Recently released on DVD and Blu-ray
The following is a list of recently released DVDs. All capsule reviews have been taken from The Washington Post's Weekend section.
"Due Date" (R, 95 minutes): With "Due Date," director Todd Phillips perfects the particular brand of comic alchemy. Like "The Hangover," this film features mismatched guys who don't know each other very well on a road trip punctuated by ever-more-outrageous and physically painful mishaps. Of course, the main thing the film has in common with "The Hangover" is Zach Galifianakis, the portly comedian who betrays uncommon grace despite his heavy frame. He's an unself-conscious man-child, unfettered by the laws that govern the rest of us. That pretty much sums up Ethan Tremblay, Galifianakis's character who meets architect Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr.) at the Atlanta airport. The two embark on a cross-country car trip so that Peter can attend the birth of his first child. It's a concept that was no doubt pitched to studio executives in one elevator ride, and most likely that's why it works so efficiently. Contains profanity, drug use and sexual content.
"Get Low" (PG-13, 102 minutes): A recluse living in the woods outside a small Southern town during the Depression, Robert Duvall's character, Felix Bush, has the long gray beard of someone plucked straight from the pages of the Old Testament; a man of mystery and menace, he's something of a local legend in town, where people whisper about Felix's past sins, which may or may not include murder. Fed up with the gossip, Felix decides to throw his own funeral, just to hear what people say about him. He enlists the help of the local undertakers, one a sober, sincere apprentice named Buddy (Lucas Black) and Buddy's boss, a sardonic sharpie named Frank Quinn (Bill Murray). Burnished with the amber glow of nostalgia and period detail, the movie offers welcome respite from the shiny, cacophonous fare usually offered during the summer. Contains thematic material and brief violent content.
Also on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 22: "Fish Tank"; "Megamind" (Feb. 25); "Mesirine: Killer Instinct"; "The Sweet Smell of Success: Criterion."
"Waiting for Superman" (PG, 111 minutes): In filmmaker Davis Guggenheim's movie, D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee comes across as a heroic, if polarizing, reformer. If there's a villain in the piece, it's Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers. Her union, and its historical institutional resistance to teacher evaluations, merit pay and the elimination of automatic tenure, are here seen as self-serving. But there are others in the film with greater emotional pull, such as Geoffrey Canada. The founder of the Harlem Success Academy, a much-sought-after charter school in New York, gives the film its title when he tells the story of his childhood disappointment upon learning that TV's Superman wasn't real and would never be coming to save him. In the end, this film argues, it isn't the adults who matter in this fight, but the millions of children.Contains references to drug abuse and troubled families.
"You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger" (R, 98 minutes): Woody Allen's film opens with the paraphrase of a quote from "Macbeth." Life, as narrator Zak Orth tells us in the incongruously chirpy voice-over, is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury but ultimately signifying nothing. In terms of fatalism, Shakespeare's doomed Scotsman has nothing on Allen. This film is filled with people stuck in, on the way out of or about to enter into unhappy and/or unwise relationships. Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) has left his wife of 40 years, Helena (Gemma Jones). She "allowed herself to become old," he tells his much younger new flame, Charmaine (Lucy Punch), a blowsy prostitute. Helena, after an attempted suicide, has found solace in the counsel of a clairvoyant (Pauline Collins). Contains obscenity, sexual themes and references to an attempted suicide.
Also on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 15: "Moonstruck: Blu-ray"; "Unstoppable"; "Top Gear: 14 and 15."
"It's Kind of a Funny Story" (PG-13, 115 minutes): There's very little that's even kind of funny in "It's Kind of a Funny Story," which can't accurately be described as a comedy but isn't a true drama, either. Keir Gilchrist stars as a Brooklyn high school student named Craig, who, pronouncing himself overwhelmed by "grades, girls, two wars, impending environmental catastrophe and an imploding economy," commits himself to psychiatric care at a hospital. The youth ward is full, so Craig spends five days in the adult ward, where he learns lessons about life and growing up from its motley clientele. Gilchrist delivers an unobjectionable but undistinguished performance as a teenager whose journey ultimately feels frivolously low-stakes. And Emma Roberts has been woefully miscast as a patient named Noelle, whose character needs more ballast than Roberts's decidedly non-edgy persona. Contains obscenity, drug use, sensuality and poop humor.
"Life as We Know It" (PG-13, 115 minutes): After watching this silly, cliche-ridden romantic comedy, you might feel an urge to disavow membership in the club suggested by its all-embracing title. Whose life are we talking about, exactly? There's really only one tiny group of people on the planet for whom the "life" as depicted in this film will feel the least bit recognizable: Hollywood movie producers. I can almost hear the pitch meeting: There's this married couple with a baby, see? And then the couple dies in a tragic car accident, leaving their orphaned, 1-year-old daughter in the care of her hot, single godparents. The beauty part? They hate each other's guts! Conveniently enough, there are no blood relatives who can take in the kid. That leaves Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) to move in together and try to make the best of a stupid situation. Contains obscenity, drug use, sensuality and poop humor.