In this week’s new video releases, Anne Hathaway plays a lost soul trying to reconnect with her family in Rachel Getting Married; Jason Statham is back on the road again for the action-packed Transporter 3; and Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott buddy up for the comedy, Role Models.
Rachel Getting Married
Anne Hathaway might be one of the more talented young actresses working in Hollywood today. She can step lightly through comedies like The Princess Diaries, only to act her heart out with heavy roles in films like Brokeback Mountain.
In her latest and possibly most challenging role, Hathaway plays Kym, a recovering drug addict haunted by the past as she returns from rehab for her sister’s wedding. Set adrift between her divorced parents, who are polar opposites that seem to push her personality back and forth, Kym is faced with constant scrutiny and the pain of a family torn apart by their inability to communicate, not to mention the horrible mistakes of her own past.
Rachel Getting Married is a deftly written and directed film with an amazing cast, including Rosemarie DeWitt as Rachel, and Bill Irwin and Debra Winger as their parents. Director Jonathan Demme works the script for all that it’s worth, building up the story for every bitter moment as well as each punctuated laugh.
The film’s realistic cinematography, on top of the natural dialogue, are also mesmerizing, and help make this film fit perfectly around Hathaway’s desperate Kym.
Most of all though, I can’t praise Hathaway enough for this taunt, spectacular role, with all of its quirks. Hathaway is earnest and almost beautifully flawed, to the point that it hurts watching her unravel throughout the film.
My only complaint with the film might be the three over-long interludes that break up the film as we linger around the wedding dinner, and a few of the other wedding moments. These asides make you feel like you’re peering into this real family event, but they do distract and prolong an otherwise tight story.
Jason Statham returns as the no-nonsense Frank Martin, a professional, high-end “transporter” who will deliver anything for a price. In this mindless but entertaining jaunt through the European countryside Frank is once more pushed into a big job with lots of people on his tail who really don’t want him to get where he’s going.
This time out Frank is forced into taking Valentina (Natalya Rudakova), the kidnapped daughter of the Ukraine’s Environmental Protection Agency, from one end of Europe to the other, all the while hooked up to a detonator that will blow him to bits if he moves more than 75 meters from his car.
Fighting off a small army of goons along the way, and trying to keep Valentina under control, Frank will once again have to prove why he’s the best at what he does. Maybe with just a little help from his friend, Inspector Tarconi, played by the always entertaining Francois Berland.
Genius, this series is not, but to date the Transporter films have been reliably action-packed, and Statham is just too much fun to watch in this role. Thanks to writer/producer Luc Besson, the series also happens to be one of the few that remains as good as when it started.
On the down side director Olivier Megaton fails to get anything profound from any of the cast with Statham and co-star Rudakova coasting on their good looks and charisma throughout most of the film. There is also just no seeing eye-to-eye with Transporter 3’s twisted, impossible logic, which makes very little sense, although it sure is fun to watch.
In this funny and sometimes heartfelt comedy, Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott play two social losers who get into trouble with the law and end up being forced to do community service for a youth mentoring program.
Rudd plays Danny, an average guy who is having a really bad day that ends with him in the hands of the law.
With Scott playing his co-worker, Wheeler, the two are forced to mentor two of the more challenging kids in a special program. Wheeler has the potty-mouthed little Ronnie (Bobb’e J. Thompson), while Danny is given the teenage prince of the geeks, Augie (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).
But the most shocking part of the film is that, even though the trailers made it look awful, it’s actually really, really funny. It also has its heart in the right place, and a sense that a talented screenwriter was actually involved (Rudd being one of them).
Plus, it stars the lovely Elizabeth Banks as Rudd’s love interest, Beth.
Throw in some live action role-playing, a few parties, pretty girls, and what you get is a great buddy comedy – something we hardly seem to see often enough, and done with a bit of style.
Also arriving on DVD this week…
Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition
Wet, Hot, American Summer
Caroline in the City: The Second Season
Family Ties: The Fifth Season
Girls Next Door: Season 4
South Park: The Complete Twelfth Season
* Please note I incorrectly listed Milk in last week’s new DVD releases. Please refer to that column for more on this fantastic, Oscar-winning film.