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I Want My DVD: Tuesday, December 31, 2013

by Ethan Alter December 31, 2013 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 JGL heats NJ, OK?

Don Jon
For his directorial debut, Joseph Gordon-Levitt handed himself one of his most entertaining roles: a swaggering, supremely buff Jersey boy in the vein of Pauly D with great pecs, a great car and a great appetite for porn. Though he's dependent on the latter for… um, a release from the daily grind, he's willing to give it all up when he finds Mrs. Right: Scarlett Johansson, doing her finest JWOWW impersonation in one of the most form-fitting red dresses in movie history. But trading virtual women for a real woman proves more of a challenge than expected, especially a real woman who has her own idealized image of the perfect partner. A fresh, funny take on typical rom-com shenanigans for its first hour, Don Jon loses steam when JGL contrives a forced final act in which his onscreen alter ego grows up by falling into the arms of an older woman (Julianne Moore, trapped in a role that makes little to no sense). Despite this (and several other) missteps, Gordon-Levitt's debut feature is enjoyable enough to make you hope that there'll be a second.
Extras: Five featurettes and three shorts made by JGL's production company, HitRECord.
Click here to read our original review

Sweetwater
Poor January Jones; though we keep rooting for her to prove that Betty Draper Francis is a fictional character and not a documentary portrait, the actress hasn't exactly made that easy for us through lackluster appearances in various other shows and movies, ranging from Saturday Night Live to X-Men: First Class. Sweetwater, which sets Jones down in the Old West as an ex-prostitute who takes blood revenge on the deranged preacher (Jason Isaacs) that killed her husband, continues to suggest that her range may be… well, limited. Delivering her (thankfully sparse) dialogue in a tone more suited to a seasonal Gap employee than a gun-toting 19th century outlaw, the star isn't exactly helped by an overly-familiar premise that's ham-fistedly dramatized by co-writer/director Logan Miller. So let's all cross "Westerns" off the list of genres that Jones might be good at; that leaves "film noir," "sports movies" and -- please make this happen -- "giant spider" creature features.
Extras: None.

Last Love
Michael Caine and Clémence Poésy share a surrogate father/daughter relationship (as opposed to a May/December romance) in this gentle drama from Mostly Martha director, Sandra Nettlebeck. A widower living and working in Paris, Caine has a run-in with Poésy's dance instructor and the duo unexpectedly winds up meeting each other on the reg. This isn't a case of him giving her class and her giving him sex appeal; instead, he gifts her with his wordly wisdom and she gifts him with the kind of youthful perspective that encourages Caine to reach out to his grown children, played by Gillian Anderson and Justin Kirk. It's a minor movie, but it's hard not to enjoy this fairly major cast.
Extras: A modest collection of outtakes and deleted scenes.

Insidious: Chapter Two
Hell Baby
James Wan batted 2-for-2 in 2013, serving up the year's biggest horror hit, The Conjuring, as well as its second-biggest horror hit, Insidious: Chapter 2, the sequel to his own 2010 surprise smash. Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson return as the mother and father of the Lambert clan, whose home once again becomes a playground for a pesky poltergeist. Don't get too psyched for Insidious: Chapter 3, though -- Wan is spending the next year-and-a-half on the next Fast and the Furious installment. Not technically a horror movie, but pretty horrific in its lack of laughs, the Rosemary's Baby spoof Hell Baby strands a great comic ensemble -- Paul Scheer! Rob Corddry! Keegan-Michael Key! Leslie Bibb! -- in a half-assed premise. Written and directed by Reno 911! duo Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon, the film does manage a few solid chuckles (most of them provided by the Key half of Key & Peele), but the misses are much, much higher than the hits. Let's reassemble this exact ensemble for a better comedy, stat.
Extras: Insidious: Chapter Two comes with five featurettes and three webisodes. Hell Baby offers forty minutes worth of outtakes and deleted scenes.

Also on DVD:
Mamoru Hosoda's acclaimed anime feature Wolf Children follows the wolfish offspring of the union between an ordinary human woman and her recently-deceased lupine husband. Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning fans take note: Scott Adkins headlines the old-school ass-kicker, Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear. Last and certainly least, don't be fooled by Alan Rickman, Malin Akerman and Rupert Grint gazing at you from the star-powered DVD cover of CBGB; this behind-the-legend chronicle of the iconic New York music club is one of the year's worst movies by far.

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