OnVideo JUNE Video Reviews
CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC
Rebecca Bloomwood is a sweet and charming New York City girl who has a tiny, little problem that is rapidly turning into a big problem: she's hopelessly addicted to shopping and drowning in a sea of debt. While Rebecca has dreams of working for a top fashion magazine, she can't quite get her foot in the door -- that is, until she snags a job as an advice columnist for a new financial magazine published by the same company. Overnight, her column becomes hugely popular, turning her into a celebrity. But when her compulsive shopping and growing debt issues threaten to destroy her love life and derail her career, she struggles to keep it all from spiraling out of control ... and is ultimately forced to reevaluate what's really important in life.
Director: P.J. Hogan. Stars: Isla Fisher, Joan Cusack, John Goodman, Hugh Dancy, Krysten Ritter, John Lithgow, Kristin Scott Thomas, Leslie Bibb, Lynn Redgrave, Julie Hagerty, Fred Armisen, Robert Stanton, Christine Ebersole, Clea Lewis, Wendie Malick, Stephanie March. 2009, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 112 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $43.997 million, Disney. Available: 6/23.
Immigrants from around the world enter Los Angeles every day, with hopeful visions of a better life, but little notion of what that life may cost. Their desperate scenarios test the humanity of immigration enforcement officers. Harrison Ford stars as a Los Angeles Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officer charged with enforcing the United States border laws. Multiple storylines, including document fraud, naturalization, and counter-terrorism, all intersect through a shattering missing person investigation he undertakes. Film explores the allure of the American dream, and the reality that immigrants find -- and create -- in 21st century L.A.
Director: Wayne Kramer. Stars: Harrison Ford, Cliff Curtis, Ashley Judd, Sean Penn, Ray Liotta, Alicia Braga, Alice Eve, Jim Sturgess. 2009, CC, MPAA rating: R, 113 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.454 million, The Weinstein Company. Available: 6/9 .
Based on an extraordinary true story, "Defiance" is a tale of family, honor, vengeance and salvation in World War II. The year is 1941 and the Jews of Eastern Europe are being massacred by the thousands. Managing to escape certain death, three brothers take refuge in the dense surrounding woods they have known since childhood. There they begin their desperate battle against the Nazis. Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell star as brothers who turn a primitive struggle to survive into something far more consequential -- a way to avenge the deaths of their loved ones by saving thousands of others. At first it's all they can do to stay alive. But gradually, as whispers of their daring spreads, they begin to attract others -- men and women, young and old -- willing to risk everything for the sake of even a moment's freedom. Tuvia (Craig) is a reluctant leader and his decisions are challenged by his brother, Zus (Schreiber) who worries that Tuvia's idealistic plans will doom them all. Asael (Bell) is the youngest -- caught between his brothers' fierce rivalry. As a brutal winter descends, they work to create a community, and to keep faith alive when all humanity appears to be lost.
Director: Edward Zwick. Stars: Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, Jamie Bell, Alexa Davalos, Allan Corduner, Mark Feuerstein. 2009, CC, MPAA rating: R, 136 min., Drama, Box office gross: $28.260 million, Paramount. Available: 6/2.
Ford High's star football players Shawn Colfax and Nick Brady scheme to ditch football camp so they can spend the summer surrounded by beautiful girls…at cheer camp. The guys are having the time of their lives as they use their new reputation as "sensitive guys" to talk the hotties into skinny dipping, cheering naked, and hooking up. But when Shawn falls for the gorgeous head cheerleader, the players must change their game to prove Shawn's intentions before the thrilling cheer competition finals.
Director: Will Gluck. Stars: Nicholas D'Agosto, Eric Christian Olsen, Sarah Roemer, AnnaLynne McCord. 2008, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 90 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $17.231 million, Sony. Available: 6/9.
FRIDAY THE 13TH
Searching for his missing sister, a young man, Clay, heads up to the eerie woods of legendary Crystal Lake where he stumbles on the creaky remains of rotting old cabins that lie in wait behind moss-covered trees. And that's not the only thing hiding under the brush. Against the advice of police and cautions from the locals, Clay pursues what few leads he has with the help of a young woman he meets among a group of college kids up for an all-thrills weekend. But they are about to find much more than they bargained for. Little do they know they've entered the domain of one of the most terrifying specters in American film history -- the infamous killer who haunts Crystal Lake armed with a razor-sharp machete ... Jason Voorhees.
Director: Marcus Nispel. Stars: Jared Padalecki, Derek Mears, Amanda Righetti, Danielle Panabaker, Travis Van Winkle, Aaron Yoo, Adam Finberg, Nick Mennell, Jonathan Sadowski, Nana Visitor, Arlen Escarpeta, Ryan Hansen, Richard Burgi, Julianna Guill, Willa Ford. 2009, CC, MPAA rating: R, 98 min., Horror, Box office gross: $64.997 million, Warner. Available: 6/16.
