DVD Letterbox should be smarter than to be sucked in by DVD covers, but I’m an optimist. You never know when you might stumble across a little gem, particularly at when it’s more difficult for smaller independent films to gain traction in commercial cinema. Solitary Man comes to mind as a nice film recently that had only Michael Douglas’s name to sell it.
And so to two films that may suck you in, but I warn you urgently: resist.
I’ve previously professed my man-love for US comedian Zach Galifianakis, who I’m beginning to believe is a far more captivating stand-up performer than movie star.
The Hangover director Todd Phillips said Galifianakis was used incorrectly in his earlier movies; consequently he allowed him to be ‘‘bigger’’ in The Hangover. It is not enough to save the sequel — go see Bridesmaids instead — but it ensured Galifianakis became a highly marketable star. Which is why he is key to the marketing of (Sony, MA15+, 80min, $32.99).
The film stars Callum Blue and Matthew Modine (looking more like Jeff Bridges as he ages) in a meandering, listless stroll through Los Angeles for purposes that remain unclear.
Its pretension to be a Kevin Smith-like, pop-culture savvy, mildly profane romp with Terrence Malick or Darren Aronofsky existentialism slopped on top is the only joke in a dire waste of everybody’s time. And Galifianakis is only a minor character. I should have known this would be a mess.
The credits showed the director was Gregory Dark who, I’m told, made his name as a porno director. And, I’m told, he did his best work when he was younger.
Chris D’Arienzo, director of another US comedy,
(MA15+, Sony, 91min, $34.99), is on the up. He wrote the book for the Broadway musical Rock of Ages and subsequently the film screenplay, which is shooting with Tom Cruise, Russell Brand and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Barry Munday is not as risible as Frenemy although it doesn’t supply what its cast — Patrick Wilson, Judy Greer, Chloe Sevigny, Cybill Shepherd — promises. Wilson plays against type as a doofus who loses his testicles in an unlikely trumpet accident. It reads better than it plays.
Again, don’t judge a comedy by its DVD cover.