You’re getting old if you remember when movies had actual release platforms. Pretty soon now, it’s going to be standard operating procedure for every picture to go simultaneously to theaters, Blu-Ray, cable, Hulu.com and maybe even Lite-Brite. The phenomenon is particularly noticeable in a place like Orlando, where exhibitors are sometimes lucky to squeeze in a week’s worth of showings of a left-of-center flick before it turns up in their Netflix queues.
With that kind of prompt turnaround, you might be wondering if there’s any reason to patronize your local cinema at all. And there isn’t. No, wait! We’ve thought of something: It has to do with advancing the community’s prestige. Every now and then, a film comes along that’s restricted to the so-called major markets yet has no announced home-video date. For instance, how are you going to live with yourself come Friday, knowing that audiences in New York and Los Angeles are getting to watch Zombie Strippers with Jenna Jameson and you aren’t? Write your congressman.
Opening Friday, April 18
Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? Having blown the lid off the toxic goings-on at McDonald’s, mustachioed muckraker Morgan Spurlock goes in search of an only slightly less lethal target: the jihadist public enemy that everyone but George W. Bush wants to see brought to justice. (See review, page 26.) If you’re in the mood to keep the
al-Qaida theme going, this week also marks the DVD release of the diplomatic romp Charlie Wilson’s War (Universal Home Entertainment), which explains in detail how our government’s bungling created bin Laden in the first place. Oh, wait, it totally doesn’t! (The Weinstein Co.; PG-13)
88 Minutes Connoisseurs know that the best Al Pacino “appearance” in years was Bill Hader’s Saturday Night Live impression of the leather-clad, leather-lunged icon placing a cell-phone inquiry to his bank. After that sort of career-defining entertainment, how excited can we get about seeing the real Pacino fend off the death threats of a mysterious caller? We bet there isn’t even a Recent Transaction in the thing. (Sony Pictures; R)
Forgetting Sarah Marshall The latest in a seemingly endless series of comedies from the Judd Apatow camp has Jason Segel essaying the self-written role of a love-starved loser who bumps into his ex while on a Hawaiian vacation – once again proving how painful it is to be a guy who doesn’t get everything he wants the exact second he wants it. (Universal Pictures; R)
The Forbidden Kingdom An American teen travels back to ancient China, where he gets tips on honor and courage from kung fu masters Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Together, they resolve to boycott the Olympics. (Lions Gate Entertainment; PG-13)
Available Tuesday, April 22
Cloverfield The disc version of last winter’s vérité creature feature comes complete with two alternate endings. Our wish list: 1) Every one of the movie’s whiny trust-fund brats becomes Monster Chow. 2) Everyone in the world who remotely resembles them bites it, too. (Paramount Home Entertainment)
The Orphanage One downside of this alienated-hipster thing we’ve got going for us is that folks can never quite tell when one of our endorsements is sincere. So please believe that our sarcasm mode is off when we implore all red-blooded fans of expertly assembled, emotionally affecting ghost stories to see this picture immediately. And if you aren’t into that kind of movie, what in the hell is wrong with you? (Still not being sarcastic, there.) (Picturehouse)
Three Days to Vegas One of the greatest things that ever happened to us was overhearing Florida Film Festival guest Peter Falk talk to his own penis in the Enzian Theater men’s room. Journalistic integrity forbids us from repeating the monologue verbatim, but let’s just say that Big Columbo and Little Columbo apparently don’t always see, um, eye-to-eye. Anyway, Falk is in Three Days to Vegas, which comes out on DVD today. We honestly know nothing about the movie. We just love telling that story. (First Look Home Entertainment)
Available Tuesday, April 22
P.S. I Love You Hey, remember this movie? It was out not that long ago. Hilary Swank was in it. Gerard Butler, too. See, that’s the great thing about soundtracks: The memories last a lifetime. (Varèse Sarabande)firstname.lastname@example.org