New Release Round-Up: The Next Three Days of Morning Glory, Jackass
Plus "Four Lions," "Every Day" and the Oscar-winning "Inside Job"
To jump on a cliché, if there is one film you should see in this week's batch of new releases, it is "Inside Job" (Sony), Charles Ferguson's damning (and as of last week, Academy Award winning) exposé of the story behind the financial crisis. Read my review on Videodrone here and read on for more releases (of a generally less weighty nature).
"The Next Three Days" (Lionsgate)
Russell Crowe is a husband who will do anything for his wife, including break her out of prison when she is wrongly convicted of murder. "(W)hile it may make the occasional misstep, it represents a steady-handed and modest effort from writer-director Paul Haggis," writes MSN Critic James Rocchi, who maintains that "watching Haggis simply work the pulses, guts and adrenal glands of the audience is decidedly more pleasant than having him clamber into our laps to appeal to our hearts, minds and souls." Brian Dennehy, Olivia Wilde and Liam Neeson co-star.
It's available as both a stand-alone DVD and a Blu-ray+DVD combo pack featuring a code for a digital download copy that only works through iTunes. The Blu-ray edition features commentary by director Paul Haggis, producer Michael Nozik, and editor Jo Francis, the made-for-cable promotional featurette "Making The Next Three Days" and the shorter "The Men of The Next Three Days" and "True Escapes for Love" (a seven-minute segment from "America's Most Wanted"), plus twelve minutes of deleted scenes, six minutes of extended scenes and a gag reel. (I didn't receive a DVD and the press release is unclear as to what exactly is included on that release.) The film is also available via Digital Download and On Demand.
"Morning Glory" (Paramount) - The perfectly adorable Rachel McAdams plays the perky young producer of a failing morning show on a last-place network hired to improve ratings and forced to play referee between the feuding hosts (Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton). "The ups and mostly downs that follow play like weekly episodes in a sitcom almost entirely devoid of comic zing or consistency," complains MSN critic Kat Murphy, who lays the blame with McAdams ("Hard to care about the career success of a young woman who's more Energizer Bunny than creature of flesh and blood and human feelings") and Ford ("what's equally responsible for blighting "Morning Glory" is Harrison Ford's dead-in-the-water performance"). Patrick Wilson and Jeff Goldblum co-star.
Both the DVD and Blu-ray releases features Commentary by director Roger Michell and writer Aline Brosh McKenna and a deleted scene (presented in HD on Blu-ray)
"Jackass 3" (Paramount) - "Talk about an almost entirely self-explanatory title to an almost entirely review-proof movie," begins MSN critic Glenn Kenny in his review of the third big screen installment of the MTV hit featuring manboy pranksters performing ridiculous and dangerous stunts for the camera. "(T)here has been some speculation recently as to whether the "Jackass" project constitute a pop conceptual art coup rather than just a bunch of not-quite-fratty guys with issues engaging in elaborate and pointless rituals of self-abuse. My own question is, well, what's the difference anyway?"
The single-disc DVD includes both the R-rated theatrical version and a longer unrated edition, along with a made-for-MTV "making of" special, deleted scenes and outtakes. The film was released in 3D in the theaters, and sure enough, these jokesters have provided a 3D edition on a Limited Edition Two-Disc DVD that you can view without those new high-tech TVs. This one you watch with those old red and green-tinted glasses (there's four pair included with each set). The two-disc Blu-ray set includes the 3D DVD version and adds more deleted scenes and outtakes to the supplements, plus a digital copy of the original theatrical version.
Check out this exclusive clip:
A black comedy of Jihad with a cast of slapstick suicide bombers, "Four Lions" (Magnet) is easily the most daring attempt to mine laughs from terrorism. New York Times critic calls it "A shockingly hilarious, stiletto-sharp satire directed by Chris Morris and written by a squad of British wits," while Roger Ebert describes it as " impossible to categorize. It's an exceedingly dark comedy, a wicked satire, a thriller where the thrills center on the incompetence of the villains." The DVD features behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes and storyboards among the supplements.
"Every Day" (Image) is a romantic comedy starring Liev Schreiber as a TV scriptwriter on a flamboyantly scandalous show (inspired by writer/director Richard Levine's time on "Nip/Tuck") and co-starring Helen Hunt, Carla Gugino, Brian Dennehy and Eddie Izzard. "Very well written and acted, Every Day feels like a glorified television drama softened with comic and surreal trimmings," writes New York Times critic Stephen Holden. The DVD and Blu-ray releases include cast interviews and deleted scenes.
Also new this week:
- "Helena From The Wedding" (Film Movement), an American independent starring Melanie Lynskey, Lee Tergesen and Gillian Jacobs as Helena
- "Letters to Father Jacob" (Olive), a drama of redemption from Finland
- "The Zombie Farm" (Maya), which is, yes, a zombie horror with a dash of voodoo.
- "Rage" (Strand), a Spanish-language thriller from director Sebastián Cordero ("Crónicas")
- "A Beautiful Life" (Image), a drama of life on the streets of L.A. with Jesse Garcia, Bail Ling and Dana Delany