Another superb outing by director-actor Clint Eastwood. Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) is a widower, a grumpy, tough-minded, borderline-hateful, unhappy old man who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbors, a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1973 Gran Torino he keeps in cherry condition. When his neighbor Tao, a young Hmong teenager, tries to steal the Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Tao's family, Kowalski is soon taking steps to protect them from the gangs that foul their neighborhood. A straight-ahead, no-frills actioner with a big heart.
Director: Clint Eastwood. Stars: Clint Eastwood, Cory Hardrict, Brian Haley, Brian Howe, Dreama Walker, Christopher Carley. 2008, CC, MPAA rating: R, 116 min., Drama, Box office gross: $145.095 million, Warner. Available: 6/9.
HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU
Based on the popular bestseller from "Sex and the City" scribes Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, the comedy tells the stories of a group of interconnected, Baltimore-based twenty- and thirty-somethings as they navigate their various relationships from the shallow end of the dating pool through the deep, murky waters of married life, trying to read the signs of the opposite sex ... and hoping to be the exceptions to the "no-exceptions" rule. Gigi just wants a man who says he'll call -- and does -- while Alex advises her to stop sitting by the phone. Beth wonders if she should call it off after years of committed singlehood with her boyfriend, Neil, but he doesn't think there's a single thing wrong with their unmarried life. Janine's not sure if she can trust her husband, Ben, who can't quite trust himself around Anna. Anna can't decide between the sexy married guy, or her straightforward, no-sparks standby, Conor, who can't get over the fact that he can't have her. And Mary, who's found an entire network of loving, supportive men, just needs to find one who's straight.
Director: Ken Kwapis. Stars: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Ginnifer Goodwin, Scarlett Johansson, Justin Long. 2009, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 129 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $93.141 million, Warner. Available: 6/2.
Based on the book by Cornelia Funke, "Inkheart" is an adventure tale of imagination that centers on Meggie, a young girl whose father has a secret ability to bring characters from books to life when he reads them aloud. But when a power-hungry villain from a rare children's fable kidnaps Meggie's father to bring others out of the boundaries of fiction, she and a disparate group of friends -- both real and magic -- embark on the kind of adventure she has only read about in books to save him and set things right. <
Director: Iain Softley. Stars: Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Jim Broadbent, Helen Mirren, Andy Serkis, Rafi Gavron, Sienna Guillory. 2009, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 105 min., Family, Box office gross: $17.281 million, Warner. Available: 6/23.
Interpol agent Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) is determined to expose an arms dealing ring responsible for facilitating acts of terrorism around the globe. Salinger and his partner, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Whitman (Naomi Watts), follow the money from Berlin to Milan to New York to Istanbul. As they probe deeper into the secret world of greed, corruption and murder they uncover the organization behind it all -- one of the world's most powerful banks. Their relentless tenacity puts their own lives at risk as their targets will stop at nothing to continue financing terror and war, and they soon find the only people left to trust ... are each other.
Director: Tom Tykwer. Stars: Armin Mueller-Stahl, Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Ulrich Thomsen, Brían F. O'Byrne. 2008, CC, MPAA rating: R, 118 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $61.810 million, Sony. Available: 6/9.
JONAS BROTHERS: THE CONCERT EXPERIENCE -- DELUXE EXTENDED MOVIE
A 3-D concert film of the 2008 Jonas Brothers "Burning Up" concert tour, as well as documentary footage on the lives of the three brothers.
PINK PANTHER 2, THE
Steve Martin reprises the role of intrepid-if-bumbling French police detective Inspector Jacques Clouseau. When legendary treasures from around the world are stolen, including the priceless Pink Panther diamond, Chief Inspector Dreyfus (John Cleese) is forced to assign Clouseau to a team of international detectives and experts charged with catching the thief and retrieving the stolen artifacts.
Director: Harald Zwart. Stars: Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Andy Garcia, John Cleese, Alfred Molina, Molly Sims, Aishwarya Rai, Yuki Matsuzaki, Lily Tomlin. 2009, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 92 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $35.922 million, MGM. Available: 6/23 .
Adapted from the groundbreaking novel by Richard Yates, "Revolutionary Road" won Kate Winslet her first Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture -- Drama. Reuniting DiCaprio and Winslet for the first time on screen since "Titanic," the incisive portrait of a 1950s American marriage unfolds as an enthralling drama that is moving, thought-provoking and revelatory. Frank and April Wheeler, a married couple in the 1950s, have always seen themselves as special, different, ready and willing to live their lives based on higher ideals. So, as soon as they move into their new house on Revolutionary Road, they proudly declare their independence from the suburban inertia that surrounds them and determine never to be trapped by the social confines of their era. Yet for all their charm, beauty and irreverence, the Wheelers find themselves becoming exactly what they didn't expect: a good man with a routine job whose nerve has gone missing; a less-than-happy homemaker starving for fulfillment and passion; an American family with lost dreams, like any other. Driven to change their fates, April hatches an audacious plan to start all over again, to leave the comforts of Connecticut behind for the great unknown of Paris. But when the plan is put in motion, each spouse is pushed to extremes -- one to escape whatever the cost, the other to save all that they have, no matter the compromises.
