Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Yeah, sure, Toy Story 3 is a masterpiece that will make you weep and laugh and cry and cackle in a way that cynics said computer animation would never do. But does it animate enormous, building-size pancakes that fall from the freakin' sky? Did those geniuses at Pixar think to create an enormous, bouncy Jell-O mold? No, but Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs did. This spectacular digital food fight was choreographed by first-time co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (who will next reboot 21 Jump Street) with a rat-a-tat attack of Loony Tunes—ish visual gags, a shameless love of silly spectacle, and an eclectic cast of voice-over actors (Anna Faris, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, Bruce Campbell, and Mr. T., for starters). This film will not make you cry. Not even close. But those CGI meatballs are as well-executed as the Titanotheruses from Avatar. (And if you're lucky enough to have a 3-D TV, this is also the first Blu-ray 3-D title on the market.)
Matt Damon's Iraq thriller flopped at the box office, but don't blame director Paul Greengrass, who artfully blew up as much stuff as possible to make Green Zone a true blast. As David Edelstein wrote in his review, "Green Zone is a slam-bam piece of muckraking and, to my mind, dead-on in its depiction of a traumatized Iraqi populace, a criminally misused American military, and a U.S.-backed charlatan (Ahmed Chalabi by another name) who smugly believes he can ease into leadership. But it's also rather tawdry."
Criterion's restoration of Michelangelo Antonioni's 1964 film, his first in color and his last with the stunning Monica Vitti, is for lovers of the urban wasteland — it's a morphing composition of lingering fog, mysterious machines, docked barges, and rusted metal, scored with a harsh, clanging soundtrack. This release is relatively light on extras by Criterion standards, but includes an apt companion piece: Antonioni's short film N.U., about city street cleaners.
A hot-tempered Robert Pattinson and a beatifically sympathetic Emile de Ravin are star-crossed New York lovers, edging toward one epically bad twist ending in a romantic tragedy that even Twi-Hards refused to make a hit. Seriously, in the world of insanely distasteful surprise endings, even M. Night Shyamalan will have trouble topping this one. And for that reason alone it demands to be seen.
Stephen Fry in America
Why settle for just being one of his 1.5 million Twitter followers when you can see the louche wit in the flesh, visiting a Nevada whorehouse and searching for Bigfoot in 2008's six-part, Brit-out-of-water BBC series?
Also out this week:
Entourage: The Sixth Season
Hung: The Complete First Season
The Last Station
Death Race 2000
She's Out of My League
A Star Is Born: Deluxe Edition
Tom & Jerry: Deluxe Collection