This week we bring you an exclusive look from the DVD release of Smart People, starring Dennis Quaid and Ellen Page as a father and daughter whose intellect outweighs their social graces; imagine a higher-strung Juno obsessed with high test scores instead of hamburger phones. Also check out what’s new on DVD: Stephen Chow‘s CJ7, new seasons of South Park, The Wire, and Prison Break, and the ickiest father-daughter romance of the week, starring David Duchovny and Juno sidekick Olivia Thirlby.

Smart People



Tomatometer: 49%

A high IQ does not a happy person make, as the smarty pants in Noam Murro’s directorial debut prove. Father and daughter Lawrence (Dennis Quaid) and Vanessa (Ellen Page) are an intellectually superior but socially self destructive pair in this textbook Sundance flick. Critics were split, which means checking it out on DVD could be a smart move (pun intended).

Bonus Features:

Smart People assembles a fine cast, who all appear in bloopers, outtakes, interviews and features on the DVD. Exclusive footage from the film’s Sundance Film Festival premiere adds a nice touch. Director Murro and writer Mark Jude Poirier also contribute a commentary.

Watch an exclusive clip from the Smart People DVD below, in which Quaid and the filmmakers reveal why and how they developed his grumpy character, Lawrence. Smart People is out this week on DVD.

South Park, The Wire, Prison Break, and more! Click for this week’s new releases!



CJ7



Tomatometer: 49%

Actor-director Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer) switches gears to bring us his oddly sweet take on the family film, with a nod to ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, Lilo & Stitch, and a sprinkling of CGI kung fu action. Chow stars as Ti, a father who brings home a glowing green toy that turns out to be a doglike alien with magical powers.

Bonus Features:

Chow contributes a brisk full-length commentary track, and a handful of featurettes provide insight into the making of the film. Plus, learn “How to Bully a Bully” from Stephen Chow himself.

Irina Palm



Tomatometer: 72%

Rock icon Marianne Faithfull stars in this drama as Maggie, a 50-something grandmother who desperately takes a job as a hostess in a London sex club in order to pay for her grandson’s operation. Why they call her “Irina Palm”…well, let’s just say the name fits the service. Ahem.

Bonus Features:

Besides trailers and cast and director interviews, there’s not much in the way of bonus material. Critical praise and sheer curiosity value considered, however, Irina Palm should be one of the week’s more interesting releases.


South Park: The Complete Eleventh Season


Tomatometer:
N/A

If the kids of South Park aged in real time, Cartman would be elephant-walking his way through freshman orientation and hazing Kyle, Stan, and Kenny in college. But by Season 11, the boys are still where they belong: elementary school. Check out South Park: The Complete Eleventh Season in all of its uncensored, foul-mouthed glory for episodes like “Guitar Queer-O” and the three-part, Emmy-nominated “Imaginationland” saga.

Bonus Features:

Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker offer mini commentary tracks on all 14 episodes.



The Wire – The Complete Fifth Season


Tomatometer: N/A

Complete your collection of one of HBO’s most celebrated original series when the fifth and final season of The Wire hits DVD this week. The Peabody Award-winning show — a gritty, sprawling portrait of urban Baltimore that centers on a different crumbling Baltimore institution each season — ends with a focus on the city’s news media. Pick up Season 5 and finish the series some television critics called better than The Sopranos.

Bonus Features:

Ex-cop and creator David Simon joins cast and crew members on six commentary tracks. A documentary on the role of the media augments Season 5’s theme, while a show retrospective revisits the milestones of the previous four seasons.


Prison Break – Season Three


Tomatometer: N/A

Who ever thought a primetime drama about a guy breaking out of jail would turn into a hit show, let alone run for four seasons? In Season 3, we find Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) and his prison buddies on the lam in Panama — but more importantly, fans get a shocking surprise appearance, a la Se7en, by Michael’s sweetheart, Dr. Sara Tancredi.

Bonus Features:

The 13 hour-length episodes come with featurettes, “director’s takes” on characters and life on set, spotlights on cast members, and a bonus episode of The Unit.


The Secret


Tomatometer: N/A

Each week plenty of direct-to-DVD films flood the market, and if you’re like us, you ignore most of them. But sometimes a title catches your eye, and you wonder, what were they thinking? Enter The Secret. (Enthusiasts of the best-selling self-help book, beware; this is not an adaptation.) David Duchovny stars as a man whose wife (Lili Taylor) and 16-year-old daughter (Olivia Thirlby) are involved in a fatal accident, leading the mother’s spirit to inhabit her daughter’s body. Still in love, Duchovny and Thirlby (as the mom) struggle to help their daughter’s spirit survive — and, you know, avoid technically committing incest. Ick.

Bonus Features:

The disc includes interviews and behind-the-scenes features, but did we mention that parent-child sexual tension? Initial revolt aside, the French production (helmed by actor-director Vincent Perez) has skyrocketed to the top of our Netflix queue.

‘Til next week, happy renting!

This week at the movies, we’ve got a wacky bodyguard (Drillbit Taylor, starring Owen Wilson and Leslie Mann), a wild family reunion (Meet the Browns, starring Angela Basset and Rick Fox), and paranormal Polaroids (Shutter, starring Joshua Jackson). What do the critics have to say?

Everybody has their off days, even Judd Apatow, whose critical winning streak comes to an end (temporarily, at least) with Drillbit Taylor. This Apatow-produced comedy stars Owen Wilson as the title character, a man who has been hired as a bodyguard for three oft-bullied teens; it turns out Taylor is wilder and crazier than he first appears. Pundits say the problem with Drillbit is that it just isn’t very funny: it doesn’t build on its premise, and offers mediocre gags, despite some decent performances. At 17 percent on the Tomatometer, Drillbit is a little dull. And it’s the worst-reviewed movie Apaptow has ever been involved with. (Apatow discussed his favorite movies with RT; click here to check it out.)



Seth, Evan, and McLovin: the early years.

The other two wide openers this week, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns and Shutter, were either embargoed or not screened for critics. Meet the Browns is the story of a single mom who goes to the funeral of her father (who she never knew) and finds her extend family is pretty wild. In Shutter, a pair of newlyweds find spectral images in their photos. You know what time it is: guess those Tomatometers! (And check out this week’s Total Recall.)



“Wait a minute… what’s my girlfriend doing with Elliot Spitzer?”

Also opening this week in limited release:



“Hey, settle down. We know you’d win in a game of one-on-one.”

Finally, props to dethburger for coming the closest to guessing Doomsday‘s 34 percent Tomatometer. Just think: if we could eradicate mad cow disease, he could change his name to lfeburger.

Recent Judd Apatow-Produced Movies:
————————————————
74% — Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
87% — Superbad (2007)
90% — Knocked Up (2007)
64% — The TV Set (2007)
72% — Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)

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