Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

DVDs In Brief

Though it leans clumsily on a twisted, complicated mythology, the Will Smith blockbuster Hancock (Sony) is otherwise completely unexpected, the story of a drunken, glowering, foul-mouthed superhero who never morphs into Smith's usual unthreatening wisecracker. Part My Super Ex-Girlfriend, part Transformers-esque messy blockbuster, part weird indie comic, the film never entirely adds up, but at least it offers an original puzzle…

Eddie Murphy and his Norbit director Brian Robbins teamed up again for Meet Dave (Fox), a science-fiction comedy in which Murphy plays a spaceship in human form, operated by a tiny wisecracking crew. It exceeds utterly minimal expectations, but still amounts to little more than stranger-in-a-strange-land shtick crossed with gags left over from the '90s sitcom Herman's Head

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With the founding of his new distribution label Oscilloscope Pictures, Beastie Boy Adam Yauch (a.k.a. MCA) has invested himself heavily into movies, and he proves himself a capable director with Gunnin' For That #1 Spot, a documentary about a street-basketball event featuring the county's most gifted high-school prospects. The individual bio segments are a little rote, but Yauch's cameras make the game itself come alive, and it's a treat to see future NBA lottery picks like Michael Beasley and Kevin Love do their thing…

There's nothing inherently horrible about Space Chimps (Fox). It's just lazy and dreary, and spiked with one of the most annoying animated characters of the decade, a shrieking pink alien voiced by†Kristin Chenoweth at her howliest. A handful of solid one-liners and some solid acting from Andy Samberg and Patrick Warburton don't do much to offset animation ranging between so-so and lousy…

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The prolific Jia Zhang-ke is widely considered the most gifted of China's younger generation of directors, but his films to date—including Platform, Unknown Pleasures, and The World—all have the same strengths and weaknesses: His backdrops are always magnificently rendered and tell stories about the rapid, painful evolution of Chinese culture. In the fore, however, Jia keeps providing characters who can't see past their own navels. His latest, Still Life (New Yorker) follows the same patterns, though the spectacle of a small town about to be eradicated by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam more than compensates for its dramatic shortcomings.

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