Director: Sam Mendes. Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates, Kathryn Hahn, Michael Shannon, Zoe Kazan, David Harbour. 2008, CC, MPAA rating: R, 119 min., Drama, Box office gross: $22.575 million, Paramount. Available: 6/2.
STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN-LI
Based on the wildly popular Street Fighter video game series. In this classic story of good vs. evil, Chun-Li must stand strong against the Shadaloo syndicate who is determined to take over Bangkok slums already teeming with a dangerous criminal element. Previously adapted for the screen in the 1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme film of the same name.
Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak. Stars: Kristin Kreuk, Michael Clarke Duncan, Neal McDonough, Taboo, Chris Klein, Moon Bloodgood, Edmund Chen, Cheng Pei Pei, Josie Ho, Robin Shou. 2009, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 97 min., Action, Box office gross: $8.737 million, Fox. Available: 6/30.
When New Orleans Police Detective Danny Fisher (WWE's John Cena) stops a brilliant thief from getting away with a multi-million dollar heist, the thief's girlfriend is accidentally killed. After escaping from prison, the criminal mastermind enacts his revenge, taunting the cop with a series of near-impossible puzzles and tasks -- 12 Rounds of dangerous games -- that Fisher must complete to save the life of his own fiancee.
Director: Renny Harlin. Stars: John Cena, Steve Harris, Aidan Gillen, Brian White, Gonzalo Menendez. 2008, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 108 min., Action Thriller, Box office gross: $11.812 million, Fox. Available: 6/30.
Set in the insular world of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. A charismatic but troubled young man (Joaquin Phoenix) moves back into his childhood home following a recent heartbreak. While recovering under the watchful eye of his parents (Isabella Rossellini and Moni Monoshov), Leonard meets two women in quick succession: Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow), a mysterious and beautiful neighbor who is exotic and out-of-place in Leonard's staid world, and Sandra (Vinessa Shaw), the lovely and caring daughter of a businessman who is buying out his family's dry-cleaning business. Leonard becomes deeply infatuated by Michelle, who seems poised to fall for him, but is having a self-destructive affair with a married man. At the same time, mounting pressure from his family pushes him towards committing to Sandra. Leonard is forced to make an impossible decision -- between the impetuousness of desire and the comfort of love -- or risk falling back into the darkness that nearly killed him.
Director: James Gray. Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw, Isabella Rossellini, Elias Koteas, Moni Moshonov. 2009, CC, MPAA rating: R, 110 min., Drama, Box office gross: $3.109 million, Magnolia Pictures. Available: 6/30.
TYLER PERRY'S MADEA GOES TO JAIL
Tyler Perry's Madea returns to the big screen and this time America's favorite irreverent, pistol-packin' grandmomma is raising hell behind bars. After a high-speed freeway chase puts Madea (Tyler Perry) in front of the judge, her reprieve is short-lived as anger management issues get the best of her and land her in jail. A gleeful Joe (Tyler Perry) couldn't be happier at Madea's misfortune. But Madea's eccentric family members the Browns (David and Tamala Mann) rally behind her, lending their special "country" brand of support. Meanwhile, Assistant District Attorney Joshua Hardaway (Derek Luke) is on the fast track to career success. But Hardaway lands a case too personal to handle -- defending young prostitute and former drug addict Candace Washington (Keshia Knight Pulliam) -- and asks his fiancee´ and fellow ADA Linda Holmes (Ion Overman) to fill in on his behalf. When Candace ends up in jail, Madea befriends the young woman, protecting her in a "motherly" way as only Madea can.
Director: Tyler Perry. Stars: Tyler Perry, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Derek Luke, Tamela Mann, David Mann, Salli Richardson, Viola Davis, Judge Mablean, Sofia Vergara, Aisha Hinds, Ion Overman, Ronreaco Lee, Vanessa Ferlito. 2009, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $90.485 million, Lionsgate. Available: 6/19.
WALTZ WITH BASHIR
Based on actual events, "Waltz With Bashir" is a powerful and ground breaking animated feature that follows one man's personal experience with the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. In addition to its Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe win for Best Foreign-Language film, "Waltz With Bashir" was nominated for the Palme D'Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and was a 2008 official selection at the New York Film Festival, the Toronto Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival. Inspired by actual events, "Waltz with Bashir" chronicles one man's descent into his own half-forgotten past. Filmmaker Ari Folman, an Israeli veteran of the First Lebanon War, encounters an old friend suffering from nightmares of the conflict. Ari begins to wonder why his own memories are full of gaps. In an effort to uncover the truth, he reconnects with old friends and dares to confront the horrors of war.
All DVDs and Blu-rays are screened on a reference system consisting of an Oppo BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray Player, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.
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June 1, 2009