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February 13, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | DVD Releases | February 13, 2008 |

Becoming Jane: Ranylt, whose appetite for polysyllables is only one-upped by her hunger for European period pics, nevertheless was left “rank cold” by Jane. “This one is empty and pointless and barely entertaining. If you see enough films of a certain genre, you can start to pick out which of its lesser examples tread perilously close to unintentional self-parody — alas, Becoming Jane’s characterizations, dialogue and performances are just formulaic enough to skirt that territory, and when they’re not cozying up to formula, they’re malingering lifelessly on the screen.”

Dedication: John wrote that the best thing going for Dedication was Billy Crudup, conceding however that the movie is “smart enough to play with certain conventions, even as it caves in to others, and say something fresh(ish) about what it means to love and respect someone. It’s not perfect by a long shot, but it manages to be romantic, which is more than most recent romances can say.”

Gone Baby Gone: Dustin trips over himself, stumbles down a flight of stairs, and breaks his spine fawning over Ben Affleck’s directorial debut, writing that “in 114 minutes, Ben Affleck manages to atone for a decade worth of sins, which is no small feat if you’ve seen Daredevil or Jersey GirlGone Baby Gone is a great fucking film and a movie that Ben Affleck, even if the awards elude him, ought to be pretty goddamn proud of.”

Into the Wild: John concedes that the film isn’t flawless — it “flirts with New Ageism, and it has to sneak in a heavy-handed reference or two to Jesus, but nevertheless felt that, “blemishes and all,” Into the Wild “is in the running for the best of the year.”

Introducing the Dwights: Ranylt lumps Dwights into a genre of films she terms “the gooey import,” and while she has some nice things to say about the performers, specifically Brenda Blethyn, they are unable to save the film’s ending, “where the film’s faint stench of maudlin finally overwhelms.”

Martian Child: Dustin writes that Martian Child “amounts to a sweet, sometimes cute film that outlasts its premise by a good 75 minutes or so, but thanks to the presence of John Cusack, it’s not a terribly obnoxious film. Just kind of cloying and blah. A decent rainy day film if your Netflix queue inexplicably goes dry. Or, for Cusack completists, two hours that you probably won’t mind losing for the greater Cusackian cause.”

No Reservations: Dustin summarizes No Reservations as such: It’s “not even mildly tolerable, it was about as limp and lifeless as a Ron Mexico pit bull shelter. About as exciting as James W. Holsinger’s sex life (or at least his poor wife’s). About as flaccid as Chad Pennington spiral. As titillating as a Hillary Clinton/Elizabeth Dole pillow fight. As thrilling as a Matchbox 20 melody,” concluding finally that “it was dull, people. Seriously dull.”

Things We Lost in the Fire: Phillip writes of the film, starring Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro, that it “is admirably performed, but still somehow inert due to the rote depiction of bereavement; it’s almost as if the makers of Fire read or studied the textbook properties of grief and loss, having never actually experiencing either themselves.”

We Own the Night: Dustin summarizes Night as such: Director James Gray caps “it with a moment of grief so overwrought that even freshmen at the Brett Ratner Academy of Film would cringe with contempt. Add to that the many police movie platitudes, characters’ motivations seemingly driven by their horoscopes, and absurdly implausible mechanics, and what you get is one gigantic mess of a movie. And that doesn’t even include the many interminable dead spots, where I found myself not hushing the jackasses talking behind me, but actually becoming more engrossed with their conversation about dinner plans than I was with the film.”

You Were the Bomb in Phantoms, Yo

This Week's DVD Releases / The Pajiba Staff

DVD Releases | February 13, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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