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

DVDs In Brief: September 16, 2009

Illustration for article titled DVDs In Brief: September 16, 2009

The latest installment in the X-Men film franchise reads a bit like a checklist: Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) first expresses his mutant powers, check. He gets his adamantium skeleton and a jones for revenge, check. He and his brother Sabertooth (Liev Schreiber) fight a bunch, check. Various other characters are duly introduced and left underdeveloped so they'll remain ripe for their own upcoming spin-off films, check. A sort of glorious illogic and love of camp permeates the whole project, with Wolverine crying "Noooooooo!" to the sky on a regular basis, but X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Fox) is trying so hard to be grim as well as corny that it doesn't really manage to be either…

Playing a free-spirited American racecar driver in the late ’20s, Jessica Biel does some of her best work (relatively speaking) in Easy Virtue (Sony), but the film also underlines a curious flaw in her voice, which is deep, flat, and affectless. A comedy-killer, basically. Based on the Noël Coward play—previously adapted in 1928, as one of Alfred Hitchcock’s early silents—the film sets Biel toe-to-toe with a calculating blueblood played by Kristin Scott Thomas, but the dry wit with which Biel attempts to deflect her adversary’s one-liners instead bounces limply to the hardwood…

Next Day Air (Summit) initially appears to be a loose, ramshackle, improvisational comedy about aimless hustlers with nothing to do. But it gradually reveals itself as a surprisingly tight, economical thriller that sends a bunch of desperate lowlifes on a collision course with destiny. Starring Donald Faison and Mos Def, it’s the rare crime comedy that does justice to both sides of the equation…


Peter Askin's Trumbo (Magnolia) subscribes to the simultaneously novel and forehead-slappingly obvious notion that the best way to pay homage to a great man of letters is through his own words. In archival footage, Dalton Trumbo cuts a dashing, unforgettable figure, with his hyper-verbal charm and a walrus mustache that looks both debonair and vaguely comic, but his literary voice is what dominates the film.

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