Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled DVDs In Brief: January 18, 2011
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Our current political scene sorely deserves its own twist on The Candidate, the 1972 satirical classic about the systemic compromises that whittle away at our idealism, but George Clooney’s The Ides Of March (Sony) is weak sauce. Ryan Gosling stars as a go-getting political consultant who believes he’s found the perfect “change candidate” in Clooney, but the process of winning the primary involves some ethical lapses and behind-the-scenes chicanery that drags everyone into the muck. A terrific cast, including Philip Seymour Hoffman and Marisa Tomei, keep it humming along, but the film could have used a David Mamet or an Aaron Sorkin to give it some pop…

Set in 19th-century Portugal, Raúl Ruiz’s four-and-a-half-hour epic Mysteries Of Lisbon (Music Box), originally produced for television, follows a bastard boy and a kindly priest through a plot that spans decades and involves pirates, thieves, and slave-traders, as well as upper-crust society. As with Ruiz’s 1999 version of Proust’s Time Regained, the adaptation is sometimes diffuse and long-winded, but more frequently brilliant, characterized by visual invention and full-blooded melodrama…

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The God-fearing folks behind the Kirk Cameron marital-tip-filled smash Fireproof hit it big at the box office again with Courageous (Sony), a painfully earnest Christian drama about a group of cops who discover that being an upstanding husband, father, and Christian is the toughest and most rewarding job of all. Courageous preaches unmistakably to a vast choir, which helps explain its incredible commercial success…

Taylor Lautner took a brief break from portraying a shirtless, glowering werewolf in the Twilight films to headline the instantly forgettable action-drama Abduction (Lionsgate). The film’s premise has potential—Lautner plays an aimless teen who discovers his entire life has been a lie, and goes on the run—but slumming director John Singleton eschews soul-searching or even a moment’s reflection in favor of an endless series of interchangeable action sequences.

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