"Slim pickings" is the best way to describe this week's releases. Isn't anyone planning to stay home and watch DVDs?
Joaquin Phoenix can't decide between Gwyneth Paltrow and Vinessa Shaw. Directed by James Gray, this suffocating drama is dark, thoughtful, and "more true to real human existence than most of the dreck that comes out of Hollywood studios," wrote Kim Voynar. I wasn't quite as impressed by it as she was, but it's still my top pick in a slow week. Also on Blu-ray. Rent it.
Wrestler John Cena stars in Renny Harlin's latest train wreck (as I described it in my review), a sober drama that resolutely refuses to embrace its loonier plot elements (fire engine smashing through New Orleans, an out-of-control street car). Aidan Gillen (The Wire) provides one of the few pleasures as an exceptionally-nasty master criminal. Also on Blu-ray. The "Extreme Cut" adds less than three minutes of footage. Skip it.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li
I was hoping against hope that this might provide some cheesy fun, but Nick Schager slammed that door shut: "Fighting sequences are dreadfully lethargic ... their choreography is of a dull, unimaginative sort." Not even Kristin Kreuk can save this one. Also on Blu-ray. Skip it.
Also out: Jonas Brothers: The 3-D Concert Experience.
After the jump: "Indies on DVD" provides several good rental choices, a landmark film by Spike Lee hits Blu-ray, and a long-dismissed effort by director Hal Ashby gets dusted off.