CATEGORIES DVDsThere's three pretty disparate characters knocking at your home video door this week. First off, beware Gerard Butler and his 'Law Abiding Citizen,' who will stop at nothing to get justice for his murdered family. Follow that up with 'Coco Before Chanel,' starring Audrey Tautou as couture doyen Coco Chanel, whose smile and fashion sense built an empire that lasts to this day. And finish things off with Michael Jai White as 'Black Dynamite,' who kung-fus his way through the ghetto after The Man. 'Law Abiding Citizen'
What It's About: A law-abiding citizen is forced to watch two thugs murder his wife and daughter, then he's forced to watch the justice system make a deal with the killers. The result: A nasty case of revenge, not just against the two killers but the defense attorney, the judge, the district attorney's office and the entire justice system.
It's Kinda Like: 'Death Wish' on the wrong side of the law
What We Say: As revenge films go, this one is pretty hokey, despite the conceit that the husband (Gerard Butler) admits to killing the killers, gets arrested and then goes on a murder spree from behind bars, using highly sophisticated, technological weapons of destruction. How does he do it? You'll have to wade though a lot of inane chatter on the nature of justice and revenge, some senseless, not-so-spectacular murders and Jamie Foxx's unsmiling visage (as Butler's adversary) to find out.
'Coco Before Chanel'
What It's About: Beautiful portrait of the early life of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel -- nicknamed Coco -- an orphan who would rise from mundane seamstress and cabaret singer to hold court amongst the landed aristocrats in the French countryside to eventually build a fashion empire in an industry dominated by men. Chanel's unwavering determination, unique style and visionary talent made her the queen of 20th century couture.
It's Kinda Like: 'Project Runway' meets Eric Rohmer
What We Say: Though the film, and Audrey Tautou as Chanel, are beautiful to watch, the slow pace makes the story more akin to an impressionistic painting than a moving picture. Taking place in the first two decades of the 20th century, the film focuses in on her affairs and failed loves and pushes to the background that spark of brilliance that made her a true genius; the latter years of her life, as she built her empire and got involved in political and cultural intrigues, would have made a more absorbing biopic.
What It's About: Action comedy film spoof that follows the exploits of ex-CIA agent and full-time ladies man Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White) out to avenge the death of his brother against kung-fu masters, drug-dealing pimps and The Man.
It's Kinda Like: 'Super Fly' meets 'In Living Color'
What We Say: Very amusing spoof of 1970s blaxpoitation films -- perfectly set in the 1970s -- with wild hairdos, polyester suits, big hats, gratuitous nudity, black-and-white villains and a wild soundtrack. If you've never seen 'Shaft' or 'Super Fly' this will hold you over until you see the real thing -- 'cept the laughs here are intentional.
Other New February 16 DVD Releases:
'From Mexico With Love'
'Women in Trouble'
Check out other new February 16 DVD releases at OnVideo.