Here's a selection of new movies on DVD for February 2009.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe star in this action-packed spy thriller directed by Ridley Scott. Roger Ferris (DiCaprio) is a CIA operative in the Middle East whose supervisor is Ed Hoffman (Crowe), who lives and works in the Washington, DC, area. Ferris is trying to track down a terrorist leader named Al-Saleem, which takes him to Iraq and Jordan. Hoffman follows his every move via satellite and telephone, even when the overweight handler is taking care of his kids. Ferris gets involved in lots of action sequences and has a romance with a pretty Iranian nurse.
Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie, this is a dramatization of a true story. In 1928 Los Angeles, single mother Christine Collins (Jolie) dotes on her nine-year-old son Walter, but one day she comes home from her telephone company job to discover he's gone missing. A few months later, the police deliver to Christine a boy they say is Walter, but she knows is not. Soon she finds herself locked up in a mental institution. Meanwhile, an investigation is conducted that leads to a creepy serial killer. In addition to directing, Eastwood composed the film's musical score.
High School Musical
(2006) and High School Musical 2
(2007) were extraordinarily popular made-for-TV movies produced for the Disney Channel. This is the third installment in the franchise, and it made it to the big screen with director-choreographer Kenny Ortega returning, along with the half-dozen principal actors, including Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale. The story is still at Albuquerque's East High, where the seniors prepare to put on a spring musical. Troy (Efron) may have a shot at Juilliard, but his girlfriend Gabriella (Hudgens) is making plans for Stanford.
This animated comedy is the sequel to Madagascar
(2005), and all the principal characters are back, voiced by the same celebrities. The main characters are still Alex the lion (voice of Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (voice of Chris Rock), Gloria the hippo (voice of Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (voice of David Schwimmer). This time around the four, joined by lemurs and penguins, leave Madagascar in a rickety airplane bound for New York, but crash-land in the African savannah. There Alex reunites with his parents, and the gang has a new round of adventures.
Michael Cera and Kat Dennings are paired in this low-keyed romantic comedy. Nick (Cera) and Norah (Dennings) are high school students who share a passion for music and get together over the course of one long night while clubbing in Lower Manhattan. They have a series of adventures and fall for each other as they go on an odyssey looking for a fictional band called Where's Fluffy. Along the way, there's soundtrack music by real-life contemporary indie and alternative pop and rock groups, such as Vampire Weekend, Band of Horses and We Are Scientists.
Richard Gere and Diane Ladd are paired in this romantic weeper based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks. Gere plays Paul, a surgeon who is the only guest at a picturesque inn in coastal North Carolina. Acting as innkeeper is Adrienne (Lane), a mother of two who is separated from her husband. A hurricane is coming, but Paul and Adrienne choose not to evacuate. Love blooms between them, but soon Paul must leave to take care of other matters. However, the lovers keep in touch via a series of emotionally charged letters. The story is Adrienne's journey of self-discovery.
This low-budget horror movie is an English-language remake of the Spanish film [Rec]
. A TV reporter (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman (Steve Harris) are assigned to follow LA firemen for a night. A 911 call comes in from an apartment building, and the TV crew goes there with the emergency response team. Inside a strange rabies-like disease has broken out, and infected residents are spreading it by biting others. Authorities seal off the building, and the TV crew records horrible things, even as they try to avoid being bitten themselves. The movie was made from the footage they shot.
This is a raunchy teenage road comedy. The story centers on Ian (Josh Zuckerman), who is approaching the end of high school while still being a virgin. Via the Internet, Ian locates someone called Ms. Tasty who offers the promise of relieving his condition, but he will have to get to Knoxville, Tennessee. He swipes his brother's vintage Pontiac GTO and takes off from Chicago with two friends (Clark Duke and Amanda Crew) accompanying him. On the journey, the trio has a series of misadventures, including an encounter with an Amish auto mechanic (Seth Green).
The late Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson star in this comedy, and the late Isaac Hayes makes a brief appearance. Decades ago Floyd Henderson (Mac) and Louis Hinds (Jackson) were back-up singers for Marcus Hooks (John Legend). But then Hooks went solo and became a superstar, while Henderson and Hinds abandoned their music careers and drifted into obscurity. But now Hooks has died, and the former back-ups are asked to perform at a tribute to be held in Harlem's Apollo Theater. The duo makes the long drive from LA to New York, and along the way there's lots of humor and music.
This teen horror movie stars Haley Bennett, who played supporting roles in Marley & Me
and Music & Lyrics
. After the mother of 17-year-old Molly Hartley (Bennett) tried to kill her, the girl is beginning a new school in a new town. She has nightmares and nosebleeds, and she hears voices and sees visions. But she meets a hunky guy (Chace Crawford from TV's Gossip Girl
) and runs afoul of a mean student (AnnaLynn McCord from TV's 90210
). Molly worries she has inherited her mom's insanity and eventually discovers her parents made a pact with the Devil.