House Calls: “Due Date,” “Nurse Jackie: Season Two,” And More!

House Calls: “Due Date,” “Nurse Jackie: Season Two,” And More!
due date dvd coverDue Date
Coolest extra: Gag reel (DVD); Additional scenes (Blu-ray)
Complex says: Some disappointments seem like cruel jokes, pies to the faces of people expecting nothing less than success. In the case of Due Date, can you really blame those who anticipated something special? All of the bizarrely matched, yet still favorable, pieces were on the board: one of Hollywood’s coolest and most liked actors (Robert Downey Jr.) teaming up with a one-of-a-kind comedic breakthrough (Zach Galifianakis) and the director (Todd Phillips) who helmed the funnyman’s behemoth hit (The Hangover). Hell, there was even an A-list bit player (Jamie Foxx) and a credible treat for the eyes (Michelle Monaghan). So what the hell went wrong? As the DVD reminds viewers, Due Date squanders its impressive parts with a shocking lack of memorably humorous scenes and a script that works extra hard to generate simultaneous indifference and coldness. RDJ’s character—an uptight father-to-be on a cross-country mission to see his child’s birth—is totally unlikeable, while Galifianakis’s eccentric routine wears thin by the film’s halfway point. What should’ve been an irreverent triumph with mismatched actors is ultimately a laugh-deficient Planes, Trains & Automobiles. We’re not worried about Mr. Downey, but Galifianakis and Phillips have some serious retribution to achieve with this summer’s The Hangover Part II.
Buy it now: Due Date

get low dvd coverGet Low
Coolest extra: “Getting Low: Getting into the Character” featurette (DVD and Blu-ray)
Complex says: Whereas the notable one-two combo at the forefront of Due Date topple, the unbeatable duo of leading men in Get Low brings the goods. Starring Robert Duvall and Bill Murray, this historical drama is methodical and quiet, but that’s not a bad thing, especially when the top-billed actors are in such an effortless groove. Get Low is based on an old Tennessee fable, placing Duvall in the shoes of Felix Bush, a mysterious curmudgeon who lives alone in the woods. As the film gets rolling, Bush demands a “living funeral,” which the owner of the town’s funeral parlor (Murray) gladly arranges with dollar signs frolicking within his mind. At the “funeral,” secrets are revealed, though nothing calamitous enough to upgrade Get Low into a thriller, or even a nail-biter. Instead, first-time director Aaron Schneider’s pic is a talky showcase for its actors; Murray, in particular, mines the even-keeled material for some dramatic gold. Though it’s not a knockout, Get Low is a finely tuned pleaser.
Buy it now: Get Low

mesrine 1 dvd coverMesrine: Killer Instinct Part 1
Coolest extra: None available
Complex says: Now this is what we’re talking about. Lovers of French cinema know that the country rarely holds back, going that extra mile to shock and awe in ways that Hollywood is too censor-conscious to attempt (just rent any French horror movie from the last five years for proof). And, we’re glad to report, the French answer to gangster biopics, Mesrine: Killer Instinct Part 1 (the America-ready first half of a longer French release), falls right in line, making visceral work of the often stale biography format. The always fantastic Vincent Cassel stars as Jacques Mesrine, a volatile yet charming criminal extraordinaire who broke out of prison, committed a slew of high-stakes bank robberies, and killed many folks all before the age of 36. The film’s director, Jean Francois-Richet, goes for broke, sustaining a kinetic pace and keeping viewers on their toes with split-screen action sequences and shamelessly graphic violence. At times, it’s a bit too over-indulgent and boisterous; with Cassel’s roaring performance at the center, though, Mesrine: Killer Instinct Part 1 has undeniable firepower.
Buy it now: Mesrine: Killer Instinct Part 1

