Steve Carrell and Tina Fey play a married couple from New Jersey who head off for a romantic evening in Manhattan. In her review, Cinematical's Jenni Miller sighed: "It's frustrating when the funniest parts of a movie are in the trailer. But in a new twist on an old annoyance, you have to wait until the credits roll to see the really funny stuff." Skip it.
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Death at a Funeral
"The British stiff-upper-lips caricatures that populated the original are out, replaced by a grieving African-American family in Los Angeles," says our own William Goss. Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, James Marsden, Zoe Saldana, Danny Glover, and Columbus Short are among the player in "a broad comedy as likely to earn chuckles as it does groans." Skip it.
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The movie is "a dark and funny satire about consumerism," in the estimation of Eric D. Snider. The Joneses are "a picture-perfect family, attractive and slim, with great teeth and apparent affection for one another. Steve (David Duchovny) and Kate (Demi Moore) are the parents; Jenn (Amber Heard) and Mick (Ben Hollingsworth) are their high-school-age children." All is not as it appears, however. "Even with its small defects," our man Snider says, "The Joneses feels fresh and original, smart and tart." Buy it.
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Also out: Letters to God, Triage
Children of Invention
As I wrote last year, Tze Chun's Children of Invention has the potential "to be a very sad story, yet it proves to be credibly optimistic as it weaves a tale of an overwhelmed single mother and her two young children. The family emigrated from Hong Kong to Massachusetts, but the father split, leaving the mother alone as she tries to provide for her family via nefarious network marketing schemes. Director Tze successfully walks a very fine line between pathos and bathos, resulting in a very good film."
Peter Bratt directed this dramatic character study about a man who must come to grips with his son's homosexuality and his own issues with violence and intolerance. Benjamin Bratt gives a very strong performance, as I've written elsewhere, and the film appears to capture the authentic flavor of the Mission District in San Francisco.
Also out: The Good Heart, Multiple Sarcasms, My Name is Khan, Under the Mountain, Helen
In the Shadow of the Moon
Directed by David Singleton, the documentary "has a hook as simple as it is effective: Ask the surviving Apollo astronauts about their experiences," wrote James Rocchi in his review for Cinematical.
"Combining new interviews with archival footage -- from NASA and other sources -- In the Shadow of the Moon's both transcendentally beautiful and impressively down-to-earth. The footage of the moon missions -- some of it never seen before -- is both beautiful and magnificent; the interviews with the astronauts (with the notable absence of Neil Armstrong) are human and humble."
I can't put it any better myself. The movie is a must-see, a tranquilizing experience (for its beauty) that is simultaneously enriching and energizing.
Also out: National Lampoon's Vacation, National Lampoon's European Vacation, Screwballs II: Loose Screws, Tai Chi Master, The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk, Invisible Target
Crumb (The Criterion Collection)
Our own Jeffrey M. Anderson called it "the greatest documentary ever made," and marveled that it manages to plumb "the depths of its subject's soul for an astonishingly 'complete' portrait, all in just under two hours. Of course, Crumb interviewed some other family members, but they only served to underline and compliment the big picture."
The new edition features a restored high-definition digital transfer, two audio commentaries (one new one with Zwigoff and the other with the director and Roger Ebert from 2006), more than 50 minutes of unused footage, and a booklet.
Also out: Louis Bluie, What's Up Doc?