DVDs In Brief: June 10, 2009

DVDs In Brief: June 10, 2009

 

Many filmmakers enter a slow fade in the latter part of their career, but if nothing else, Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino (Warner Bros.) is evidence that he’s not going gently into that good night. As a grizzled widower and Korean War veteran rankled by the decline of his Detroit neighborhood, Eastwood represents the “gets off my lawn” intractability of old men who are reluctant to adapt to changing times. His relationship with the Hmong immigrants next door evolves, but not before Eastwood gives voice to some disturbing sentiments… 

Tom Twyker, the kooky auteur behind Run, Lola Run and Perfume: Story Of a Murderer, played gun-for-hire in helming The International (Sony), a thoroughly forgettable international thriller about the sinister machinations of an evil bank (oh screenwriters, such vivid imaginations!). With the exception of a bravura shootout at the Guggenheim, The International is as forgettable as its title. Twyker often overreaches; this is the first time in his career that he errs by not being ambitious enough… 

Like a grotesque hybrid of the straight-to-video sequels to American Pie and Bring It On, Fired Up (Sony) follows a pair of skirt-chasing jocks (Eric Christian Olsen and Nicholas D’Agosto) who enroll in cheerleading camp in order to expand their pool of potential conquests. They’re supposed to be irreverent heroes, but in reality, they smug little weasels, a Seacrest-and-Dunkleman pair that behave like the twin offspring of Van Wilder…

Director Wayne Kramer’s last film, 2006’s Running Scared, was plum crazy, an outrageously overheated thriller that recalled Sam Fuller in its mix of social consciousness and genre exploitation. His follow-up, Crossing Over (Weinstein), takes a regrettably more sober tack, offering up a broad cross-section of people involved in immigration and deportation. The film has enough subplots for a 10-hour miniseries, and that’s where the problems start…