CATEGORIES DVDsThere's dysfunction at the forefront of this week's DVD releases, beginning with Steven Soderbergh's 'The Informant,' starring Matt Damon as an FBI informant who spills the beans about price-fixing in agri-business but whose grip on reality calls his veracity into question. Next up is 'Everybody's Fine,' a family reunion comedy-drama that has Robert De Niro hitting the road to reunite with his far-flung -- and secretive -- children. Thankfully, 'The September Issue,' a documentary on Vogue magazine, brings order out of chaos. 'The Informant!'
What It's About: Matt Damon stars as Mark Whiteacre, a real-life over-eager agri-business corporate executive who decides to turn whistle-blower on industry price-fixing in the 1990s. He becomes an FBI informant so he can be hailed as a hero and get a promotion. What was he thinking? As the investigation progresses and he starts to think of himself as a "spy," Whiteacre begins building lie upon lie until it all comes down on him like a house of cards.
It's Kinda Like: 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' meets 'Michael Clayton'
What We Say: Damon puts in yet another wonderful role, here adding pounds and paunch to portray a middle-American executive hitting middle-age. This satire hits the mark with its understated and ironic story line about corruption and fallibility in corporate America. Director Steven Soderbergh keeps the complicated scenario moving along at a reasonable clip, hitting the right note between laughter and outrage.
What It's About: When his four grown kids decline to join him for the holidays, widower Frank Goode (Robert De Niro) -- who realizes his only connection to his children was through his wife -- sets off on an impromptu cross-country road trip to surprise and hopefully reunite with each of them. What he finds surprises him instead: each of his kids -- who he thought were leading perfect lives -- have family problems they prefer not to share with him. A remake of Giuseppe Tornatore's 1990 "Stanno Tutti Bene."
It's Kinda Like: 'About Schmidt' meets 'Family Reunion'
What We Say: This underrated family comedy-drama got a bum rap from the reviewers, with many criticizing the film for being stereotypical and sentimental. We found it to be uplifting and full of warmth and love for it's characters, a rarity in some of today's films that take an all-too ironic punch at its protagonists. And De Niro is wonderfully understated as a man trying to put his family back together. And what's so bad about being sentimental?
'The September Issue'
What It's About: The September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine weighed nearly five pounds and was the single largest issue of a magazine ever published. This documentary tells the story of legendary Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and her larger-than-life team of editors as they create the issue and rule the world of fashion.
It's Kinda Like: 'Valentino: The Last Emperor' meets 'Just Shoot Me!'
What the Critics Say: Most reviewers reveled in the film's eye candy and irresistible fun with The Dallas Morning News summing it up by saying, "It's got everything one could hope for in a movie experience: drama, wit, stifled rage, unbridled glee, pouty adolescents wearing far too much makeup, massive egos and a heroine who is absolutely irresistible." The Denver Post called it a "wise, engaging frock-umentary" while the Los Angeles Times said it was "a slight, if often riveting, behind-the-scenes documentary."
Other New February 23 DVD Releases:
'Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant'
Check out other new February 23 DVD releases at OnVideo.