Che Auteur Steven Soderbergh's difficult, two-part guerrilla-style epic about a guerrilla-style revolutionary gets that much more ponderous, fascinating and, let's face it, mind-numbing thanks to Criterion with the addition of a high-definition transfer "supervised by Soderbergh." Question: If the film was shot in hi-def digital, as Soderbergh so loudly boasted, what else needed to be done to it? And speaking of tech braggadocio, this edition contains a "video piece" touting the RED camera. For history buffs, there are tons of goodies here, including an entire commentary with Che Guevara biographer Jon Lee Anderson. (NR)
The Invention of Lying Whereas the Che set attempts to illuminate that film's subject with expert perspective, this obnoxious DVD release of a subtle, bizarrely thought-provoking comedy suffocates its own film with the subject's grating antics. The Invention of Lying was a daring foray into "what-if?" existentialism with touches of humor and a genuine examination of where we place the value of love. The extras, however? Try watching star-writer-director Ricky Gervais ruin takes with cackles and Nerf guns for what feels like an eternity. And a context-free "prequel," showing a stupid "dawn of man" set piece that thankfully never came to be, is the insufferable straw that broke the disc's back. Stick with the movie if you want to avoid a Gervais overdose. (PG-13)
Paris, Texas Let's be optimistic and hope that the recent release of German master Wim Wenders' best film, Wings of Desire, on Criterion, and now this, his American classic, jolts loose the imprisoned genius that Wenders is so beloved for. We'll say that this duo of immaculate sets wipes clean Wenders' slate of wretched films in the 2000s: Land of Plenty, Million Dollar Hotel, Don't Come Knocking, etc. 1984's Paris, Texas teamed Wenders with playwright Sam Shepard and a Ry Cooder score to craft a portrait of an emotional and physical desert that's just as haunting today. (R)
Surrogates Say what you will about the guy's image, but Bruce Willis is an idea man, especially when it comes to sci-fi. If you have a vision of a dystopic future or a parallel universe where things aren't quite right, Willis is your hero. From Twelve Monkeys to The Fifth Element to Planet Terror and now Surrogates, in which mankind's desire to disconnect from reality has taken the form of perfect little robot avatars, Willis is the one who can unravel it all and send us kicking and screaming back to our own humanity. His knowing performance in this otherwise humorless but interesting film is one of reliability and comfort. (PG-13)
Whip It Even with the bitter taste of her driveling Golden Globes acceptance speech still lingering, Drew Barrymore deserves genuine kudos for her directorial debut. Starring Ellen Page as a reluctant beauty-queen-turned-badass-skater, Whip It gleefully turns the male-oriented conventions of underdog sports films on their head and offers a feel-good story of sisters doing it — sloppily and aggressively — for themselves. One beef: Why no bonus material on this release? (PG-13)firstname.lastname@example.org
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