Little Children and Other New Releases

Bored suburban dad must choose between Kate Winslet and Jennifer Connelly.

Diggers Magnolia,


Mix a cast of worthy actors with a story that needn't be told, and voilà—instant "character study." You can't get mad at Diggers, a nostalgic and lethargic look at scruffy clam diggers on 1970s Long Island, but you won't fall in love either. Paul Rudd is great as a digger triggered into soul-searching by the death of his father, and screenwriter Ken Marino provides a funny turn as a fellow digger. You've seen it all before, but Diggers is still good-natured and low-key enough to waste a little time with. Though it's getting a simultaneous release in theaters, this is a DVD watch, for certain—not for the deleted scenes or commentary, or even for the doc on clam diggers. You just won't get much more out of seeing this on the big screen. JORDAN HARPER

Dreamgirls: Showstopper Edition

DreamWorks, $34.99

Upon second viewing, Bill Condon's adaptation of the venerable Broadway smash is too long by about 20 minutes; the thing drags toward the end, when the musical numbers pause for the narrative cause that's in a rush to wrap things up. The music is the best thing about this not-a-Best-Picture nominee—not merely Jennifer Hudson's now-immortal "And I Am Telling You" blowup, but also the R&B/soul revue showdowns, Beyoncé's gonna-make-you "Listen," and damned near everything from Eddie Murphy. Which is why watching this on DVD is a bit of a drag; you'll miss the energy of the multiplex audience, which usually applauded at the end of each number. The trade-off? Ten extended musical sequences and some making-of documentaries. Missing, unfortunately, is Hudson's legendary audition. ROBERT WILONSKY

The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky

Anchor Bay, $49.98

Here it is, folks: win, place, and show in the International What the Fuck? Film Festival. Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, during his brief heyday in the early '70s, made druggy, ambitious films loaded with heavy-handed Freudian and religious symbolism, hippie-dippy politics, the slightest of plots, and loads of startling imagery. When it works, it works like gangbusters. El Topo, which made Jodorowsky a cult hero, is a heady mix of art film and Western. It was also supposedly the favorite movie of John Lennon, who forked over lots of cash for its follow-up, The Holy Mountain (also recently screened at the Grand Illusion), a movie as psychedelic and strange as anything set to celluloid. Birds fly from bullet wounds, toads climb pyramids, tarot cards grow to life-size—you know, the usual. This monster set also contains the soundtracks to both films, plus a couple of lesser, equally weird movies. JORDAN HARPER

Little Children

New Line, $27.98

In the eyes of Hollywood, our American suburbs are so filled with perversion and treachery that it seems the government ought to crack down on something. Until then, we can count on movies like Little Children to keep us informed. Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson are good as a pair of adulterers energized by their cavorting, but they're not enough to overcome all the turgid voice-overs and dreary moralizing. It's been said that you can't make a true anti-war film because images of violence are too exciting. The same could be said of anti-adultery films—at least as long as such beautiful actors are getting naked together. Little Children would have benefited from a few less attractive people; Wilson, after all, must choose between balling Winslet or Jennifer Connelly—and where's the drama in that? JORDAN HARPER

Other Releases

Justin Timberlake gets all gangsta in the true-crime tale Alpha Dog. Mel Gibson's Apocalpyto may be nutty, violent, and extremely unsound so far as history is concerned, but—politics and drunken rants aside—it's an excellent chase film with amazing cinematography. From the art world, the documentary Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock? examines the provenance of a garage-sale drip painting, Matthew Barney: No Restraint gets up close and personal with the Vaseline master, and Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus puts Nicole Kidman through the kink machine. And for a similarly kinky take on Palestinian suicide bombers, the doc Suicide Killers argues that young male perpetrators are acting purely out of sexual frustration. Magnolia bundles together all the Oscar-nominated shorts. Sounds morbid, is morbid—the last film made by Anna Nicole Smith is a dumb sex farce called Illegal Aliens. Sean Bean terrorized some dumb teens in the remake The Hitcher. The Oregon-shot indie Old Joy was on many 10-best lists last year, including Seattle Weekly's, and is probably the best, quietest thing out this week.

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