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I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 10, 2012

by admin January 10, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 10, 2012

He's the very model of a modern major league general manager.

Moneyball
A big-budget, star-powered sports movie about... sabermetrics? Why would anyone want to see a film like that? Well, because you don't have to be a baseball nut or a number-crunching statistics fiend to enjoy Moneyball, an adaptation of Michael Lewis's best-selling book, which stars Brad Pitt in a terrific performance as Oakland A's GM Billy Beane, who puts the stats-heavy sabermetrics approach to the test by re-building his entire team from the ground-up in accordance with its rules. Jonah Hill plays Beane's second-in-command, while Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt and Robin Wright round out the supporting cast. And while the movie still builds to the typical "One Big Game" that's endemic to the genre, director Bennett Miller puts an ever-so-slightly different spin on that entire sequence, one that offers us a different perspective on the on-field action without sacrificing any of the game's excitement value. A few clich├ęd elements (such as Beane's relationship with his daughter) keep the movie from being a home run, but overall you can consider Moneyball a solid double, if not a triple.
Extras: Surprisingly light. Two featurettes -- including one featuring the real Beane - an a blooper reel. Maybe there'll be a special edition release down the line with more content like, say, a commentary track with Pitt and Beane.

Killer Elite
One of our biggest disappointments of the fall movie season, Killer Elite wastes a great cast (including Jason Statham, Robert De Niro, Clive Owen and Yvonne Strahovski) on a poorly-plotted story and sub-par action sequences. When an assassin decides to get out of the game for good, he's forced back into action after his former mentor (De Niro) is kidnapped. To secure his freedom, Statham has to off a group of ex-British soldiers for a past sin. Owen is the military guy tasked with stopping this seeming unstoppable force, while Strahovski is forced to assume the thankless role of the helpless girlfriend. Much like Machete, the trailer for Killer Elite was great -- the movie itself, not so much.
Extras: Just a batch of deleted scenes.

What's Your Number?
Despite one bad career decision after another (Yogi Bear, anyone?) we keep rooting for Anna Faris to find a movie worthy of her considerable comic talents. Sadly, What's Your Number is definitely not that film. Faris plays an unlucky-in-love young woman that tracks down all of her old boyfriends after reading a magazine article that insists anyone who has slept with at least 20 people is doomed to be single forever. Not surprisingly, most of these guys are losers, but wouldn't you know it -- there's a perfectly fine hunk of man meat right next door (Chris Evans, who would clearly much rather be running around in his Captain America tights). Anna, we still love you, but you've gotta stop subjecting us to movies like this one.
Extras: An extended cut of the film, deleted and extended scenes and a gag reel.

Higher Ground
Acclaimed actress Vera Farmiga makes her directorial debut with this small-scale portrait of one woman's personal faith. After surviving a terrible car accident, Corrine (Farmiga) re-commits herself to God and raises her family within a small, tight-knit church. (Fun fact: Corrine is played as a young girl by Farmiga's younger sister Taissa, who played sarcastic teen Violet Harmon on American Horror Story.) But as the years pass, she finds herself questioning the teachings of her community and strikes out on her own religious journey. With its thoughtful, low-key exploration of belief and , Higher Ground is very much a spiritual cousin to Robert Duvall's terrific 1997 drama, The Apostle. And while that's the better movie overall, this one has some strikingly written and performed scenes, indicating that Farmiga has a promising filmmaking career ahead of her if she chooses to spend more time behind the camera.
Extras: Deleted scenes, a making-of featurette and a commentary track anchored by Farmiga and her co-star Joshua Leonard.

Also on DVD:
Dwayne Johnson is long gone from the franchise, but The Scorpion King lives on with the direct-to-DVD sequel The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption, which stars Billy Zane and Ron Perlman... two actors that are more than happy to star in dreck for the paycheck. General audiences should probably avoid Jean-Luc Godard's latest provocation Film Socialisme, but it's a must-see for serious movie buffs, if only to give them something to analyze in between marathon Tree of Life viewings. Two Drew Barrymore romances make the leap to Blu-ray this weekend, 1999's charming Never Been Kissed and 2005's less-charming Fever Pitch, the movie that, along with Taxi, effectively ended Jimmy Fallon's nascent movie career. Also appearing on high-def this week is the granddaddy of all contemporary rom-com's, When Harry Met Sally, the last time Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal were actually appealing instead of annoying.

Think you're a TV or movie expert? Prove it! Play Trivia Without Pity, our new online trivia game with over 2,000 questions about the shows and films you love -- and love to hate.

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