy from Spain. In Spanish with English subtitles, with a featurette and bonus short films. DVD only. More reviews here.
Bela Tarr says that "The Turin Horse" (Cinema Guild) will be his last film. Inspired an incident that reportedly sent Friedrich Nietzsche into a fatal depression, it is a somber, austere drama shot in black and white in long, slow takes. The DVD includes commentary by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, Bela Tarr's 1978 short film "Hotel Magnezit," and a press conference from the 2011 Berlin Film Festival. The Blu-ray edition adds a conversation with Tarr recorded in 2007 at the Walker Art Center. Reviews here.
"The Fairy" (Kino Lorber) is a tale of three wishes, romantic delirium, magical fantasy, and slapstick comedy, from the filmmaking team of Dominique Abel (who stars as the recipient of said wishes), Fiona Gordon (who also the plays The Fairy), and Bruno Romy. On Blu-ray and DVD. Reviews here.
"The Beat Hotel" (First Run) looks back at the culture of American ex-pat bohemian artists in Paris Latin Quarter in the 1950s, centered around Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso and others. "The arts documentarian Alan Govenar takes his turn at burnishing the legend with The Beat Hotel, a mild-mannered primer centered on the cheapo Paris boardinghouse," writes Nicolas Rapold in The New York Times. DVD only, with bonus short films and other supplements.
"Never Stand Still: Dancing at Jacob's Pillow" (First Run) profiles new performances at the annual dance festival. DVD only, with bonus performances and additional interviews. Reviews here. "Patriocracy" (Cinema Libre) examines the roots of political polarization in modern politics. DVD only, with bonus interviews.
"Patagonia Rising" (First Run) looks at the battle over plans to dam up the rivers that flow through Chile's Patagonia region, and "Fixation" (First Run) is about the fixed-gear cycling culture. Both DVD only, with supplements.
"Get the Gringo" (Fox), a prison drama written and produced by and starring Mel Gibson, skipped theaters altogether and debuted On Demand a couple of months ago. Now it arrives on Blu-ray and DVD, with a small collection of featurettes. Reviews here.
"Black Butterflies" (Tribeca) stars Carice van Houten as Ingrid Jonker, a poet in Apartheid South Africa in the sixties, and Rutger Hauer as her father. "Here" (Strand) stars Ben Foster as an American engineer in Armenia who travels into uncharted territory with an expatriate photographer (Lubna Azabal). Peter Coyote co-stars. Both DVD only.