Wth Jumper, Definitely, Maybe and The Spiderwick Chronicles opening this weekend, you are in dire movie straits, my friends. So get busy stockpiling today’s DVD releases.
PICK OF THE WEEK: GONE BABY GONE
— Amy Ryan is up for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar on Feb. 24th. She plays the crack whore mother from hell, and she’s dynamite. But I’m a little tired of hearing that she’s the whole show. About five people saw this Baby at the multiplex and you were the only smart ones. Rookie director Ben Affleck caught the juicy essence of Dennis Lehane’s Boston kidnapping novel and got his kid brother Casey Affleck to give at least as good a performance as the one he delivered in The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, for which he’s nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. There’s more. Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman show why they’re legends in this tale of cocaine, kidnapping, pedophilia and murder. Do you get my point? Gone Baby Gone is a terrific movie. So pick up the damn DVD and you’ll see why.
WRONGLY UNDERRATED: WE OWN THE NIGHT
— A lot of critics were blindfolded or just lazy when they dissed James Gray’s 1980s-era Brooklyn crime drama as warmed-over Scorsese.
Mark Wahlberg plays a cop and Joaquin Phoenix is his high-living, horndog brother. They both get screwed by a simple twist of fate. As he proved in Little Odessa and The Yards, Gray likes walking a tightrope in his movies. So what if he sometimes loses his balance. We Own the Night takes big emotional risks. And that car chase in the rain will blow your mind and your home-entertainment system.
FIND OF THE WEEK: ROMANCE AND CIGARETTES
— I know you never heard of it — that’s why I’m calling it a find. You might think John Turturro has directed The Sopranos as a musical, what with James Gandolfini strarring as an ironworker from Queens with a propensity for song. Or you may think the whole thing is effing nuts. But an A-list cast, including Susan Sarandon, Steve Buscemi, Bobby Cannavale, Mandy Moore, Mary-Louise Parker, Christopher Walken, and a go-for-broke Kate Winslet, joins Turturro in his leap into the wild blue of ballsiness. Game on.
VALENTINE’S CRAP: NO RESERVATIONS and BECOMING JANE
— Guys who think their ladies will like watching Aaron Eckhart and Catherine Zeta-Jones as dueling chefs in love in No Reservations or Anne Hathaway playing Jane Austen in deep flirt with James McAvoy in Becoming Jane are either idiots or taking their girlfriends for worse. You’ve been warned.