Susan Granger's DVD update
In Northern California's picturesque wine country, "Chateau Meroux" uncorks a genial romantic comedy, starring TV stars Marla Sokoloff, Barry Watson and Amanda Righetti with the inimitable Christopher Lloyd - and the intoxicating blends created in the movie are actually sold in limited release.
With a mucho macho cast (Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert DeNiro), the testosterone-propelled "Killer Elite" revolves around a contract killer who treks to Oman on a rescue mission to exact vigilante justice.
Along with irascible, amusingly subversive Brenan Gleeson, there's murder, corruption and drug-trafficking in "The Guard," a wry, impudent comedy/crime caper, set in a tiny port town outside of Galway on the rugged west coast of Ireland.
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In "Puncture," an issue-driven drama, a do-gooder Houston lawyer (Chris Evans) and his drug-addicted partner (co-director Mark Kassen) take on a case involving a local ER nurse (Vinessa Shaw) who gets AIDS from a contaminated needle, revealing a health care/pharmaceutical conspiracy.
From the Czech Republic, "Protektor" is a nail-biting Holocaust drama, set in 1938 in W.W. II Prague; as Nazi forces roll into the city, a Jewish movie star refuses to succumb to their dictatorial presence. And Jackie Chan's "1911" is a patriotic epic about the birth of the People's Republic of China.
Less effective is "There Be Dragons," as an investigative journalist (Dougray Scott) researches a book about a canonized priest (Charlie Cox), the controversial founder of Opus Dei; unless you're a devout Catholic who's well-versed in Spanish history, watching it is like doing penance.
Sarah Jessica Parker frantically tries to juggle motherhood, marriage and a career in "I Don't Know How She Does It." And at the bottom of the barrel of raunchy female comedies is the smutty "What's Your Number?" as gals compare how many men they've slept with to determine their marriageability quotient.
PICK OF THE WEEK: Generating Oscar buzz, Brad Pitt stars in "Moneyball" as Billy Beane, the Oakland A's General Manager, who, along with a nerdy numbers-cruncher (Jonah Hill) devises a statistical analysis concept for scouting players, infuriating the team manager (Philip Seymour Hoffman).