Susan Granger's DVD update
Published 2:10 pm, Thursday, August 25, 2011
"The Best and the Brightest" is a caustic social comedy about Manhattan parents (Neil Patrick Harris, Bonnie Somerville) who will do anything to secure a kindergarten slot for their daughter on an elite prep-school track. Without cash or connections, they turn to an admissions consultant (Amy Sedaris) who helps them invent personas to insure their child's success.
"The Elephant in the Living Room" is Michael Webber's documentary journey deep inside the controversial subculture where dangerous, wild animals are kept as household pets -- like a 10-foot alligator walking through a mid-western town, a gaboon viper lurking in a garage, a leopard dashing through a major city and an African lion chasing cars on the freeway.
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"Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" is a spoof about product placement, acknowledging that the pomegranate juice company that invested $1 million got billing above the title. Like "Super Size Me," Morgan Spurlock's new documentary is heavy on humor.
"The Beaver" is a maudlin melodrama about mental illness and its destructive effect on a family. Starring Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster, it's a depressing and disturbing cinematic interlude with a contrived conclusion.
Kevin Kline and Sandrine Bonnaire star in "Queen to Play," a stylish, sophisticated French drama about a grumpy American expat who teaches his maid the game of chess on the idyllic isle of Corsica; adapted from Bertina Henrich's "The Chess Player," it's a reminder that it's not how we start out but rather how we finish the game that's most important.
From Scotland comes actor/writer/director Peter Mullan's "NEDS" ("Non-Educated Delinquents"), a relevant coming-of-age story set in gritty 1970s Glasgow.
Disney's "Bambi II Special Edition" is the heartwarming family story of a son's courage and a father's love, focusing on how Bambi was raised by the Great Prince of the Forest.
UNEXPECTED PICK OF THE WEEK: Andre Ovredal's "Troll Hunter" is a droll Norwegian mock documentary about college film students who set out to capture footage of huge, real-life trolls after learning that their existence has been covered up by a government conspiracy.