CATEGORIES DVDs
Your favorite talking safari animals are back 2 to their old tricks (and they still like to move it!), while matches are made in 'Porno' and 'Playlist.'

It's not exactly the animated 'Godfather' (some will say that's 'WALL-E'), but 'Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa' gets the rare distinction of being a sequel that improves upon the first.

Meanwhile, the stars align for two couples in two very different, but both entertaining ways: on the set of a low-budg porno in 'Zack and Miri,' and at a handful of New York City concert venues in 'Nick and Norah.'

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


'Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa' (out Feb. 6)
What It's About: A lion (Ben Stiller), hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), giraffe (David Schwimmer) and zebra (Chris Rock) who like to move it, move it... New voices include Alec Baldwin and the late Bernie Mac.

Critical Consensus: The animated sequel scored better overall reviews than the first, 2005's 'Madagascar,' with 63 percent approval rating on RottenTomatoes (vs. 55 percent the first time around).

Special Features? The DVD comes served in a two-pack along with a disc including two installments of the Nickelodeon series 'The Penguins of Madagascar' (think the opposite of 'Animal Planet').


Add to Netflix queue | Buy from Amazon | Read Jada Pinkett-Smith Q&A

'Zack and Miri Make a Porno'
What It's About: Platonic friends Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) do what anyone would do when they're so broke they can't afford to pay the bills: porn.

What We Say: This is Kevin Smith in Judd Apatow mode, with many of the latter's regular troops (Rogen, Banks, Craig Robinson) butting heads (among other parts) with Smith players (Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson) and porn stars (Katie Morgan, Traci Lords). Raunchy to the extreme, it's Smith's best work in a decade.

Recommended If You Liked: 'Superbad,' 'Chasing Amy,' 'Orgazmo'

Add to Netflix queue | Buy from Amazon | Read Kevin Smith Q&A

'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist'
What It's About: A shy high school rocker (Michael Cera) and friend-of-a-friend (Kat Dennings) fall in love to the sounds of hipster rock over the course of one wild night in Manhattan.

What We Say: A respectable tribute to New York music scene, the movie is tailored to a younger audience than it may appear. Teenage girls too old for 'High School Musical' and too young to vote should totally worship it.

Recommended If You Liked: '200 Cigarettes,' 'Before Sunrise,' 'Garden State'

Add to Netflix queue | Buy from Amazon | Read Michael Cera Q&A

Other New Releases This Week:
'The Secret Life of Bees'
'Bottle Shock'
'Hounddog'
'The Singing Revolution'
'Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom'

Special Editions:
'Being There'
'Friday the 13th'
'Friday the 13th: Part 2'
'Friday the 13th: Part 3D'

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