CATEGORIES DVDs
There's a recurring theme among this week's top releases, no matter how disparate they may appear.

In the neo-Western 'Appaloosa,' Renee Zellweger comes between lawmen Ed Harris and Viggo Mortensen. In 'My Best Friend's Girl,' Kate Hudson comes between frat boys Dane Cook and Jason Biggs.

And yes, in 'Swing Vote,' Kelsey Grammer and Dennis Hopper compete for the affection of Kevin Costner. It's just a non-traditional love story, that's all.

Get the full scoop on this week's DVD releases, plus our recommendations from weeks' past.


'Appaloosa'
What It's About: Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris (who also directed) play lawmen trying to clean up the dusty streets of an Old Western town; Renee Zellweger is a mysterious widow new in town who they both have at "howdy."

What We Say: The Western may be the most consistently strong genre in Hollywood: '3:10 to Yuma,' 'Assassination of Jesse James' and 'The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada' are among its most recent entries, and 'Appaloosa' falls right in line with them.

Best of 2008: We reckon 'Appaloosa' is #40 on our list of the year's 50 best movies.

Add DVD to your Netflix queue | Watch the trailer



'Swing Vote'
What It's About: The fate of the U.S. presidential election comes down to the decision of one blue-collar beer guzzler, Bud (Kevin Costner). So this is where they got the idea for "Joe the Plummer"!

Special Features? The film's 2-hour run time not long enough for you? Elect to watch deleted and extended scenes.

What We Say: Call it an anti-fantasy. The least political movie you'll ever see about politics, the phony and predictable 'Swing Vote' attempts to please everyone at once but in the end probably won't please anyone at all.

Add DVD to your Netflix queue | Read Kevin Costner Q&A

'My Best Friend's Girl'
What It's About: Jason Biggs asks BFF Dane Cook to take out the girl of his dreams (Kate Hudson) to make her forget about an ex. Cook does everything in his debatably hilarious power not to screw him over.

Critical Consensus: Reviewers weren't laughing, with 'MBFG' scoring only 16 percent approval rating on RottenTomatoes. Among some of the descriptions: "tedious," "dismal" and "horse manure."

Recommended If You Liked: 'Good Luck Chuck' AND 'Employee of the Month'

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| Watch Unscripted Q&A

Other New Releases This Week:
'Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys'
'Mirrors'
'Brideshead Revisited'
'Humboldt County'
'Brick Lane'

Special Editions:

Breakfast at Tiffany's: Centennial Collection
Funny Face: Centennial Collection





Recent DVD Recommendations

    'Pineapple Express'
    Release Date: Jan. 6
    What It's About: A stoner (Seth Rogen) and his pot dealer (James Franco) attempt to stay sober enough to run for their lives after one witnesses a murder.
    What We Say: You don't actually have to be stoned stupid to find yourself giggling non-stop at this endearing bromantic comedy that builds up to an outrageously violent (but hilarious!) climax.
    Add to Netflix queue | Watch Rogen-Franco Unscripted

    Sony

    'The Wackenss'
    Release Date: Jan. 6
    What It's About: A pot-dealing teen ((Josh Peck) who trades weed for therapy ((Sir Ben Kingsley plays the bong-smoking shrink) comes of age in NYC, 1994.
    What We Say: Those who grew up on hip-hop, namely the "Golden Era" sounds of Notorious B.I.G., A Tribe Called Quest and the likes, will revel in the nostalgia of this funny and sincere flick.
    Add to Netflix queue | Read Olivia Thirlby Q&A

    Sony Classics

    'The Duchess'
    Release Date: Dec. 28
    What It's About: Keira Knightley plays Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, a socialite who was like the Paris Hilton of 18th Century England (only charming, talented and likable).
    What We Say: Like many Oscar bait dramas this year, this one is noteworthy for its performances above anything, but it's still a stirring historical soap opera.
    Add to Netflix queue | Watch trailer & clip

    Paramount Vantage

    'Burn After Reading'
    Release Date: Dec. 21
    What It's About: Two bumbling gym employees (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand) attempt to blackmail a bumbling ex-spy (John Malkovich) when they find a lost disc. A bumbling George Clooney co-stars.
    What We Say: As far as the Coen brothers oeuvre goes, it falls smack dab in the middle of 'Fargo' (being their best) and 'Ladykillers' (their worst).
    Add to Netflix queue | Read Coen brothers Q&A

    Focus Features

    'American Teen'
    Release Date: Dec. 21
    What It's About: Documentarian Nanette Burnstein follows five Indiana high school seniors -- and each fits perfectly into a classic stereotype.
    What We Say: It's an amusing, heartfelt, incredibly entertaining portrait of Middle America High, complete with heroes (we love you, Hannah!) and villains (damn you, Megan Krizmanich).
    Add to Netflix queue | Watch exclusive DVD clip

    Paramount Vantage

    'The Dark Knight'
    Release Date: Dec. 9
    What It's About: You already know. But for fun: A vigilante dresses up like a flying rodent (Christian Bale) and battles a man even crazier, the Joker (Heath Ledger).
    What We Say: There's a reason this baby made $530 million at the box office, second only to 'Titanic' all time: It rocks. Now bring on the posthumous Oscar for Heath.
    Add to Netflix queue | Watch exclusive DVD clip

    Warner Bros.

    'Horton Hears a Who!'
    Release Date: Dec. 9
    What It's About: The unlikely relationship between an elephant (voiced by Jim Carrey) and the specks of dust on his back.
    What We Say: Thank you Hollywood for finally animating Dr. Seuss! (Anyone else still suffer bad 'Cat in the Hat' flashbacks?). 'Horton' is sweet, charming and a treat to watch.
    Add to Netflix queue | Watch exclusive DVD clip

    Fox

    'Man on Wire'
    Release Date: Dec. 9
    What It's About: The amazing story of Frenchman Philippe Petit, who tightrope-walked between World Trade Center towers in 1974.
    What We Say: The best-reviewed film of all time, according to RottenTomatoes.com, this doc combines interviews and actual footage with impressively non-corny reenactments, and is 100% breathtaking.
    Add to Netflix queue | Watch trailer & clips

    Magnolia

    'Wanted'
    Release Date: Dec. 2
    What It's About: An everyday Joe (James McAvoy) is recruited by a secret society of assassins who kill to orchestrate fate ... which is determined by a loom.
    What We Say: It's all style, no brains (see Loom of Fate); both ridiculously cool and just-plain ridiculous. Those with a low threshold for nonsensical plots be warned. The rest of us can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
    Add to Netflix queue | Read James McAvoy Q&A

    Universal

    'Step Brothers'
    Release Date: Dec. 2
    What It's About: Two 40-something man-children (Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly) become siblings first, enemies second, and finally, BFFs.
    What We Say: This proudly vulgar comedy doesn't always work, but there are enough moments of hilarity to recommend a DVD viewing. (Warning: Contains disturbing images of Will Ferrell's bits.)
    Add to Netflix queue | Watch Ferrell-Reilly Unscripted

    Sony