Bad hair won't keep Russell Crowe's investigative reporter from getting to the bottom of a Beltway murder in 'State of Play,' and a Dominican baseball prospect finally makes it -- to Bridgeport, Iowa -- in the indie gem 'Sugar.' Plus, penguin sightings! Get the full scoop on this week's DVD releases, plus our recommendations from weeks' past. 'State of Play'
What It's About: An old-school Beltway newspaper reporter (Russell Crowe, in dire need of a haircut) teams up with a young hotshot political blogger (Rachel McAdams) to investigate the death of the mistress of a congressman (Ben Affleck).
It's Kind of Like: 'All the President's Men' meets 'Hollywood Homicide'
What We Say: Intriguing and involving but also too convoluted and twisty, this is the sort of conspiracy thriller it'd be nice to see Hollywood make more often. It's also a thinly veiled attack on Halliburton (based around a sinister, very profitable weapons company) and elegant commentary on the death of print journalism; it doesn't live up to its aspirations to be the next 'President's Men,' but hey, it beats the hell out of 'I Love Trouble.'
Add to Netflix queue | Buy the DVD | Read Rachel McAdams Q&A
What It's About: Only the most awesome planet in the galaxy! This feature-length doc compiles the most awe-inspiring images and sequences from the BBC TV series 'Planet Earth,' following the life cycles (including habits, rituals and occasionally, tragic ends) of a colorful variety of animals.
It's Kind of Like: 'March of the Penguins, Elephants, Whales, Lions and Bears'
What We Say: For those who've seen 'Planet Earth,' this breathtakingly beautiful film plays like a highlight reel from the beloved series. For others, this is a grand introduction to a new brand of eco-friendly entertainment, and does indeed best 'March of the Penguins.' It even sees 'Penguins' narrator Morgan Freeman and raises it a James Earl Jones.
Add to Netflix queue | Buy the DVD | Watch the trailer
What It's About: Dominican Major League Baseball hopeful Miguel "Sugar" Santos (Algenis Perez Soto) is called up to the Big Leagues... scratch that, the, um, not-so-Big Leagues, as a prospect on a single-A team in rural Bridgeport, Iowa (located I believe somewhere near Kevin Costner's Field of Dreams).
It's Kind of Like: Baseball's equivalent of 'Hoop Dreams'
What We Say: Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, the husband-and-wife filmmaking team behind the 2006 gem 'Half Nelson,' deliver another indie diamond in the rough with this quietly stunning baseball drama that has to be the most realistic portrait of the pro sport's inner-workings we've seen yet. Still, you don't have to be a sports fan for this one to rank as a must-see.
Add to Netflix queue | Buy the DVD | Watch the first 7 minutes
Other New Releases:
'Bring It On: Fight to the Finish'
New on Blu-ray:
'The Girl Next Door'