CATEGORIES DVDsTwo Academy Award-nominated films come to the fore this week, as well as a real dud. Make your reservation for 'Up in the Air,' a highly original film about a man who is --literally -- not grounded or tied down to anyone or anyplace, living to fly the friendly skies from one job to another without a care in the world. Next up is 'Precious,' a darling of the critics that took several Oscars Sunday night, a harrowing film bout a pregnant black teenager growing up abused and illiterate in Harlem. And, lastly, there's 'Old Dogs,' a humorless comedy about two middle-aged guys who unexpectedly take on fatherhood 'Up in the Air'
What It's About: George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a corporate downsizer and consummate modern business traveler (translation: he flies around the country from his home office in Omaha to fire employees for cowardly bosses) who, after years of staying happily airborne (when someone on a flight asks him where he lives, he says "here") suddenly finds himself ready to make a real connection when he meets his female counterpart in the form of Vera Farmiga.
It's Kinda Like: It's too unusual to categorize
What We Say: Clooney is perfect as the suave, sophisticated, handsome, witty and smart corporate exec who has no commitments to anyone or anyplace. And when he decides to break his own rules and maybe, just maybe, commit to someone, the weariness in his eyes is replaced by a twinkle of sentimentality. Deft direction by Jason Reitman moves the film onward and upward, so to speak. Unfortunately, 'Up in the Air' was shut out at the Oscars.
'Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire'
What It's About: A harrowing journey through the life of Claireece "Precious" Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), a 16-year-old Harlem black girl pregnant for the second time by her absent father and abused by her poisonously angry mother (Mo'Nique, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar). She has trouble at school (she can neither read nor write) but is given the chance to attend an alternative school, an opportunity that will lead her from darkness, pain and powerlessness to light, love and self-determination.
It's Kinda Like: 'Antwone Fisher' meets 'Freedom Writers'
What the Critic Say: Most critics thought that 'Precious' was a triumph of a film, bold and uncompromising in its storytelling and transformative in its vision. "Stylishly told and earnestly acted, 'Precious' is a far from pleasant cinemagoing experience but a worthwhile one," Ben Rawson-Jones of Digital Spy summed up. But there were dissenters: Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger said "The whole thing begins to feel like 'The Color Purple' as rewritten for a poetry slam, heaping on the abuse like a horror film."
What It's About: Dan (Robin Williams) and his best friend and business partner Charlie (John Travolta) are on the verge of the biggest deal in the history of their sports marketing firm when their lives are turned upside down by a surprise visit from Dan's ex-wife. Unknown to Dan, their brief -- and annulled -- marriage seven years earlier produced twins, and Dan and Charlie must take care of them for two weeks, juggling new-found fatherhood as they try to cinch their multi-million dollar business deal.
It's Kinda Like: The worst parts of 'Three Men and a Baby,' 'Big Daddy' and 'Baby Boom'
What We Say: The title of this movie aptly describes the kind of film this is: lots of old, tired bits and for the dogs. Williams and Travolta literally sleepwalk through predictable, pat situations that arise when two bachelors stumble around trying to take care of kids. And whoever thought of the Seth Green situations should be flogged.
Other New March 9 DVD Releases:
'The Boondock Saints II'
'Capitalism: A Love Story'
'Hachi: A Dog's Tale'
Check out other new March 9 DVD releases at OnVideo.