New on DVD

New on DVD

A Serious Man

Rated R for language, some sexuality/nudity, and brief violence
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This low budget dark comedy by the Coen brothers (No Country For Old Men) follows a 1960’s Midwestern professor whose life is falling apart around him.  His wife wants to leave him and expects him to be very OK with the proposition.  His money problems are mounting up on him.  He has a student attempting to blackmail him when he doesn’t accept a bribe.  His son is a pothead who even gets stoned on the day of his Bat Mitzvah.  His loser brother spends all of his time in their only bathroom, which puts a huge strain on their entire family.  There are some that think that this is a retelling of the book of Job from the Bible.  Others have even more detailed observances of the meanings of each of the picture’s little quirks.  The message boards are a blast to read with everyone having different insights and they are all correct in their own heads.  All I know is that I enjoyed it thoroughly.  The Coen brothers have such a unique filmmaking and storytelling style and this one is prime proof.  Watching the making of documentary, it doesn’t appear that the brothers had such deep thoughts as the folks in the audience, but regardless, it’s a clever, funny, ridiculous adventure that is very worthy of its Oscar nom for best picture this year.  I strongly advise to catch the short feature Hebrew and Yiddish for Goys which will teach you what you need to know to translate the film correctly.  A

Couples Retreat
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, and Jason Bateman lead an all star cast of four couples that are tricked into going to Bora Bora for what they think will be a vacation, but in reality turns out to be couples therapy.  There is so much talent here that I am perplexed how this got to be such a mediocre film.  These guys all know comedy well.  They all have great timing. Favreau and Vaughn have proven their writing skills in the past.  So maybe the beauty of Bora Bora was just too much for them?  There were a few decent one-liners that got through and the pro-marriage message was admirable, but why did it have to be so absolutely stupid and overall unfunny?  C- 

Amelia
Rated PG for some sensuality, language, thematic elements and smoking
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Hillary Swank is Amelia Earhart, the legendary female pilot that disappeared somewhere in the Pacific Ocean as she attempted fly around the world.  While it’s an overly long, horribly paced, and extremely boring look at the icon, Swank plays the part well and I like the history lesson, though I wish it were a little more exciting or at least interesting.  Great cinematography and a lush musical score are the highlights of the film, but can’t overcome the poor directing by Mira Nair, who should have been less concerned with making an epic and more concerned with telling a decent story.  C-

Dare
Rated R for sexual content, language, and alcohol use – all involving teens
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Emmy Rossum is a do-no-wrong high schooler that wants to be an actress.  When an actor she respects tells her that she has to actually live more uncomfortably to be a great actress, she starts having sex, partying, and doing things that go against the way she was raised.  The film takes some turns that don’t really make a lot of sense, like her moving in with her gay male friend when her parents feel she is acting up too much.  But that being said, I think some parents might like to watch just due to the fact that it’s a pretty real look at what kinds of messes kids get into when parents aren’t around.  Some might find the homosexual sex scenes very uncomfortable, but I’m convinced that there’s a touch of realism here pertinent to what kids are pressured with today.  B-

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