the-tourist-dvd-coverThe Tourist

Coolest extra: (DVD) “Bringing Glamour Back” featurette; (Blu-ray) “Tourist Destination – Travel the Canals of Venice” featurette

Complex says: Perhaps the most unpleasant surprise of 2010, The Tourist is a prime example that there are no guarantees in the world of film. On paper, acclaimed German director Florian Henckel von Dammersmack’s first shot at Hollywood success has everything it needs to score: two of the world biggest movie stars in Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, and a breathtaking Venice setting.

So, yeah, aesthetically The Tourist works, but then there are those little elements known as story and performance, which are kind of important. First, the story: this lighthearted, quasi-romantic “thriller” centers on an American (Depp) who gets mixed up with a beautiful woman (Jolie) and finds himself in a heap of wannabe-James-Bond chases and deceptions. The stakes might seem high, but nothing of any particularly exciting note happens, nor do any of the script’s hokey jokes connect. Depp and Jolie aren’t given much to do other than look good and trade snappy banter.

Too bad they don’t find the dialogue all that riveting, either. There’s no other way to explain how two stellar actors of their caliber and signature charms can fail to generate even an ounce of chemistry. Most of the blame goes to Depp, a typically vibrant presence who, for some inexplicable reason, chose to play a flat and shockingly dull role in The Tourist. That’s always good business: Take one of the game’s most colorful performers and bestow him with a lifeless character. No wonder he signed onto another Pirates Of The Caribbean movie—he probably needed to remind himself that he’s best when playing larger-than-life parts, not squares best left to the Luke Wilsons of the industry.

Buy it now: The Tourist


Coolest extra: (DVD/Blu-ray) Deleted and extended scenes

Complex says: At this point, alien invasion films need a bit more than cool special effects to justify their existence. In the case of this month’s horrendous Battle: Los Angeles, the lack of anything other than a couple exciting sequences and Michelle Rodriguez in her standard “sexy tough girl” demeanor made the experience instantly forgettable. While making the less serious Skyline, filmmaking siblings Colin and Greg Strause had their hearts in the right place, it seems; a few overboard death scenes and a smattering of Cloverfield-like destruction hint at imagination.

The issue is, though, that the Strause brothers aren’t good filmmakers, at least when judging by this sloppy and overall third-rate science fiction misfire. Skyline looks and feels like a SyFy channel movie of the week, right down to the inept acting of its C-list cast (including Eric Balfour and Donald Faison), though there’s no Debbie Gibson around to provide any visual distraction. The only diversions away from the film’s cartoonish dialogue are the intergalactic creatures themselves, which aren’t even that impressive looking.

For whatever its worth, Skyline is actually superior to Battle: Los Angeles, a movie that it has understandably been lumped alongside in genre flick circles. Whereas the Aaron Eckhart mess aimed for a tense and poker-faced tone, the Strause brothers’ alien shitfest is self-aware enough to have some fun—the operative word being “enough.” A longer glance into the mirror could’ve prompted them jam the script into a shredder and start over from scratch.

Buy it now: Skyline

how-do-you-know-dvd-coverHow Do You Know

Coolest extra: (DVD) Blooper reel; (Blu-ray) “A Conversation with James L. Brooks and Hans Zimmer” featurette

Complex says: How Do You Know exists in the same shitty universe as The Tourist, only the actors aren’t at all to blame for this overlong and dreary rom-com. Guilt should solely rest on writer-director James L. Brooks’ back; known for helming some classics (Terms Of Endearment, Broadcast News, as well as executive producing The Simpson, Brooks squanders all of that good will with perhaps his worst output to date.

Featuring a group of unlikable and whiny characters, How Do You Know’s script basically guts stars Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, and Owen Wilson of their natural charisma and presence. Witherspoon plays a pro softball star who’s caught in between feelings for a major league pitcher (Wilson) and a corporate exec (Rudd)—it’s a love triangle you’ll wish would relocate to Bermuda. It’s not that the cast’s performances are off; they’re just acting out a series of lackluster scenes, presumably thinking that the usually great Brooks is in trustworthy control. Jack Nicholson, meanwhile, does his damndest to liven up the party, doing his trademark “crazy man” shtick as Rudd’s father.

Films like How Do You Know are the reason why the romantic comedy genre is currently in a deep rut—it wastes able talent by simply existing rather than pushing for something greater. Even your girl will lose interest after selecting this one for DVD night. To which you can say, “Told you so.”

Buy it now: How Do You Know

yogi-bear-dvd-coverYogi Bear

Coolest extra: (DVD) “Jellystone Jewels - Tips from Ranger Jones on Park Visitor Etiquette and a Particular Bear's Favorite Park Hideaway” featurette; (Blu-ray) “Watch Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake Voicing Yogi & Boo Boo” featurette

Complex says: Back when we lived it up as wee lads, Yogi Bear was that bear-dude, an enjoyable animated staple on par with Scooby Doo and Fred Flintstone. So, in an unfortunate way, it’s only right that Yogi’s first big-time movie suck as much as those Matthew Lillard Scooby flicks and The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas.

This obnoxious and altogether unfunny kid’s pic certainly tries to be good. You can’t ask for a more random yet agreeable voice pairing than Dan Akroyd as Yogi and Justin Timberlake (in an unrecognizable pitch) as his little sidekick, Boo Boo. And, in the prerequisite “human who does nothing more than react in wide-eyed disbelief at everything the cartoons say” role, Anna Faris brings her always adorable playfulness. But the sad fact for Yogi-loving kids turned adults is that the Jellystone Park inhabitant’s picnic heist gags are too one-note and slight to pad a full-length movie. If Yogi Bear serves any fruitful purpose, it’s to show that Yogi and Boo Boo are the cartoon market’s Night At The Roxbury duo—good for yucks in five-minute bits, but intolerable at any greater length.

Buy it now: Yogi Bear