DVD/Blu-ray Releases — 10/11/2011

 New options for your home viewing this week:

Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life encompasses the beginning and the end of all things, and, in between, it tells the story of humankind through perfectly ordinary representatives: a middle-class family living in Texas in the 1950s.  At the heart of that story is the eldest son (Hunter McCracken as a boy and Sean Penn as a man), whose worldview is being shaped by his emotionally stilted father (Brad Pitt) and his mother (Jessica Chastain), full of grace.  Malick imagines this tale as a series of collected memories–voice-overs and dialogue bleed in and out like a melody accompanying the images of life being lived.  An interlude that presents the creation of Earth and the evolution of life upon it is vital to Malick’s thesis, and it’s also, on its own, a most gorgeous and glorious sequence in what is easily the best film of the year thus far.  My review is here.  Available on DVD/Blu-ray Combo.

Three men are fed up with their bosses and plan a way to murder them without anyone the wiser as to the guys’ involvement.  Horrible Bosses depends upon our despising the titular employers and sympathizing to a certain extent with the disgruntled employees, and the key to the second part comes from their complete incompetence with the task at hand.  Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell are quite funny in their own ways as the bosses, and Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis play off each other very well as they bumble their way through a terrible execution of their plan.  My review is here.  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and DVD/Blu-ray Combo.

Two professional comedians travel across the countryside of northern England to evaluate the restaurant scene.  Along the way, they do impression after impression, trying to top the other with accuracy and dissection of their technique.  The Trip is a condensed edition of a BBC television series, and while Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon give subtly fearless performances as thinly veiled versions of themselves (They do not come across as the most likeable people), the repetitious format of the narrative would probably work better in the long-form structure of an episodic sitcom.  My review is here.  Available on DVD.

Michael Sheen and Maria Bello play a married couple veering apart when they learn that a shooting has occurred on the campus where their son is attending college.  They are shocked even more to discover that their son is responsible for the carnage.  The two have some brutally honest moments throughout the movie, which poses a haunting scenario about guilt and responsibility but can never quite live up to its queries.  Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

The eponymous superhero (played by Ryan Reynolds) of Green Lantern has the power of imagination.  That about sums up the patently ridiculous concept of this bland hero, who, using a ring bequeathed to him by an alien, can project whatever he thinks.  The projections are green.  And he can fly, too.  Yes, I’m aware that the very idea of superheroes is silly, but come on, the power of imagination ranks just a bit higher than being able to talk to fish in terms of lame powers.  My review is here.  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, DVD/Blu-ray Combo, and Blu-ray 3D (if you absolutely, positively must).

By the time Zookeeper reaches its third act, it feels like the entire premise of Kevin James’ character being able to talk to the animals at the zoo where he works was thrown in as an afterthought to a completely different movie.  Oh, everything that comes before it is formulaic and unfunny, so I suppose it only makes sense that its pieced-together story becomes so transparent.  Save for Nick Nolte voicing a surprisingly effective animatronic gorilla, the voice acting is embarrassing, too.  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and DVD/Blu-ray Combo.

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About Mark Dujsik

Film critic since 2001. Writer/editor/publisher of Mark Reviews Movies, and contributor for RogerEbert.com and Magill's Cinema Annual. Member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society.
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