Judd Apatow fans, get thee to a video store! Knocked Up, starring Seth Rogen, is out on DVD today and features an entire disc of bonus materials that make it well worth your home video bucks. Otherwise, if you’re in the mood for some salacious WWII-era thrills (Black Book), or have 90 minutes to spend watching a behind-the-scenes featurette (Babel), you have plenty of new releases to choose from.
Judd Apatow‘s comic treatment of an accidental pregnancy is the best-reviewed comedy of the year so far (and one of our favorites here in the RT office); we already knew we had to have it, if only to re-watch the awesome “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” opening sequence! And then we took a look at the bonus features — with a whopping three hours of extras, there’s really no reason not to run to the store right now. In addition to special features like Apatow’s behind the scenes video diaries, an extended version of the psychotic OB-GYN Dr. Kuni’s verbal rampage, and a hilarious, cameo-filled Finding Ben Stone “casting” video (remember that Michael Cera on-set breakdown clip?), there are tons of improv-filled deleted and extended scenes. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You’ve got no excuses! Go get it now.
Paul Verhoeven is known for his over-the-top, effects-filled Hollywood films (see RoboCop, Starship Troopers, Total Recall) and also for pushing the envelope where good taste is concerned (see Basic Instinct, Showgirls). His latest, the WWII espionage thriller Black Book, bears both of those trademark stamps. The beautifully-lensed Dutch-language pic concerns a Dutch Resistance fighter (Carice van Houten) who encounters danger and intrigue while seducing a Nazi officer. But don’t expect sensitivity or quiet reflection on the grave historical subject matter — this is pure melodrama, with plenty of crass and ridiculous plot points to keep a Verhoeven fanatic enthralled. A director commentary and behind-the-scenes featurette comprise the extras.
The TV Set
Jake Kasdan wrote and directed this insider comedy about the cutthroat world of television, which should entertain those who love showbiz fiction. David Duchovny stars as a writer who sells a script to a cutthroat network, only to watch it devolve into a shadow of what it was meant to be…cautionary viewing for you aspiring Hollywood types out there?
Rolf de Heer‘s pre-contact Aborigine tale is notable for a few reasons: it’s the first feature-length film to be entirely shot using the languages of native Australians, and it’s been overwhelmingly approved by critics. The film, about a group of Aborigine men telling stories through their own oral history traditions, is accompanied on the DVD by a making-of featurette, interviews with de Heer and co-director Peter Djigirr, a gallery of historical anthropological area photos, and a CD-ROM study guide.
More Releases Worth Your While
I Like Killing Flies
A quirky documentary with an equally quirky subject, this critically-lauded film follows the iconoclast proprietor of the Greenwich Village eatery Shopsins.
This improvised mockumentary about high school teachers was written by former educators Mike Akel and Chris Mass based on their own experiences working in public schools, which if you went to public school, you know is a comic goldmine (I’m looking at you, Ms. Monares’ senior year Spanish class).
Directed by U.S.-born Japanese transplant Michael Arias, this anime flick follows rival orphan gangs on the streets of Japan.
Babel Special Collector’s Edition
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Oscar-nominated Babel is out again in a two-disc Special Collector’s Edition. Those truly moved by the multi-story drama might be interested in the release’s only special feature — a 90-minute making-of documentary shot by the director himself.
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You…
Nicolas Cage stars in this adaptation of a Philip K. Dick tale as a man who can see into the future — two minutes at a time. How useful can that be?
Despite an extraordinary cast that includes Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Toni Collette, and Claire Danes, this multi-generational tale of a dying woman’s true love turned out to be a snoozer. That is, unless you’re a native Rhode Islander who likes to play spot-the-location.
Full of It
A poorly executed, cliché-ridden teen comedy about a liar (Ryan Pinkston, who used to innocently ask celebs inappropriate questions on Punk’d) whose fibs become true, this flick didn’t come close to winning over critics.
Until next week, happy renting!