It's another slow week on the DVD front, as we wander the desert of box office misfits, duds and bombs. First off is 'Skyline,' an interesting and actually well-conceived and -executed sci-fi invasion flick that was sorely hurt by a lack of a big-name cast and a close proximity to 2008's 'Cloverfield.' Next up is the much ballyhooed teaming of Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp in 'The Tourist,' a comedy-spy thriller short on both laughs and thrills. And finally, there's 'How Do You Know,' a mangled up mess of a rom-com with a fine cast (Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson and Paul Rudd) and director (James L. Brooks, 'Terms of Endearment,' 'Broadcast News') that just doesn't have a life of its own. Read on.


'Skyline'
What It's About: This apocalyptic-extraterrestrial invasion flick has an interesting twist on a well-worn premise: Alien ships hover over L.A. using blue-white beams of light to draw people -- like moths to a flame -- into their ships where unspeakable horrors await them. These massive ships, as well as smaller tankers and drones, are everywhere, and there's no escaping their grasp. The film centers on a group of people trapped in a penthouse apartment who try to elude the monsters. They await retaliation by the armed forces, but when even a nuclear blast can't slow down the aliens, the group tries to escape, knowing that their doom is just around the corner.

It's Kinda Like: 'Cloverfield' meets 'War of the Worlds' via 'District 9'

What We Say: Part 'Cloverfield,' part 'War of the Worlds (2005), 'Skyline' was skewered by the critics and received a lukewarm response at the box office. Which is a shame, since the film actually has a lot going for it. The directors the Strause brothers take a time-worn theme and inject new life into it with wonderful special effects, really nasty aliens, a twist on the 'V' and 'War of the Worlds' abduction themes, and a group of little-known actors whose interactions as they try to survive alien carnage is bare bones to say the least (though some critics called the performances amateurish). The escapes and deaths are spectacular, and the off-the-deep-end ending will tantalize.

• Extras: Commentary, deleted, extended and alternate scenes.
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'The Tourist'
What It's About: This lukewarm spy thriller stars Angelina Jolie as the girlfriend of an international thief -- Alexander Pearce -- wanted by both the gangsters he stole money from, and Scotland Yard, who want 744 million pounds in taxes on the ill-gotten gain. Jolie gets a message from the thief: She's to board a train from Paris to Venice, pick out a man who resembles him and make the police believe that this man is Pearce. She picks scruffy-looking Johnny Depp and, against the breathtaking backdrop of Paris and Venice, the two have a whirlwind romance -- all the while dodging bullets and the police in an international game of cat and mouse.

It's Kinda Like: 'North by Northwest meets 'Salt'

What We Say: This film was also hammered by the critics -- but with good cause. Though we adore both Jolie and Depp and looked forward to their teaming on the big screen, there was so little electricity between the two that we were thoroughly dismayed. The story line and action are lazy, the plotting too full of holes, and the ending so preposterous that credibility was strained well beyond disbelief. And don't fall for the line that this is a spoof -- it's just fluff. This remake of the 2005 French thriller 'Anthony Zimmer' was helmed by Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck, who directed the incredible Academy Award-winning 'The Lives of Others" (Best Foreign-Language Film, 2006) -- we had hoped so much more for the director's next outing.

• Extras: Commentary, behind-the-scene featurettes.
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'How Do You Know'
What It's About: After being cut from the USA softball team and feeling past her prime, Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) finds herself re-evaluating her life; she jumps into a fling with Matty (Owen Wilson), a major league baseball pitcher and a self-centered ladies man -- a narcissist with a code of honor. She also inadvertently meets George (Paul Rudd), a straight-arrow businessman with honesty, integrity, and unceasing optimism, who's being investigated by the feds for wire fraud -- even though he's done nothing wrong. Lisa finds herself in the middle of this love triangle, living with Matty but being pursued by George. Which of the two will connect with her inner feelings and truly make her happy?

It's Kinda Like: 'Bridget Jones' Diary' meets 'Wall Street'

What We Say: This film also bombed at the box office -- mainly because nothing much happens to characters who aren't really likeable (they're not un-likeable; we just don't care about them). The main leads are pretty much stereotypes: the bouncy blonde, the egocentric ladies man, the neurotic businessman, and Witherspoon, Wilson and Rudd can't elevate their characterizations above their cardboard representations. The movie plods on from overlong scene to overlong scene ("cut" apparently wasn't in director James L. Brooks' vocabulary while filming), and even throws in some unnecessary side stories with tertiary characters that further slows down the main event. When a bus leaves in the film's final scene, we're glad to be on it.

• Extras: Several featurettes, commentary, bloopers, deleted scenes.
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Top 5 Blu-ray Picks of the Week: 'Stand By Me,' 'How Do You Know'


Other New March 22 DVD Releases:

'Dark Fields (aka The Rain)': When the remote, drought-stricken farming community of Perseverance resorts to child sacrifice to bring healing rains to their land, a terrible curse is unleashed that haunts their bloodlines for generations. Stars David Carradine, Richard Lynch, Dee Wallace Stone.
'Father of My Children': A French film producer struggles with despair as he juggles his latest over-budget production with the demands of family life.
'The People I've Slept With': A promiscuous young woman with a zealously active sex life, who makes keepsake "baseball cards" of each of her male conquests, races to uncover the identity of her "baby-daddy" after unexpectedly becoming pregnant.
'Vanquisher': Rising martial arts action star Sophita Sribanchean stars as a CIA agent who is betrayed by her own agency and forced into hiding after a covert mission goes awry; she resurfaces in Bangkok with a vengeance to find out who wants her dead and to help stop another fatal crime from happening.
'Yogi Bear': Yogi, Boo Boo and Ranger Smith join forces to prevent land developers from closing Jellystone Park in this live-action/CGI big-screen adaptation of the Hanna-Barbera TV series.



Check out other new Marxh 22 DVD releases at OnVideo.

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