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Gervais goes from Globes to ‘Lying’



Every Tuesday, new DVD and Blu-ray titles are reaching retail shelves and Redbox outlets ready for you to rent. HollywoodNews.com stays on top of the latest releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we recommend:

The Invention of Lying: An engaging mixture of clever ideas and missed opportunities, Ricky Gervais’ “Lying” takes place in an alternate universe where people only speak the truth. When a self-loathing screenwriter discovers the inherent ability to fib, he creates religion, competes with his rival (Rob Lowe) and romances the beauty (Jennifer Garner) who’s out of his league. While not a straight-up comedy, “Lying” intrigues as a morality play set in an interesting fantasy land. Its satirical takes on the pros and cons of organized religion hit the targets, but the jokes often don’t. Also available on Blu-ray, “Lying” boasts four bonus features, a Making-Of reel, a 10-minute podcast, additional scenes and outtakes.

Big Fan: Similar to “The Wrestler,” which he co-wrote, Robert Siegel’s “Big Fan” witnesses the impact sports can have on vulnerable individuals. Stand-up comic Patton Oswalt excels as a rabid New York Giants football fan whose pitiful existence is disrupted after a violent confrontation with one of the team’s defensive stars (Jonathan Hamm). “Big Fan” isn’t as polished as “The Wrestler,” mainly because Siegel direct his own script rather than asking Darren Aronofsky to take the helm. But like “Wrestler,” this film wrings pain out of heartbreaking truths, and Siegel steamrolls “Big Fan” to an unpredictable conclusion that’s suspenseful, mildly coincidental, but gut-wrenchingly sad. The “Big Fan” DVD comes with Q-and-A sessions, an NPR interview, the film’s trailer and more.

Whiteout: Kate Beckinsale plays a U.S. marshal (Kate Beckinsale) stationed at an isolated, arctic base who must track Russian killers who crash near her frozen headquarters. The script is predictable, and the direction’s clunky. But the greatest sin of “Whiteout” is that snow just isn’t scary. Warner’s Blu-ray release includes “The Coldest Thriller Ever Made,” a clip on the film’s transition “From Page to Screen,” and deleted scenes.

By the People – The Election of Barack Obama: Ed Norton lends star power as the producer of this behind-the-scenes glance at the Obama campaign, presented by HBO’s documentary film arm. Obviously a film created for the president’s supporters, this candid doc comes with a director’s commentary track, a “Making of” reel, 10 bonus scenes and a DVD-ROM link to a collectible print of Obama’s inaugural speech.

Che: Steven Soderbergh’s comprehensive account of the Cuban revolutionary’s military accomplishments is united as one long vision after suffering a divide for its two-part theatrical release. Benicio Del Toro mesmerizes as the iconic socialist leader, but only die-hard historians will want to absorb every minute of Soderbergh’s precise yet taxing endeavor. There’s no griping about the extras on the Criterion Collection release, however. Look for new audio commentary tracks, extensive “Making of” documentaries, interviews with participants of Che’s Cuban Revolution and Bolivia campaign, deleted scenes, an informational booklet and more.

About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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  • January 19, 2010 | Permalink |

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by hollywoodscoop: Read our DVD/BD picks for today here, they include Che, Whiteout, The Invention of Lying: http://bit.ly/6bjjOS

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