CATEGORIES DVDsZombies and New Yorkers and aviators! Oh my! It's an interesting week on the home video front, with four releases that explore what it means to be human and in love. 'Zombieland' kicks it all off with a look at four kindred spirits surviving in a post-Apocalyptic America; 'New York, I Love You' takes a peek at love and life under the Manhattan skyline, 'Amelia' focuses on the all-too human life and yearnings of "The Queen of the Air," and 'Love Happens' is a superficial romantic comedy that takes a look at grief and love. Read on. 'Zombieland'
What It's About: Four survivors of a plague that has turned humankind into flesh-devouring zombies come together in this post-Apocalyptic comedy that riffs on every living-dead movie that came before it. Jesse Eisenberg, a nerdy young man with phobias (which have saved his life) teams with a gun-toting zombie killer (Woody Harrelson) and two sisters (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslan) on a very funny road trip in search of safety and the last Twinkie in America.
It's Kinda Like: 'Shaun of the Dead' meets 'Natural Born Killers'
What We Say: Fast-paced with characters that you can actually like (and even though Harrelson plays a zombie-killing butthead you can't not like his earnestness and humanity) and with plenty of funny-gory splatter scenes, 'Zombieland' is a road trip paved with laughs. And, darn it, there's a moral here, too: We sure as heck need each other to survive in this world.
'New York, I Love You'
What It's About: A virtual who's who of Hollywood stars aided and abetted by 10 directors, including Natalie Portman, Brett Ratner, Mira Nair, Shekhar Kapur and Allen Hughes, bring to life a collection of love stories set in New York City. It's a follow-up to the 2006 'Paris je t'aime' -- by the same producer -- which explored the City of Light in a similar fashion. It's a kaleidoscope of 10 stories that take a look at a variety of encounters that unfold in the coffee shops, restaurants, shops, bars and back rooms beneath the Manhattan skyline.
It's Kinda Like: 'Paris, je t'aime' without the French accents
What We Say: The 10 stories in 'New York' are not as light or fanciful as those in 'Paris,' which befits the nature of the city that never sleeps. Some of the stories shine: An older artist pursues his latest, younger muse; a young composer (Orlando Bloom) struggles until he hears a voice on the telephone (Christina Ricci); others falter, such as a street corner encounter with Robin Wright Penn and Chris Cooper. The best of the lot was written by the late Anthony Minghella and revolves around an aging opera star (Julie Christie) on a last visit to a beloved hotel and a mysterious bellboy (Shia LaBeouf) who helps her focus her feelings. It's a delightful collage of film viewing.
What It's About: This bio of "The Queen of the Air," Amelia Earhart, who was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, is pretty accurate in its depiction of the aviator's life and loves. She wasn't the best female pilot around but she was the most charismatic, parlaying her talents into a career as an author, marketeer (she endorsed cigarettes, luggage and a line of clothes) and lecturer on aviation. She eventually decided to circumnavigate the world, which ended in tragedy in July 2, 1937.
It's Kinda Like: 'Top Gun' meets Dorothy Parker
What We Say: Director Mira Nair's first big-budget Hollywood film strayed too far from the concerns that have made her other films such big hits: clashing cultures and traditions and marginal people struggling with new situations and customs. The characters and the script here are just too by-the-numbers, lacking any emotional insights into their beings to bring us into the story and, though Earhart spent her all-too short career flirting with danger and standing up as her own person, you'd never know it by Hilary Swank's stilted performance.
What It's About: A self-help guru (Aaron Eckhart) who teaches people to cope with grief and a young woman (Jennifer Aniston) who has sworn off men after her last affair turned sour meet cute in a Seattle hotel (they bump into each other in the hall). The catch: he still hasn't gotten over the death of his wife and she only wants to concentrate on her business as a florist, making for a rocky relationship.
It's Kinda Like: Every other silly rom-com made in the last five years
What We Say: Since there's absolutely no on-screen chemistry between Eckhart and Aniston we're hard-pressed to care about the pair's on-again, off-again relationship. Eckhart's epiphany at the end of the movie is just too pat and reminds us of something you'd see on 'Dr. Phil.' This is a TV movie-of-the-week pumped up to be a big-screen rom-com and it just doesn't work.
Other New February 2 DVD Releases:
The House of the Devil
More Than a Game
Ong Bak 2: The Beginning
Check out other new February 2 DVD releases at OnVideo.