Five Islamic terrorists plan to blow themselves up and take as many others with them as they can. It is not what one would consider material for comedy, but here is Four Lions, the very funny and sobering look at an incompetent quintet that is sure to rouse debate among all who see it. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Of course it shouldn’t have won the Oscar for Best Documentary (see below), but still Inside Job looks at the ins and outs of the 2008 financial crisis with the cold eye of a journalist. It’s a corrupt system, director Charles Ferguson argues without much argument from the audience, based in greed, sociopathic tendencies, and naked indoctrination that ensures the crooks make the laws that’ll keep them out of prison. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Another documentary worth your time is A Film Unfinished. Assembling the pieces of a lost Nazi propaganda film, director Yael Hersonski shows the story of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942, two months before mass deportations began. Using interviews with survivors (commenting as they watch the footage), testimony from the cameraman, and the diary of the ghetto’s mayor, Hersonski dissects the ways the filmmakers would stage scenes of lavish extravagance while capturing some of the horrors that were really happening. Available on DVD.
A woman is in prison, and her husband does some questionable things to get her out of there. That’s the setup for The Next Three Days, and with Russell Crowe holding the pieces together, it works. It’s all about the buildup to the climactic escape, which never cheats and adds some tension from the fact that the wife (played by Elizabeth Banks) is furious at her husband for what he’s planning to do. My review is here. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Morning Glory isn’t terrible–just another story of a career woman trying to get along without any life apart from her work and getting into problems when she tries to have one. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.
Jackass 3 falls squarely in the middle of the previous two entries: I loathed the first and kind of liked the second. It’s about half and half here. Half of the pranks and stunts are genuinely funny; the other half are not, making us question these guys (who are getting too up in age to continue acting like teenagers) and their lives. Availble on double-disc and single-disc DVD and Blu-ray.
Finally, the best film of 2010 is available on Blu-ray. See it any (legal) way you can.