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DVDs In Brief: July 18, 2012 


DVD round-up

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Few people saw Lockout (FilmDistrict)—or Space Jail, as some critics have redubbed it—but the latest grease-pile of empty calories from writer-producer Luc Besson is enjoyably ludicrous, a reworking of Die Hard (and Escape From New York) set aboard the most inefficient maximum-security prison ever conceived. Channeling the smug irreverence of Han Solo or Val Kilmer in Real Genius, Guy Pearce plays a wisecracking government agent assigned to rescue the president’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from the savage inmates of SuperMax facility floating in outer space. It’s a movie that richly rewards not reflecting on it for a second… 

There was a time when Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro, and Jim Carrey were supposed to be cast in The Three Stooges (Fox), but the one that finally got made replaced those screen luminaries with Chris Diamantopoulos, Sean Hayes, and Will Sasso and was anticipated with a cultural dread that threatened to make the project DOA. But reviews for the Farrelly brothers’ affectionate homage to the Stooges were kinder than expected, perhaps because the Farrellys’ sincerity—a signature of all their comedies—proved disarming. It could be funnier, though… 

Every bit the heart-stopping thrill-ride its title suggests, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (CBS) stars Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt as a grumpy government drone and a high-strung London singleton, respectively, who take an assignment to set up a salmon fishery in a hostile climate. Though it starts as a light, lively satire about two people who don’t necessarily belong together, the film sinks into a bland and overly familiar love story that relegates its setting to mere backdrop… 

Matt Piedmont’s telenovela spoof Casa De Mi Padre (Lionsgate) may be a one-joke comedy, but it sucks every bit of marrow out of it. Though almost entirely in Spanish, the film casts superstar gringo Will Ferrell as an idiot man-child who discovers that his smarter brother (Diego Luna) is a drug dealer at war with a rival (played, in a casting wink, by Luna’s Y Tu Mamá También co-star Gael García Bernal). Piedmont gets the exuberantly incompetent feel of a bad telenovela exactly right and runs through all the meta-jokes in under 90 minutes…

With his audacious debut feature Intacto and his excellent 28 Days Later sequel 28 Weeks Later, director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo proved a capable genre craftsman, but that’s about all the disappointing horror thriller Intruders (Millennium) has going for it. Much like Guillermo Del Toro, Fresnadillo uses the monster movie to address loftier themes of storytelling and memory, but the film’s story about ghostly visitations to children is full of gimmicky, lame shock tactics.