Susan Granger's weekly DVD update
Published 6:36 pm, Friday, August 24, 2012
Disneynature's "Chimpanzee" is a heartwarming, inspirational documentary that explores the social structure of a tribe of 35 simians living in the Tai rainforest on Africa's Ivory Coast, while Tim Allen's banal, cloyingly cute narration anthropomorphizes the primates, creating protagonists and villains.
Jack Black plays funeral director "Bernie" Tiede in Richard Linklater's weirdly wacky adaptation of a true-crime story that took place in East Texas -- with Shirley MacLaine as his benefactor and victim.
Cheeky Sasha Baron Cohen's "The Dictator" is disappointingly dumb and infantile, as he plays Gen. Admiral Haffaz Aladeen, ruler of oil-rich Wadiya, with Ben Kingsley as his Security Chief and Procurer of Compliant Women.
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Uncompromising director Abel Ferrara's "4:44 Last Day on Earth" finds Willem Dafoe and Shanyn Leigh as Manhattan artists facing doom together as the world comes to an end because of the destruction of the ozone layer,
Margaret Atwood's non-fiction best-seller "Some Debts Can't Be Paid With Money" is the basis for a riveting documentary on debt in its various forms: societal, environmental, spiritual and criminal. And Saul Landau's landmark documentary "Fidel" provides a unique view of Cuba's controversial and polarizing leader with fascinating archival footage of the Bay of Pigs invasion and scenes of Che Guevara, alongside interviews with political prisoners.
In Spanish with English subtitles, "Bonsai" is Chilean Alejandro Zambra's drolly tender, touching story of love, books and plants.
For preschoolers, there's "Angelina Ballerina: Dreams Do Come True" and "Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation."
PICK OF THE WEEK: Acclaimed as one of last year's best foreign films, "A Separation" is an enigmatic meditation on marital conflict in contemporary Iran, where two couples appear before a judge to defend themselves along with their legal, moral and religious beliefs in family court.