DVDs In Brief: June 3, 2009

DVDs In Brief: June 3, 2009

 

Let’s trace the evolution of He’s Just Not That Into You (Warner Bros.): It began life as a conversation on a Sex And The City episode better remembered for Charlotte’s overzealous conversion to Judaism; Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo spun it off into a quickie self-help book on dating dudes; and now it’s a 129-minute, Love Actually-esque rom-com extravaganza. The thin insights into relationships haven’t changed or deepened along the way, they’ve just gotten more bloated…

Sam Mendes’ adaptation of Richard Yates unsparing 1961 dissection of American suburbia didn’t quite turn into the year-defining prestige film it was meant to be. But if you missed Revolutionary Road (Paramount) in the theaters, it’s certainly worth catching at home. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet play an unhappily married couple in Camelot-era America who plan an escape from a suburban retreat that’s left them unhappier than they’d hoped. They never act on it, however, and the beautifully shot, unimpeachably acted, and just a little too airless film spins a slow-motion tragedy out of everyday frustrations…

Does anyone troll for Oscars as shamelessly (and fruitlessly) as director Edward Zwick? In his career, he’s made films about African-Americans in the Civil War (Glory), the legacy of a female Iraq War veteran (Courage Under Fire), and genocide-funding African mines (Blood Diamond). That bland, earnest, awards-grubbing Zwick touch is apparent again in Defiance (Paramount), the not-stirring-enough true story of Jewish brothers fighting the Nazis in the Belarusian forest in World War II.

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