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DVDs In Brief: May 14, 2012


DVD round-up

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It’s tempting to say that Katherine Heigl’s career has hit rock bottom with One For The Money (Lionsgate), because unlike the other times when her career hit bottom—the unctuous Gerard Butler rom-com The Ugly Truth, say, or the Ashton Kutcher team-up Killers—nobody seemed that interested in seeing it. Though based on a respected Janet Evanovich series about bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, One For The Money miscasts Heigl as a blue-collar tough gal, but a bigger problem is the utter indifference behind the camera… 

After squandering his reserves of critical respectability with his big-screen version of The A-Team, director Joe Carnahan redeemed himself a little with The Grey (Open Road), a no less aggressively masculine and overwrought action movie that at least gets more thoughtful about it. The noir-like voiceover narration and campfire discussions about the existence of God get a bit much, but Liam Neeson anchors the film solidly as a oil-rigger who leads a group of plane-crash survivors through the wolf-filled Alaskan wilderness… 

The world didn’t need another “found footage”-style genre film, but the sleeper hit Chronicle (Fox) provided a great reason for one anyway, bringing a familiar story about teenage telekinesis down to an effectively human scale. When three teenagers from suburban Seattle descend a mysterious hole in a forest, they discover an energy source that grants them extraordinary powers—powers that, in the hands of tempestuous kids like them, eventually get out of control. The film is often funny in the beginning, when the friends are showing off their new tricks, but the video concept really pays off in the final third, when huge special effects are treated with an offhand grace… 

In Albert Nobbs (Lionsgate), Glenn Close plays a waiter at an upscale late-19th-century Irish hotel trying to pass herself off as a man—think Remains Of The Day by way of Just One Of The Guys. But the primary sticking point among many is that it’s impossible to believe Close in the role, no matter the volume of prosthetics applied in an effort to make her more masculine. Academy voters weren’t convinced, either: The film lost Best Makeup to The Iron Lady… 

Of the six movies to receive an “F” grade from Cinemascore—an admittedly flawed audience-polling metric—three of them would make an excellent mini film festival: Steven Soderbergh’s remake of Solaris, the nasty William Friedkin psychodrama Bug, and the effective extreme horror movie Wolf Creek. But sometimes audiences get it collectively right, and such was the case with The Devil Inside (Paramount), a shoddy video-style Exorcist knockoff with an ending that enraged an already hostile crowd.