Out on video
Due next week
"Burlesque" — Christina Aguilera plays the proverbial small-town girl from Iowa who gets on a bus and travels to Los Angeles hoping for stardom. She finds it in the Burlesque Lounge, a Sunset Strip club run by Cher. With a cornball story to showcase their musical numbers, it's a cheesy entertainment of interest primarily because of the embedded music videos. Rated PG-13 for sexual content including several suggestive dance routines, partial nudity, language and some thematic material. Two stars.
"Faster" — A pure thriller, all blood, no frills, in which a lot of people get shot, mostly in the head. Dwayne Johnson stars as Driver, a just-released prisoner working his way down a hit list of those who betrayed him and killed his brother. Billy Bob Thornton is the heroin-addicted cop, close to retirement, on his trail, along with a detective played by Carla Gugino. Oliver Jackson-Cohen is the Brit hit man also on Driver's trail. Efficiently delivers action for an audience that likes one-course meals, but that's about it. Rated R for strong violence, some drug use and language. Two and a half stars.
"Love and Other Drugs" — Jake Gyllenhaal plays a gung-ho pharmaceutical salesman in the 1990s, not above flirting with doctors' receptionists if it gets him through the door. Anne Hathaway plays the beautiful patient of one doctor. They meet under shady circumstances, but nonetheless fall in love, and she reveals she's in the early stages of Parkinson's. This fact changes the course of a comedy into something much more serious, and the comic elements become an awkward fit. With Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Josh Gad and Gabriel Macht. Directed by Edward Zwick. Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, pervasive language, and some drug material. Two and a half stars.
"Megamind" — Bright and amusing animation as two aliens (voiced by Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt) battle for control of Metro City. Tina Fey voices a local TV reporter, David Cross is a piranha-like sidekick for Megamind, and Jonah Hill is a put-upon TV cameraman who finds himself transformed into a third super being. Rated PG for action and some language. Three stars.
"127 Hours" — The harrowing true story of Aron Ralston, a rock climber whose arm was pinned to a Utah canyon wall by a boulder. In desperation he amputated his own arm to free himself. James Franco stars in Danny Boyle's film, which is gruesome but not quite too gruesome to watch. It's rather awesome what an entertaining and absorbing film Danny Boyle has made here. Yes, entertaining. Rated R for language and some disturbing violent content/bloody images. Four stars.
"Due Date" — Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis star as a mismatched odd couple who find themselves sharing a rental car on a drive from Atlanta to Los Angeles. In a comedy that's as near as makes no difference to a down-market retread of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," they create big laughs and have some funny stops along the way, but the Galifianakis character is so obnoxious in such a passive-aggressive way that we don't much want to see the journey continue. Passable entertainment, but a missed opportunity. Directed by Todd ("The Hangover") Phillips. Rated R for language, drug use and sexual content. Two and a half stars.
"Get Low" — Robert Duvall plays a backwoods hermit who figures his time is coming, and enlists the local undertaker (Bill Murray) in planning a big funeral send-off that he will pay for himself and enjoy while he's still alive. Melodrama, human comedy, and a sweet reunion with an old squeeze (Sissy Spacek). Nice work by Lucas Black as the undertaker's assistant. Rated PG-13 for some thematic material and brief violent content. Three stars.