DVD releases

  • Wed Dec 7th, 2011 4:35pm
  • Life

“The Help”

A white aspiring writer’s friendships with black maids in 1962 Mississippi results in a provocative book.

Director Tate Taylor has managed to pull off the near impossible. He created a sweet, intelligent and serious movie about racism in the Deep South of the ’60s and kept the humor that made the book by Kathryn Stockett a best-seller.

To accomplish this, Taylor brought together the strongest female cast since “Steel Magnolias.”

Grade: B

“Friends With Benefits”

Two people (Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis) try to have sex without emotional ties.

The film really is like two people having sex without any obligations: Everything’s OK as long as you don’t need any emotional connection and just want the immediate gratification of a few jokes about romantic comedy cliches.

Timberlake and Kunis have some chemistry and are at their best when they are trading snappy banter.

Grade: C+

“The Hangover Part II”

Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel to Thailand for Stu’s wedding.

The original “Hangover” story line about the bachelor party from hell felt forced and contrived set against the manufactured neon lights and glitter of Las Vegas. “Hangover Part II” still depends on the same crude and raunchy humor, but moving the action to Thailand makes the relentless debauchery seem far more dangerous and natural.

It’s not that funny, but it’s better.

Grade: C

Also new

“Designing Women: The Complete Fifth Season”: Includes 24 episodes of the TV comedy.

“The Simpsons: The Complete Fourteenth Season”: Features voice talents Dan Castellaneta and Hank Azaria.

“The Lucy Show: The Official Fifth Season”: Lucy moves to southern California.

“Big Love: The Complete Fifth Season”: Final season of the HBO series.

“Mr. Popper’s Penguins”: A driven businessman inherits six penguins. Jim Carrey stars.

Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)