Video View 8-6
Sunday, April 12, 2009

STARTING THIS WEEK: "DOUBT": Oscar nominations aplenty resulted from this superb adaptation of John Patrick Shanley's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, with Shanley himself - also the director here - landing one of the bids for adapting his story of a priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) suspected of pedophilia by a Catholic school principal (Meryl Streep). Both stars were up for Academy Awards for their work here, as were supporting actresses Amy Adams and Viola Davis. **** (PG-13: AS) (Also on Blu-ray)

"THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL": Almost 60 years after the original version of the sci-fi classic, this remake brings alien Klaatu (now played by Keanu Reeves) and his fearsome robot Gort to terra firma again. They come to offer a warning to the entire human race, and the opposition they encounter sets off a chilling series of events. Jennifer Connelly plays a scientist assisting the government in the matter, with Jaden Smith (Will's son) as her stepson. Kathy Bates, John Cleese and Jon Hamm ("Mad Men") also appear. DVD extras: four "making-of" documentaries; audio commentary by screenwriter David Scarpa; deleted scenes; storyboards; photo and art gallery; digital copy of the movie. *** (PG-13: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

"BEDTIME STORIES": Tall tales come to life, with some unexpected twists, in this enjoyable Disney vehicle for Adam Sandler. He plays a motel jack-of-all-trades who entertains his niece and nephew with fanciful stories - only to find them coming true, as when gumballs fall from the sky like raindrops. He then tries to manipulate his inventions to service his real life, a move that inevitably backfires. Co-stars in the comedy-fantasy from director Adam Shankman ("Hairspray") include Keri Russell, Guy Pearce, Courteney Cox, Jonathan Pryce and British comic Russell Brand ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall"). *** (PG: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

"YES MAN": Jim Carrey just can't say "no" in this comedic take on a nonfiction book by Danny Wallace. The actor plays a man who tries to overcome the letdowns he's had by pledging to respond affirmatively to everything, inspired by a self-actualization guru (Terence Stamp). Zooey Deschanel plays a musician who factors into his approach in a big way. Bradley Cooper, Molly Sims and Sasha Alexander ("NCIS") also are in director Peyton Reed's ("The Break-Up") cast. DVD extras: three "making-of" documentaries; outtakes; music videos. *** (PG-13: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

"THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX": Another animated feature with an all-star voice cast, this story has Matthew Broderick supply the words of the title character, a mouse who goes against the edicts of his rodent-oriented homeland. Cast out, he finds a kindred spirit - or so it seems - in a rat (voice of Dustin Hoffman) who also has been banished. A princess (voice of Emma Watson) ultimately figures into their plans. Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman, William H. Macy, Sigourney Weaver, Robbie Coltrane, Christopher Lloyd and recent Oscar nominees Frank Langella ("Frost/Nixon") and Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor") also are heard. DVD extras: two "making-of" documentaries; games; interactive map; DVD-ROM features. *** (G) (Also on Blu-ray)

"NOT EASILY BROKEN": The screen version of T.D. Jakes' novel casts Morris Chestnut and recent Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") as a couple whose marriage hits a rough patch, made even more tenuous by a car crash they're involved in. The presence of the wife's mother (Jenifer Lewis) doesn't make matters any easier, nor does a physical therapist (Maeve Quinlan) who poses a temptation for the husband. Sometime actor Bill Duke ("Predator") directed the drama. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

COMING SOON: "THE READER" (April 14): Kate Winslet earned a best actress Oscar as a woman who has a profound effect on a younger man during World War II and again years later. (R: AS, N)

"THE SPIRIT" (April 14): Will Eisner's comic book is brought to life, as Gabriel Macht plays the hero borne from a murdered policeman. Samuel L. Jackson is his main nemesis. (PG-13: AS, N, V)

"FROST/NIXON" (April 21): Former President Richard Nixon and television personality David Frost (Frank Langella, Michael Sheen) prepare to record interviews largely about the Watergate scandal. (R: P)

"THE WRESTLER" (April 21): Mickey Rourke earned an Oscar nomination and a number of awards for his performance as a wrestling veteran striving to reach a better point, personally and professionally. (R: AS, N, P, V)

"NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH" (April 28): Inspired by a real-life incident, writer-director Rod Lurie's drama casts Kate Beckinsale as a reporter who faces jail time after blowing the cover of a CIA agent. (R: AS, P, V)

"THE UNINVITED" (April 28): After being institutionalized, a young woman (Emily Browning) returns home and suspects her father's new love (Elizabeth Banks) of being up to no good. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

FAMILY-VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.



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