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DVDs In Brief: October 12, 2011

No doubt The Tree Of Life (Fox), Terrence Malick’s stunning film about life, the universe, and everything, as filtered through the experiences of a kid growing up in Texas around the same time Malick did, will be diminished by watching it on even the finest television. But the film’s intimate qualities won’t be lost, and its mysteries demand repeat viewings, on the big screen or on smaller ones…

In a summer that brought the superhero movie to its saturation point, poor Green Lantern (Warner Bros.) came out on the bottom, dragging a perfectly respectable DC comics line into family-friendly, Fantastic Four-level dreck. The reported $200 million budget paid for an unappealing, eye-searing computer-animated color scheme, and the human actors do little to resuscitate it, from Ryan Reynolds’ smug turn as Hal Jordan/Green Lantern to Blake Lively’s listless one as his love interest. Only Peter Sarsgaard as the science-nerd villain appears to be having any fun…

Kevin James’ affability was enough to turn Paul Blart: Mall Cop into a surprise hit, but audiences didn’t bite at Zookeeper (Sony), a more expensive, Adam Sandler-produced comedy that discovered the limits of James’ appeal to the masses. This blander-than-bland comedy casts James as a zookeeper who talks to the animals, but has a more dysfunctional relationship with the humans who want him to find another job. At least for those who’ve been pining for Jim Breuer to voice a sass-talking crow, the wait is over… 

It hard to get audiences to feel sorry for a heterosexual man cursed by something seemingly as ideal as the relentless sexual advances of boss Jennifer Aniston, but Charlie Day is up to the task in Horrible Bosses (Warner Bros.), a raunchy, hard-R comedy about three pals (Day, Jason Bateman, and the suddenly ubiquitous Jason Sudeikis) who join forces to take down nightmare bosses Aniston, Colin Farrell, and Kevin Spacey. The film succeeds on the strength of Day’s lunatic charm, the leads’ chemistry, and a funny supporting turn by Jamie Foxx as a self-styled murder consultant who isn’t entirely the badass he purports to be… 

Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer (Relativity) didn’t make back its modest $20 million budget at the box office, but it’ll doubtless do better on DVD, where it can find its designated devoted audience of small children who groove on its candy-colored design and sugar-rush aesthetic. Operating midway between the egotistical, hyperbolic kid-centric world of the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid movies and the living-in-a-videogame visual design of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, it seems designed to give adults headaches while giving kids access to a world as shiny as the ones in their heads.