The following is a list of recently released DVDs and videos. All capsule reviews have been taken from The Washington Post’s Weekend section.
“Borat” (R, 89 minutes): Borat, played with seamless disingenuousness by Sacha Baron Cohen, has come to America to make a feature-length documentary for the people of his home country (played by Romania). His tour of America begins in New York — where Borat mistakes a hotel elevator for his room and later meets with a group of feminists (“Give me a smile, baby, why the angry face?”). But soon he’s on his way to California and then through the South. As Borat cuts his wide and occasionally vicious swath, no petard goes unhoisted, a spectacle that delivers squeals, howls or at least low-level chuckles. The movie is a perfect combination of slapstick and satire, a Platonic ideal of high- and lowbrow that manages to appeal to our basest common denominators while brilliantly skewering racism, anti-Semitism, sexism and that peculiarly American affliction: we’re-number-one-ism. Contains pervasive crude and sexual content, including graphic nudity, and profanity. DVD Extras: Deleted scenes; featurettes.
“Confetti” (R, 94 minutes): This faux documentary is about a wedding magazine that enlists three couples to compete for “Most Original Wedding of the Year.” Written and directed by Debbie Isitt, it resembles the hit BBC series “The Office” and “Extras” in its up-close-and-poisonous vérité style. It even stars one of the best-loved actors from “The Office,” Martin Freeman, here playing a bridegroom whose fiancee (Jessica Stevenson) dreams of a wedding by Busby Berkeley. The other two couples are nudists and fiercely competitive tennis players. As they prepare for their big day, they are helped along by wedding planners who, as gay men, can’t legally marry but prove to be the most loving couple of the lot. Isitt cheats a bit with the contrivances, and the movie is an exercise in mostly unfunny bickering and bad behavior. Still, the climactic scenes possess an irresistible charm, as each wedding turns out to be just perfect. Contains nudity and profanity. DVD Extras: Alternate endings; video diary entries; trailers.
“Fast Food Nation” (R, 106 minutes): This film offers a thinly fictionalized structure affixed to some serious meat industry reportage originally by Eric Schlosser for a book of the same name. The film dramatizes Schlosser’s findings, assigning his discoveries to personalities in and around hamburger culture. The story is set in Cody, Wyo., where the film chronicles intersecting lives within a giant meatpacking installation in that beautiful western city. Looking like something out of Dickens’s smoky, slummy London, this hellish plant ingests cattle at one end and churns out billions of little red disks of meat-like product at the other. But the movie is weak and works far better as journalism than as drama. Contains profanity, sexual situations and authentic footage of slaughterhouse operations. DVD Extras: Director and writer commentaries; featurette; animated shorts; photo gallery.
Also on DVD March 6: “The Full Monty: The Fully Exposed Edition”; “Hawaii 5-O: The Complete First Season”; “The Ernest Hemingway Film Collection”; “Let’s Go To Prison”; “Literary Classics Collection”; “Peter Pan: Platinum Edition”; “Revenge of the Nerds: Special Edition”; “South Park: The Complete Ninth Season”; and “Stargate Atlantis: Season 2.”
“Conversations with God” (PG, 109 minutes): This is a dramatization of Neale Donald Walsch’s bestseller of the same name, a chronicle of the author’s journey from homelessness to a spiritual awakening that resulted in — ain’t life grand — a million-dollar book contract. Clearly, millions have found Walsch’s New Age message of self-forgiveness and unconditional love a rewarding one. Henry Czerny portrays Walsch in a story that begins with the author on a fancy book tour and flashes back to the pivotal moments of his life. There’s nothing particularly objectionable about the film (other than its inert movie-of-the-week structure) until Walsch takes his God-spokesman role too far. Suddenly, the platitudes that have seemed like harmless bromides take on the sinister tone of a guy selling snake oil. Contains thematic elements, some profanity and a brief accident. DVD Extras: Trailers.
“A Good Year” (PG-13, 118 minutes): “Under the Tuscan Son of ‘Sideways.’ ” That’s one way to think of this unfathomable adaptation of Peter Mayle’s novel. Unfathomable because what on paper looks like a sure-fire formula — France, romance, wine and Russell Crowe — falls as flat as a bottle of corked Bordeaux. Crowe plays Max Skinner, a high-powered London broker who inherits a chateau and vineyard in Provence. When the harried exec travels to France to sell the property, he crosses paths with all manner of characters. Crowe runs the emotional gamut from bored to perplexed to just plain miserable in a romantic comedy that is neither romantic nor comic. Contains profanity and sexual content. DVD Extras: Director commentary; behind-the-scenes; trailer.
“The Heart of the Game” (PG-13, 98 minutes): This documentary about a first-time basketball coach who takes a girls’ high school team from obscurity to the state championships combines nonstop action with an absorbing story to become a classic on par with “Hoosiers” and “Hoop Dreams.” It’s set in Roosevelt High School in Seattle, whose girls’ basketball team hasn’t exactly burned up the boards. The coach — a college tax professor named Bill Resler, decides to moonlight as the team’s coach out of a love for the game and a belief in women’s sports. There are the initial David-and-Goliath victories, the squabbles, the sweat, the tears, the joy. And then there’s Darnellia Russell, who possesses the intuitive physical genius of a great player; when her story takes a twist and she’s barred from playing, the film acquires an unexpected depth and urgency. Filmmaker Ward Serrill followed the team for seven years, and that commitment paid off: With only a couple of exceptions, he was on hand for the most pivotal moments in the extraordinary story of the Roughriders and the lives of its players. Contains brief strong profanity. DVD Extras: Director commentary; production interviews; deleted scenes; making-of featurette.
“Stranger Than Fiction” (PG-13, 105 minutes): Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) keeps hearing a voice in his head. It belongs to Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson), an English writer who just happens to be writing a novel about a character named… Harold Crick. This is the movie’s best gimmick: that Harold can actually hear Eiffel. She seems deeply aware of his dull personal life, and even worse, in her final chapter she plans to . . . kill off the character! The only thing keeping the real Harold alive, apparently, is her creative indecision as she figures out how to get rid of him. We nearly lick our lips, anticipating the intriguing resolutions ahead: how Eiffel invented Harold, for instance, or what mysterious psychic destiny brought these two together. Unfortunately — or not, depending on your perspective — the filmmakers seem to have their minds on some other movie. Contains some disturbing images, sexual content, brief profanity and nudity. DVD Extras: Deleted and extended scenes; producer and writer commentaries; featurettes.
“Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny” (R, 93 minutes): Jack Black and Kyle Gass bring characters they created for the HBO program “Mr. Show With Bob and David” to the big screen with mixed success, depending on the age, gender and degree of inebriation of the filmgoer. Black plays the wannabe rocker JB, who is kicked out of his Midwestern family’s house and comes to Los Angeles to embark on a career as a rock god; there he meets Gass, whose hobbies include busking, getting high and inflating his own failed career as a guitarist. The movie is nominally about how the men’s band, Tenacious D, got started and found fame and fortune by stealing a guitar pick made out of the devil’s tooth. It’s really an excuse for extended scatological gags, in-joke cameos and self-referential songs that both lampoon and celebrate rock at its most ridiculously grandiose. Contains pervasive profanity, sexual content and drug use. DVD Extras: Director and actor commentaries; music videos; featurettes; trailers; deleted scenes. More new released DVD click here