January 7, 2011 in Features

DVD releases: ‘Schmucks’ flashes brilliance

Philadelphia Inquirer
Coming up

Among upcoming DVD releases (schedule subject to change):

Tuesday: “Alpha and Omega,” “The Social Network,” “Piranha,” “Heartbreaker,” “The Freebie,” “Shake Hands With the Devil”

Jan. 18: “Takers,” “Buried,” “Stone,” “Paper Man,” “Jack Goes Boating,” “Freakonomics,” “Animal Kingdom,” “The Virginity Hit,” “Lebanon,” “Neshoba: The Price of Freedom”

Available on DVD this week:

“Dinner For Schmucks”: Steve Carell and Paul Rudd star in the sometimes very funny, sometimes not adaptation of a French farce about a dinner competition to see who can bring the biggest idiot to the table. Less cynical than the original, and with a stellar cast of comedic talents, this one’s more of a mismatched buddies/life-lesson comedy. (1:54; PG-13 for sequences of crude and sexual content, some partial nudity and language) • • •

“Machete”: Robert Rodriguez’s politically astute magnum opus is a maniacal, over-the-top, ultra-violent and sexually explicit paean to grindhouse films, starring Danny Trejo as a former Mexican cop who takes on corrupt politicians and gangsters in Texas. Co-stars Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Jeff Fahey, Lindsay Lohan and Robert De Niro add spice to what will surely become a cult classic. (1:45; R for strong bloody violence throughout, language, some sexual content and nudity.) • • •

“The Last Exorcism”: Patrick Fabian turns in a terrific performance in this taut, effective creepfest as a disillusioned preacher whose cynicism is challenged when he encounters a demonically possessed teenage girl (Ashley Bell). Excellent pacing and a stunning denouement make writer-director Daniel Stamm’s sophomore feature a satisfying, if not entirely original, treat. (1:40; PG-13 for disturbing violent content and terror, some sexual references and thematic material) • • •

“Catfish”: A New York photographer goes to rural Michigan to meet his Facebook hottie in this unsettling documentary about Internet intimacy and how you can pose as somebody else in cyberworld. A tricky little number that doesn’t always feel on the up and up, but disturbs nonetheless. (1:34; PG-13 for some sexual references) • • •

“The Yellow Handkerchief”: William Hurt, Kristen Stewart and the animated young Brit Eddie Redmayne take a road trip through Louisiana in this oddly moving drama – a throwback to the small, character-driven indies of yesteryear. With Maria Bello, from a short story by Pete Hamill. (1:42; PG-13 for sexual content, some violence, language and thematic elements) • • •

“Case 39”: A social worker (Renee Zellweger) fights to save a girl from her abusive parents, only to discover that the situation is more dangerous than she ever expected. (1:49; R for violence and terror, including disturbing images)

Also available: “Howl,” “Camille,” “Big Love: The Complete Fourth Season”

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