After his mother dies from a heroin overdose, a soft-spoken teen tries to come of age among the coked-out, gun-waving band of criminals that is his remaining family; all the while, paranoia and punishment bear down on them. Making his feature debut, writer-director David Michôd skips the robberies and focuses on the inevitable reckoning that this clan has brought upon themselves. The movie feels both genuinely lived-in and slightly surreal, aided in no small part by Antony Partos’ terrifically foreboding score and an entirely credible cast. (available now)
Special Features: Audio commentary, featurette
Anyone who’s already read Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s smash 2005 economics analysis Freakonomics – all 4 million anyones – might think there’s nothing new to be gained in seeing this omnibus visual companion masked as a documentary. They would be wrong. A supergroup of modern documentary filmmakers, including Super Size Me’s Morgan Spurlock and Why We Fight’s Eugene Jarecki, each tackle one of the book’s tenets. Spurlock’s trademark goofy style is fun but caricatures his subject (the effect of black baby names vs. white baby names on the baby’s future) to the point of offensiveness, while Alex Gibney’s (Casino Jack and the United States of Money) segment on cheating in sumo wrestling is solemn and beautiful. The best of the bunch, however, is Jarecki’s segment, which examines the shocking reason behind the 1990s crime drop. Combining news footage and animation, it’s haunting and uplifting all at once. Those familiar with the book won’t find anything particularly new in the film’s subject, but the style is astounding.(available now)
Special Features: Audio commentaries, featurette, additional interviews
Somehow, the funniest movie of last year both bombed at the box office and was completely disregarded by critics. For shame. This remake of the 1978 Jaws knockoff boasts the presence of Elisabeth Shue, cheap laptop special effects, gratuitous nudity, a Jerry O’Connell riff on Girls Gone Wild’s Joe Francis that’s stale by at least a decade, Richard Dreyfuss singing “Show Me the Way to go Home” before getting eaten alive and an insanely, comically long sequence of a frat boy mowing down dozens of spring breakers in a speedboat. I think that’s everything you could want out of a camp comedy gross-out flick, right? Oh wait, there’s also a chewed-up penis that gets hurled at the screen right out of a piranha’s mouth. Yep, everything. (available now)
Special Features: Audio commentary, deleted scenes, storyboards, featurettes
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