DVD reviews: 'The Three Stooges,' 'Friends With Kids'
By Garrett Conti
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 4:40 p.m.
Updated: Friday, July 20, 2012
“The Three Stooges” (2012, PG, 92 min., $29.98) Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Three Stooges are an institution in slapstick comedy. Moe, Larry and a combo of Curly, Curly Joe, Joe and Shemp have been on TV since the 1930s, and now, in 2012, the boys are back on the big screen. Written and directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly, “The Three Stooges” gets top performances from Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe), Sean Hayes (Larry) and Will Sasso (Curly). These guys are up to the task of playing roles that have been incredibly critiqued. Diamantopoulos, Hayes and Sasso carry an otherwise lackluster movie that's hobbled by a poor storyline and some old jokes. The movie's set up to attract families and faithful fans, and those are the groups that will enjoy this one the most. The film kicks off with Moe, Larry and Curly taking up residence at an orphanage run by nuns, some of which are played by Jane Lynch, Jennifer Hudson and Larry David. As the boys get older, they become a handful for the nuns, causing chaos all over the orphanage. Their time to leave finally comes in their 30s, when the boys are forced out into the world to raise enough money to save the orphanage. Consumers should go for the Blu-ray package because of the special features. Standard DVDs have a few good items — deleted scenes and Three Stooges Mash-up — but all of the great featurettes can be found on the Blu-ray disc. Kick off the featurettes with “Poifect,” an extra that looks at the casting of the film. 2.5 Stars.
“Casa de mi Padre” (2012, R, 84 min., $19.98) Give Will Ferrell some credit. It couldn't have been easy for the actor to do a Spanish-speaking film, especially since he's not fluent. Ferrell has the role of a simple Mexican named Armando, who's worked at his father's ranch his entire life. Once his brother, Raul (Diego Luna) — a wealthy international businessman — returns home with his fiancé, Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez), the excitement picks up for Armando. Raul is eventually exposed as a drug dealer, and he finds himself in a turf war with the Onza (Gael Garcia Bernal), a ferocious drug lord. The fight between spills over to the family ranch, and Armando is sucked into the middle. In the crossfire, Armando tries to save the beautiful Sonia and the rest of his family from becoming the latest victims of a drug war. Directed by Matt Piedmont, “Casa de mi Padre” plays like something between one of those heavily dramatic telenovelas and a gritty spaghetti Western. Also, with the involvement of Ferrell, there are plenty of laughs. The filmmaker mixes all of these genre elements into a fun film that adds up to a nice change of pace for comedy fans. Special features on standard DVD and Blu-ray packages are about the same, and a making-of featurette boosts the set. Commentary and interviews are also here. 2.5 stars.
“Friends With Kids” (2012, R, 107 min., $27.98) Jennifer Westfeldt made a name for herself in the early part of the century, starring in the indie hit “Kissing Jessica Stein.” In “Friends with Kids,” Westfeldt returns to the same type of genre concoction, mixing in the magic of New York City with romance. Westfeldt wears many hats here, writing, directing, producing and playing a lead role in a film that also stars Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Adam Scott, Edward Burns and Jon Hamm. Westfeldt is Julie, a woman in her late 30s who decides to have a baby with best friend Jason (Scott). Julie and Jason want to have all the fun a baby can bring without the dregs of married life. Friends are skeptical, and the relationship is good in the beginning. Then, things go sour, and Julie and Jason are forced into an awkward relationship. “Friends with Kids” is sharply written, albeit a bit too predictable. The dialogue elevates what turns out to be just another romantic comedy with dramatic undertones, and a terrific cast also gives “Friends with Kids” a boost. Otherwise, “Friends with Kids,” a film inspired by Westfeldt and her partner Hamm's experiences, is forgettable. Special features on Blu-ray and standard DVD sets are about the same, and viewers should start with a making-of featurette that enforces the hard work Westfeldt put into the picture. Commentary and deleted scenes are also available. 2 Stars.
“Down By Law” (1986, NR, 107 min., $24.95) Independent director Jim Jarmusch delivers one of his best films with this picture that puts three zeros together in a Louisiana prison. Tom Waits, John Lurie and Roberto Benigni have lead roles in this film that's been remastered by the Criterion Collection.
“Get the Gringo” (2012, R, 96 min., $29.98) Mel Gibson lands back in the action-adventure genre with this border-crossing story about an American criminal landing in a violently tough Mexican prison. Driver (Gibson) will have to use all of his experiences to survive his stay in a ruthless facility named El Pueblito.
“Intruders” (2011, R, 100 min., $28.99) Clive Owen and Carice Van Houten star in director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's chilling thriller about two children living in different countries being visited each night by a faceless being. The creepy being's goal is to take possession of both of the children, and won't be easily stopped.
“Extraterrestrial” (2011, NR, 90 min., $19.98) Described as a sc-fi comedy, filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo's film puts four people together in an apartment building during an alien invasion. The interesting group includes the creepy neighbor, a woman, her boyfriend and the fellow with whom she just cheated on him.
“4:44 Last Day on Earth” (2011, NR, 85 min., $24.98) A couple of New York artists — played by Willem Dafoe and Shanyn Leigh — face the impending end of the world together in director Abel Ferrara's newest flick. Cisco and Skye lock themselves inside their Manhattan apartment and wait for the end to arrive.
“Midnight Son” (2011, NR, 92 min., $27.97) In yet another vampire-themed motion picture, Scott Leberecht directs a story about a young man with a rare skin disorder that forces him to avoid being exposed to the sun. The disorder leads Jacob (Zak Kilberg) to consider an alternative to his pain that few would have considered.
“Doomsday Prophecy” (2011, PG-13, 92 min., $19.98) This made-for-television film starring A.J. Buckley and Jewel Staite finds a man running for his life after he's shown a vision of the end of the world. With knowledge of the future, though, the man (Buckley) realizes he has the power to save the world before it town apart.
TV ON DVD
“Eureka: Season 5” (Colin Ferguson and Salli Richardson-Whitfield, three discs, 13 episodes, $34.98)
“Alphas: Season One” (David Stathairn and Malik Yoba, three discs, 11 episodes, $44.98)
“Sanctuary: The Complete Fourth Season” (Robin Dunne and Ryan Robbins, four discs, 13 episodes, $44.98)
“IRT: Deadliest Roads: Season Two, The Andes” (reality series, four discs, 13 episodes, $39.95)
“Storage Wars: Volume Three” (reality series, two discs, 16 episodes, $19.95)
“Dan Vs.: The Complete First Season” (animated series, three discs, 22 episodes, $24.98)
“Bonanza: The Official Third Season” (Lorne Green and Michael Landon, nine discs, 34 episodes, $76.99)
“The Inbetweeners: The Complete Series” (Simon Bird and James Buckley, three discs, 18 episodes, $39.98)
— Garrett Conti
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