CATEGORIES DVDsThere's faith and love in the air this week. 'The Book of Eli' stars Denzel Washington as a man of faith traversing a post-apocalyptic landscape to bring hope and salvation to a society ravaged by a war that devastated civilization. 'Youth in Revolt' stars Michael Cera as a geeky young man who will do anything for love -- including creating a rebel-rouser of an alter-ego to bolster his weak self-confidence. And lastly, love was at the core of 'When in Rome' but love couldn't save the embarrassment of this lame rom-com. Read on. 'The Book of Eli'
What It's About: The Hughes brothers post-apocalyptic tale stars Denzel Washington as Eli, a lone avenging angel of sorts walking west across the wasteland that's left of America, carrying a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind. Nothing will stop this heavily armed samurai-style warrior from traversing the empty cities, broken highways and seared earth that marks the catastrophic destruction of civilization. There's no law, and the roads belong to gangs that kill for food, water and kicks. As Eli nears the West Coast, Carnegie, the self-appointed despot of a makeshift town of thieves and gunmen, has designs on the book and waylays Eli, but Eli won't let that stand in the way of his destiny.
It's Kinda Like: 'The Road Warrior' meets 'The Ten Commandments'
What We Say: This spawn of the 'Max Max' films fine tunes the post-apocalyptic genre by adding in a mission for the protagonist that transcends just the desire to survive -- here the hero feels obligated to bring salvation to the masses via faith. While a little heavy on the self-righteousness, the film overall resonates with a thoughtfulness that belies it's comic book sensibilities -- there's actually some deeper meaning here. But there's also some great choreographed fight scenes, car chases and enough dystopian tropes to please hard-core action fans. Washington again plays an everyman called upon to rise above his circumstance, and Gary Oldman (as Carnegie) again plays a nasty villain with no love or remorse in his heart. This is a match up made in heaven, so to speak. Great fun. | Rotten Tomatoes Reviews
'Youth in Revolt'
What It's About: Wonderfully oddball tale about a young man who gets in touch with his inner bad boy in order to win the girl of his dreams. Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) is a unique teen with a taste for the finer things in life -- like Sinatra and Fellini -- who falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful, free-spirited Sheeni Saunders while on a family vacation. But family, geography and jealous ex-lovers conspire to keep the two apart. With Sheeni's encouragement, Nick abandons his dull, predictable life and develops a rebellious alter ego, Francois, who will stop at nothing to be with Sheeni, leading Nick on a path of destruction with unpredictable consequences.
It's Kinda Like: 'Catcher in the Rye' meets 'Say Anything' and 'Donnie Darko'
What We Say: This delightfully subversive film should strike a chord with every young man whose lack of self-confidence has gotten in the way of navigating important social functions -- like making it with the girl of your dreams. Cera plays his typically nerdy character who has a hankering for the finer things in life but whose lackluster background and persona puts his dreams just out of his reach. Only when he creates his dopelganger does he find the inner strength to demand what's rightly his -- which, of course, is romance with the aforementioned girl of his dreams (the lovely and talented newcomer Portia Doubleday). The path he takes to accomplish this is pretty outrageous, and definitely rewrites the teen angst movie playbook. It's a sweet, fun ride. | Rotten Tomatoes Reviews
'When in Rome'
What It's About: An ambitious young New Yorker (Kristen Bell), unhappy with love, takes a whirlwind trip to Rome for her younger sister's wedding. There she meets a charming reporter (Josh Duhamel) but when their attraction doesn't seem to pan out, she gets drunk, wades into a fountain of love and grabs five coins from the water. The coins magically ignite the passion of an odd group of suitors, who all track her back to New York and get in the way of her job and her on-again romance with the writer. But his coin, too, was retrieved from the fountain, leading her to doubt if his love is the real thing.
It's Kinda Like: 'Bridget Jones' on a really bad day
What We Say: The less said about this very silly outing, the better. The pace is slow and ponderous, the story line hackneyed, the characters overblown stereotypes, and the acting overdone. Bell has little more to do than try to look cute and get involved in very poorly executed slapstick (a vase breaking scene is just too embarrassing for words). Josh Duhamel has little more to do than try to look pretty and save Bell from very poorly executed slapstick scenes. And the ending is oh so predictable. | Rotten Tomatoes Reviews
Other New June 15 DVD Releases:
'Control Alt Delete'
'Mary and Max'
'Showgirls: 15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition'
Check out other new June 15 DVD releases at OnVideo.