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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Inside Job, Jackass 3D, and Others on DVD this week

Apologies for the late posting. Life has been hectic, and my finger is still... incapacitated. But, such is blogging, no?

On DVD this week, five films are being released. A few promising films that turned flop, and a couple of surprises that wound up highlighting the year all the way from left field. Morning Glory, Jackass 3D, Four Lions, Inside Job, and The Next Three Days. The most important thing, however, is which one is worth your money! Let's take a closer look, yeah?

I'd like to start with one of the biggest surprises of last year, for me - Jackass. Admittedly, I'm a fairly big Johnny Knoxville fan. His screen presence is huge, and he's a decently talented actor. I find him compulsively watchable. Even if he's electrocuting his friends, or getting hit in the balls, or vomiting, or getting hit in the balls, or getting hit in the balls. He's just... fun to watch. So, as a fan of the show, and of the last couple of films, I was surprised even at myself at how much I enjoyed this outing of violent and stupid behavior - please note, I'm not one of those guys who tried to perform these stunts when growing up (except for the grocery store jousting. I did that one.) But, I enjoyed it from this perspective: it wasn't made to please anyone but the people involved, and eventually, it became what will surely be a staple in the 3D discussion. Live action 3D is something that isn't used fairly well. And without the over-abundance of computer effects, the 3D in this film is... mind-blowingly impressive. I'll be around for the fourth one. If indeed there is a fourth one.

The special features are as follows, from the film's Amazon page -

MTV Making Of Special
Deleted Scenes
Time Magazine Trailer

The film is on all DVD formats (as well as Blu-Ray), and maintains its 3D structure. So, you went to see a 3D film, you will be buying a 3D film. 

More after the cut --

Also on DVD this week is the recent Oscar winning documentary feature Inside Job, from Charles Ferguson. His documentary sheds an even brighter light on the forces of evil in our economy, and what brought us here. In his Oscar acceptance speech, he said outright that the people responsible should have been jailed, and it's ridiculous that no arrests have been made. I agree, but that isn't the purpose of this. This is supposed to be a quick little film review, and a look at the DVD, so I'll do my best to stick to that. 

even though arrests should have been made. 

The film itself is incredibly dry and straight forward. It felt more like a newsreel than a documentary film, but the content is solid enough for me to still recommend it to anyone interested. Ferguson is an excellent director with a lot to say, and this is a film that deserves to be seen. However, it isn't one that will be easily enjoyed. If you like watching CNN or MSNBC or channels like that, then you can get through this without a problem. I do, so I did. But, in comparison to other Oscar winning documentaries, it's a dip down in taste, I think - consider An Inconvenient Truth, or especially Deliver Us From Eva. 

The film's special features, from its Amazon page, are a making of featurette and a feature commentary from director Ferguson. Matt Damon narrates the film. 

Also on DVD this week - 

Four Lions - An hysterically funny film about four Arabic jihadists whose personal ideals clash with their "career goals". It, like Inside Job in a way, is not a film for everyone. But, if you can get the joke early on and flow with the sarcasm, it's a film that excels above most comedies last year, and winds up being one of the most enjoyable endeavors of the year. Consider it a companion piece to the equally funny In the Loop from 2009, and watch it that way. It makes the razor sharp, remarkably funny dialog even more razor sharp and remarkable. 

Morning Glory - Another film that had a load of promise, but not much delivery. Which is a shame, considering that the cast is excellent. It's the screenplay that does a major disservice to most everyone involved, except Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford who easily rise above the material. It's watchable, at the most, but don't expect anything great. Jeff Goldblum and Diane Keaton are a lot of fun, but their considerable talent is wasted by the screenplay. 

The Next Three Days - Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks star in this... defused bomb of a thriller. Paul Haggis is a wonderful filmmaker, and has explored several important themes in his films. But here, it's almost like he's just getting a paycheck. If we look back to films like the Best Picture winner Crash, or even In the Valley of Elah, Haggis has displayed his engrossing directorial talent. Though, with this film, it seems mostly phoned in. However, the one saving grace in terms of performances in this film is a small scene with Brian Denehey and Crowe. You'll know it when you see it. It's more powerful than the film itself. 

For more information on these films and the DVDs, click the titles above.

Go out and pick up a movie. You've a long week ahead of you. And if I had to recommend one this week, it would most definitely be Jackass 3D. Loads of fun, and extremely impressive techs. Check out Four Lions if you have the time. You won't regret that one, definitely. 

What will you be seeing? Drop a comment below and stir things up!