DVDs In Brief: March 9, 2011

DVDs In Brief: March 9, 2011

Released to DVD in perfect sync with its Best Documentary Oscar triumph, Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job (Sony) resembles his debut feature, No End In Sight, in that it doesn’t present new information, but assembles a cohesive, informative, persuasive argument out of old material. Ferguson’s dissection of the current financial crisis is clear and thorough, but lacks imagination; as a primer, it’s far outpaced by the likes of Michael Lewis’ The Big Short or This American Life’s “The Giant Pool Of Money”…

Given that 1987’s wonderful Broadcast News concerned itself with the dumbing-down of network standards, it does no favors to Morning Glory (Paramount) to be a dumbed-down version of Broadcast News, ultimately celebrating the lighter-side-of-the-news stories that the earlier film decried. Still, it’s a pleasing, smart entertainment, with a bright lead performance by Rachel McAdams as a go-getting morning-show producer and a wry turn by Harrison Ford as a cranky newsman in the Dan Rather mold…

DVD may be a more comfortable place for The Next Three Days (Lionsgate), Paul Haggis’ mercifully issue-free follow-up to Crash and In The Valley Of Elah. Still, the heaviness of Haggis’ style remains, dragging what might have been a brisk prison-break story into a two-hour-plus slog. The relaxed pacing might play out better at home, though, and Russell Crowe does fine work as a husband who’s determined to bust his wife (Elizabeth Banks) out of jail, in spite of ample evidence of her guilt…

Johnny Knoxville and his gang of merry pranksters returned after a long hiatus to take advantage of technological advances that now allow nut shots to be displayed in three full dimensions in the gross-out smash Jackass 3-D (Paramount). By now, just about everyone knows the drill: If you enjoy watching giggling thrill-seekers sublimate their homosexual longing for one another through a series of sketches and stunts, then a third Jackass will rock your world. If not, its mere name is enough to engender shivers of dread…

The gonzo black comedy Four Lions (Magnolia) is a work of such breathtaking audacity that the mere fact that co-writer/director Chris Morris got it made and released theatrically is an incredible achievement. But the film’s triumphs don’t end there: Morris gleans big laughs and scathing satire out of the delusions of grandiosity shared by a cell of young, fundamentalist Islamic suicide bombers. Their dreams of jihad are compromised by their incompetence.

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