DVDs In Brief: May 5, 2010

DVDs In Brief: May 5, 2010

Based on the evidence onscreen, there’s little sense that the splashy musical flop Nine (Weinstein) would work in any setting: The songs are clunky, unmemorable, and on-the-nose, and the references to Italian studio filmmaking and Fellini’s 8 ½ hopelessly shallow and inaccurate. But under Chicago director Rob Marshall’s direction, the film is so brutally airless that not even a cast of glamorous, scantily clad stars (including Penélope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, and Fergie) succeed in quickening the pulse… 

Not even the mega-watt charm of Amy Adams (and to a lesser extent, Matthew Goode and Adam Scott) can save Leap Year (Universal), a comically convoluted though painfully unfunny rom-com about a shrill go-getter who travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on Leap Day and ends up on a raucous road trip with an earthy native. Will this crazily mismatched pair ever get together? Yes. Yes they will… 

If you've seen the poster images of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in a tutu and fairy wings, you've been exposed to most of the point of the dumb but largely unobjectionable kiddie comedy The Tooth Fairy (Fox), the latest in the long line of cinematic ventures where a tough guy playing against type is the beginning and end of the story. The Tooth Fairy does pile on the plot complications, with Stephen Merchant as a tooth-fairy wannabe and Ashley Judd as Johnson's girlfriend and parent to two more adorable subplots, but the whole thing is really just an outlet for cheap-CGI mania and tee-hee-tutu gags…

Poor Francis Ford Coppola. After a decade in exile from Hollywood, the once-revered director has sought renewal with a pair of self-financed independent features, 2007’s Youth Without Youth and the black-and-white melodrama Tetro (Lionsgate) but few have paid much attention. Though hugely flawed, Coppola’s operatic story of estranged brothers and Oedipal strife in Buenos Aries, Argentina is a gorgeous bauble, giving the city a memorably timeless, enchanting surface… 

Much like the great French film Time Out, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata (E1 Entertainment) concerns a businessman (Teruyugi Kagawa) who loses his job, but rather than suffer the embarrassment of telling his family, he puts on his suit in the morning and pretends to go to work. But Kurosawa’s film lurches from austere family drama to whimsical comedy to something altogether unclassifiable, and if you can hang on for the tonal rollercoaster ride, it's a lot of fun… 

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