DVD releases

  • Thursday, October 22, 2009 10:15pm
  • Life

“Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”

This is the third and barely-more-than-middling-funny installment in the series of animated features about the prehistoric adventures of Manny (voice of Ray Romano), Diego (Denis Leary) and Sid (John Leguizamo), a woolly mammoth, saber-toothed tiger and ground sloth stuck in a snowbound world.

Simon Pegg makes a nice acerbic addition to the cast as Buck, a one-eyed weasel who carries a sharpened dino tooth for a dagger and acts as a guide when our heroes discover a tropical world of dinosaurs under all that ice.

But the movie feels manufactured, a product not of evolution — nor even intelligent design — but of cynical, soulless opportunism.

Rated: PG for cartoon violence, toilet humor

“Il Divo”

This Godfather-ish drama about Italy’s big Mafia trials of the 1990s — court cases that implicated the very top of the Italian government, the Vatican and the Masons in mob activity — won a jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

This must have been a jury that enjoys reading its movies.

It’s not just the subtitles, it’s the endless cascade of names and events printed on screen, the blur of people and events that swirl around the inscrutable “villain” at the heart of the drama — Giulio Andreotti, capo di capi of the Italian Christian Democratic Party, played as an inscrutable, gnome-shaped sphinx by Toni Servillo.

“Il Divo” is like watching a cricket match. You don’t know the players, the rules or the history of the nation that invented it. But it’s all here for you in one confusing parade.

Rated: Unrated, probably R for violence

“Nothing Like the Holidays”

Lifting several pages from the Tyler Perry playbook, the film tells a familiar story of a Puerto Rican American family in Chicago that sorts out domestic problems over Christmas.

Anna (Elizabeth Pena) and Edy Rodriguez (Alfred Molina) are ready to welcome their three grown children home. Jesse (Freddy Rodriguez) is coming back from a tour of duty in Iraq. Mauricio (John Leguizamo) and his wife, Sarah (Debra Messing), are in from their high-powered New York jobs. Rox (Vanessa Ferlito) is a struggling actress in Los Angeles.

The script by Rick Najera and Alison Swan is unfocused and flabby with several relatively pointless scenes that are ended by convenient cell phone calls.

The ensemble cast boasts some of the finest actors in the business. They do their best to breathe life into the stereotypes, but they don’t have enough to work with.

Rated: PG-13 for language and adult subject matter

Also

“Adult Swim in a Box,” “Battlestar Galactica: The Plan,” “The Guardian: The First Season,” “Night of the Creeps,” “On the Road With Charles Kuralt: Set 1,” “The Samuel Fuller Collection,” “Stan Helsing,” “Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure” and “Z.”

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