The word this week in DVD? Avoid the major studio offerings and look for these indie gems:
Rent This Now: 'Jesus Camp'
Allow me to describe this shocking documentary using a few comparative measures: It's like the Evangelical church scene in 'Borat' minus the humor. It's the opposite of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.' Its kids, training for "God's Army," are liable to paint their faces 'Platoon'-style. They're taught that radical religion is the answer (not the problem), tested on the "falsities" of global warming and told Harry Potter should be put death for being a warlock. It's quite simply the scariest thing I've seen since 'An Inconvenient Truth.'
Especially Recommended for: Evangelical Christians, Air America listeners, God (help us!)
Rent This: 'This Film Is Not Yet Rated'
Contrary to popular belief, the MPAA does not use a dartboard to designate movie ratings. Instead they conduct top-secret meetings (held among a top-secret board) where they discriminate against sex vs. violence and gay vs. hetero, or so Kirby Dick's inside-Hollywood doc does a damn good job of arguing. His decision to hire a PI to unmask the identity of the board members seems a little gimmicky (though deliciously scandalous!) but his expose will nonetheless leave movie buffs seething.
Especially Recommended for: Cinephiles, ratings board members, conspiracy theorists
Rent This: 'The Puffy Chair'
Here's a little slice of indie filmmaking at its finest. This family affair from the up-and-coming Duplass brothers (Jay directed it, Mark wrote and stars in it) has a simple story line (bickering hipster couple and boyfriend's hippie brother go road trippin' to pick up the titular furniture for dad's birthday) but endless heart and humor. Five years from now we'll be looking back at it the same way we do the Wilson bros. humble start in 'Bottle Rocket.'
Especially Recommended for: Hipsters, couples, Duplass relatives
Buy This: 'Brokeback Mountain' Collector's Edition
Is this version we've been waiting for, featuring an alternate ending where Jack and Ennis ride off into the sunset together, then flashing forward ten years we find them living happily together with babies adopted from Asia and a posh Chelsea pad? Nope, sorry. But there are loads of extras! They include multiple new featurettes. Not included? All those great, if eventually oversaturated trailer spoofs. (Though apparently Heath Ledger has them all on DVD.)
Especially Recommended for: Cowboys of all types. Gay, straight, Rhinestone, Dallas...
Watch it, if only for a single performance:Maggie Gyllenhaal in 'Sherrybaby'
Most unnecessary sequel of the week:'Saw III'
Other New Releases This Week (Jan. 23):
'Cowboy del Amor'
The Matthew McConaughey Collection