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

DVDs In Brief: February 9, 2011

Illustration for article titled DVDs In Brief: February 9, 2011

Featuring the latest in a disturbing line of brittle, castigating Katherine Heigl characters, Life As We Know It (Warner Bros.) stars Heigl as a single woman who inherits a 1-year-old when her friends die in a car accident. The only catch? She has to share parental responsibilities with another friend of the deceased, a boorish TV sports director played by Josh Duhamel. Will this hapless, mismatched pair stop their bickering and become a real family? We’re insulted you even asked that question…

Last year’s sudden, Facebook-fueled resurgence of Betty White courted instant overexposure, but her brief appearances on TV’s Community, the Sandra Bullock vehicle The Proposal, and the otherwise dire comedy You Again (Buena Vista) confirmed her veteran comedic chops. Amid You Again’s lame story about the rivalries between two mother-daughter pairs—Jamie Lee Curtis and Kristen Bell in one corner, Sigourney Weaver and Odette Yustman in the other—White just sneaks in and steals a scene…

Ntozake Shange’s 1975 theater piece For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf is a collection of 20 choreographed poems, voiced by seven performers, each identified only by a color of her clothing, and each offering a different story about her experience as a black woman in America. Given Tyler Perry’s issues with a) depicting women as anything other than angels or harpies, and b) shooting movies in a competent fashion, he seems like the last person who should be allowed to adapt Shange’s play to the screen. For Colored Girls (Lionsgate) doesn’t defy that impression in the least…


The original Paranormal Activity more or less applied the Blair Witch formula to the haunted-house movie and rode an ingenious viral campaign to ludicrous profits. The effective semi-prequel, Paranormal Activity 2 (Paramount), takes a lesson from Blair Witch 2’s failure by opting not to take the franchise in a new direction. Instead, it serviceably amplifies the same types of scares…

After breaking through with Half Nelson and Sugar—two thoughtful, affecting, beautifully acted dramas in John Sayles mode—Anna Fleck and Ryan Boden try to shift into quirky comedy/drama of the Fox Searchlight school with It’s Kind Of A Funny Story (Universal), but they lack the snap for it. In a rangy performance, Zach Galifianakis nearly saves the movie as a haunted but loveable psychiatric-ward veteran who leads the young hero (Keir Gilchrist) through the paces.

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