Videoview
Thursday, March 17, 2011

 

By Jay Bobbin
Tribune Media Services
 
 
"THE FIGHTER": Mark Wahlberg shepherded this superb drama through the production process for years, but ironically, he was the only major cast principal not to score an Oscar nomination for the true story of Boston boxer-against-the-odds Micky Ward. Those up for the honors included Christian Bale as Ward's fighter-turned-trainer half brother, Melissa Leo as their mother and Amy Adams as Ward's tough-in-her-own-right girlfriend. Director David O. Russell not only draws superb performances from all of them, he also generates an indelible sense of the tale's setting. DVD extras: "making-of" documentary; audio commentary by Russell. **** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
 
"HEREAFTER": Clint Eastwood's yen for tackling a variety of genres as a director extends to the supernatural with this well-acted drama, reuniting him with "Invictus" co-star Matt Damon as one of several people with strong connections to the afterlife. Cecile De France and young Frankie McLaren play the others, and they eventually meet up with Damon's character, who finds his special ability more a curse than a blessing. Eastwood stages a whopper of a tsunami sequence to set the story in motion. DVD extras: three "making-of" documentaries. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
 
"THE SWITCH": Unrequited love takes an unusual turn in this would-be comedy teaming Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman. She's an unmarried woman who wants to have a child, and he's the longtime friend who secretly pines for her romantically. He manages to switch his sperm with that of the intended donor; the latter half of the film, which advances several years and isn't quite as jokey, plays better than the first. Juliette Lewis and recent "Morning Glory" co-stars Patrick Wilson and Jeff Goldblum also appear. DVD extras: "making-of" documentary; deleted scenes. ** (PG-13: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray)
 
"THE WILDEST DREAM": The dream actually proved not to be all that wild for two climbers who decided to trace, quite literally, the footsteps of Englishman George Mallory in scaling Mount Everest. This documentary, narrated by Liam Neeson, recalls the effort by Conrad Anker and Leo Houlding to forge ahead with the attempt that cost Mallory and climbing companion Sandy Irvine their lives.  *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray) 
 
"HEMINGWAY'S GARDEN OF EDEN": Of course, the Hemingway is Ernest, the celebrated "A Farewell to Arms" and "The Sun Also Rises" author who was at work on this story at the time of his death. Mena Suvari and Jack Huston play 1920s newlyweds whose relationship is impacted by an Italian woman (Caterina Murino, "Casino Royale"); her presence awakens lingering feelings in both of them that could destroy their marriage before it even really starts. Matthew Modine, Richard E. Grant and Carmen Maura also star. *** (R: AS, N, P)
 
"A SHINE OF RAINBOWS": A young orphan, played by John Bell, is largely on his own - except for the baby seal he befriends - to make his new life work in this Irish-themed drama. Taken in by a benevolent woman (Connie Nielsen), he finds himself less welcome by her husband (Aidan Quinn), prompting him to make his care of the seal his main mission. DVD extras: "making-of" documentary. *** (PG: AS)
 
COMING SOON: "HOW DO YOU KNOW" (March 22): While facing personal and professional crossroads, a woman (Reese Witherspoon) finds herself with two suitors (Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd) in director James L. Brooks' romantic comedy. (PG-13: AS, P)
 
"THE TOURIST" (March 22): An American (Johnny Depp) visiting Europe gets swept up in danger by an attractive woman (Angelina Jolie) who involves him in a perilous case of mistaken identity. (PG-13: AS, P, V)
 
"LITTLE FOCKERS" (March 29): The comedic "Meet the Parents" clan gathers again to celebrate the youngest members' birthdays. Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman return. (PG-13: AS, P)
 
"TANGLED" (March 29): The story of Rapunzel gets an animated revision from the Disney studio, with Mandy Moore supplying the voice of the heroine and Zachary Levi ("Chuck") heard as a thief who helps her. (PG: V)
 
"HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1" (April 15): As the theatrical release of Part 2 nears, the start of the story that wraps up the series comes to video. Daniel Radcliffe still plays Harry, of course. (PG-13: AS, V)
 
"THE KING'S SPEECH" (April 19): Colin Firth had a big run on the film-award circuit for his portrayal of King George VI, whose speaking problem was treated by an unconventional therapist (Geoffrey Rush). (R: AS, P)
 
FAMILY-VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.
 
This was printed in the March 13, 2011 - March 26, 2011 edition
 

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