For all their plot dissimilarities, Terrence Malick's films invariably deal with the fall of Edens on earth. Last year's The New World (New Line) was no exception—it recast the relationship between John Smith (Colin Farrell) and Pocahontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher) as an American Paradise Lost (with voiceovers). One of those films destined to be better appreciated down the line than on its initial release, it's already begun to attract a well-deserved cult following. Whether this DVD will increase that cult remains to be seen, since Malick's slow, hypnotic movies always play better on the big screen. Either way, it presents the trimmed 135-minute cut that played most of the country, so devotees might want to hold out for the longer DVD cut that's reportedly in the works
Though a perfectly clear-headed, reasonable essay on the consequences of perpetual revenge, Steven Spielberg's Munich (Universal) was destined to infuriate the ideologically entrenched, so it's a tribute to the film's sanity that Israelis and Palestinians alike voiced their displeasure. Capping a year in which political features finally caught up with their documentary counterparts, the film captures the reckoning that followed the tragedy at the 1972 Summer Olympics, and the cycle of violence that continues today
Nanny McPhee (Universal) has all the makings of a great children's film: The respected storybook source has been adapted by star Emma Thompson, who joins a fine ensemble that includes Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, and an ideally cast Angela Lansbury. Too bad the eye-searing color scheme seems designed to drive all but the most sugar-crazed spazzes out of the theater
Rumor Has It (Warner Bros.) probably wouldn't have bombed so hard if it weren't built on the foundation of a classic as beloved as The Graduate, or if screenwriter and original director Ted Griffin hadn't been fired after a week. Nevertheless, its DVD is the first in history to be released with a high-definition option, so folks with HDTV can watch this hopelessly muddled romantic comedy in a format with the visual sharpness and clarity that the story desperately lacks
Lajos Koltai's adaptation of Imre Kertész's autobiographical novel Fateless (ThinkFilm) follows a 14-year-old Hungarian Jew who shows up in the wrong place at the wrong time, gets sent to a concentration camp, and spends the rest of the film pondering the meaning of destiny. It's a strange kind of coming-of-age story, in a brutal milieu, but it's also perversely beautiful, enhanced by a typically lyrical Ennio Morricone score and by Koltai's hazy, grayed-out images.