fish tank criterion dvdFish Tank (Criterion Collection)
Coolest extra: Three short films by director Andrea Arnold (DVD and Blu-ray)
Complex says: Adolescence is often treated like, well, child’s play in Hollywood. It’s either juvenile teen comedy or artificially hip and edgy (Juno, anyone?). Producers out in Cali should take several cues from British writer-director Andrea Arnold’s superb pre-adult tale Fish Tank, a gloomy and intense movie starring two exceptional performers, 20-year-old Katie Jarvis and the this summer X-Men: First Class’ Magneto himself, Michael Fassbender. Playing a thick-headed teen going through domestic strife, Jarvis owns the camera; it’s a killer turn made all the more remarkable by her lack of professional training (Jarvis was discovered by Fish Tank’s casting agents). If the words “British drama” scare you off, note this: Jarvis’ character is an unabashed B-girl, prone to hip-hop dancing and partial to Nas’ “Life’s a Bitch” and multiple Eric B. and Rakim joints. It’s time to fess up: We most certainly sweat the technique of all involved with this must-rent flick.
Buy it now: Fish Tank (Criterion Collection)

nurse jackie season two dvdNurse Jackie: Season Two
Coolest extra: Commentaries featuring Edie Falco (DVD and Blu-ray)
Complex says: Maybe it’s because all of Tony’s gumar’s were a thousand times hotter, but we never really warmed up to Edie Falco’s Carmela Soprano on HBO’s still-amazing-in-syndication The Sopranos. Sure, she was the kind of take-no-guff wife we’d love to someday have around to keep us in check, but we always rooted for Big Tone. So it’s both with genuine surprise and tail-between-the-legs admission that we wholeheartedly recommend Falco’s latest television conquest, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie. Even though this Season Two set isn’t the right place for late-comers to begin, it’s still highly recommended for all watchers. Raising the stakes for the medically trained, pill-popping wife/cheater, Nurse Jackie’s second go-round improved upon everything that made the first season work: machete-sharp comedy, quirky characters, and the occasional bit of heartbreaking drama. Also better than ever is Falco, who gives Jackie the proper amounts of toughness and vulnerability to uphold intrigue. It’s about time you got to know one of TV’s most fascinating and well-played female characters. Carmela, who?
Buy it now: Nurse Jackie: Season Two

weeds season six dvdWeeds: Season Six
Coolest extra: Cast and crew answer fan questions (DVD and Blu-ray)
Complex says: It’s not a good time to be a Weeds head these days. A few years back, fans of the Showtime comedy-drama couldn’t rave enough about the pot-dealing soccer mom (played by the fine-as-wine Mary-Louise Parker) saga. In its two most recent seasons, however, Weeds has been dragging, abandoning much of the sly humor and domestic criminology that attracted a loyal following. For the sixth season, Nancy Botwin (Parker) and her family hit the road to evade the fuzz, opening the show up to new settings and even further detachment from its initial strengths. If not for our unwavering desire to blaze joints with Parker (in more ways than one), we’d be on the verge of separation from this out-of-wack series.
Buy it now: Weeds: Season Six

ice road season four dvdIce Road Truckers: The Complete Season Four
Coolest extra: Additional footage (DVD and Blu-ray)
Complex says: Would we ever want to earn a living as ice road truckers ourselves? Negative. You couldn’t adequately pay us to seek out watery, diesel-fueled graves. For the folks who are man (and woman) enough to do such a thing, though, we have the utmost respect, which is why The History Channel’s successful reality series Ice Road Truckers is such dependable entertainment. Capturing the moneymaking lives of people who drive trucks over frozen lakes in Alaska (where the fourth season takes place), Ice Road Truckers operates with character-driven conflict (mostly between veteran wheelmen Hugh Rowland and Alex Debogorski) and dangerous action. You’ll laugh, you’ll tremble, and you’ll think, “These dudes must be completely insane,” while snacking on junk food in the safety of your home.
Buy it now: Ice Road Truckers: The Complete Season Four
Tags: dvds, due-date, house-calls, robert-downey-jr, zach-galifianakis, todd-phillips
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