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DVDs In Brief: February 8, 2012


DVD round-up

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With Breaking Dawn – Part One (Summit), the Twilight series gave the most preposterously florid entry in Stephenie Meyer’s popular YA books to its classiest director to date in Bill Condon, the man responsible for Dreamgirls, Kinsey, and Gods And Monsters. The result? A guiltily ridiculous “psychomelodrama” that combines a shameless wedding fantasia with a gruesome exercise in David Cronenberg-like body horror… 

Project Nim (Lionsgate), the latest accomplished, well-received documentary from Man On Wire director James Marsh, documents a disastrously disorganized 1970s experiment to raise a chimpanzee alongside human kids to see how that affected ape intelligence and language development. While it never reaches Grizzly Man levels of grimness—in many places, it’s downright funny, due to the extreme personalities involved—it carries some messages Werner Herzog would approve, about the danger of sentimentality toward wild creatures, and of taking a romantic rather than a practical attitude toward nature…

Second sequels have roughly as terrible a track record as recent 3-D movies and stoner comedies, so expectations for A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (New Line) were understandably on the low side. Thankfully, the follow-up to Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay soars over these exceedingly modest expectations through sheer, giddy excess. What’s not to like about a film with Patton Oswalt as a pot-dealing mall Santa, a bloodily imaginative Claymation sequence, Danny Trejo ejaculating on a Christmas tree, and cameos from Jesus and Santa along with another turn from Neil Patrick Harris as the world’s least likely heterosexual horndog? 

Did Shakespeare really write his plays? Yes. Undeniably yes. And yet here’s Anonymous (Sony), a Roland Emmerich-directed film that explores some silly Shakespeare conspiracy theories and somehow makes them sillier. Did you know that the true author of Shakespeare’s plays wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream as a child? Believe it or not! (Correct answer: not.)