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New on DVD: 'It's Complicated,' 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus' and 'District 13: Ultimatum'

Posted 10:03am on Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2010

It's Complicated

Much like her recent movies, What Women Want (2000), Something's Gotta Give (2003) and The Holiday (2006), Nancy Meyers' latest, It's Complicated, takes place in a synthetic wonderland where everyone lives in perfectly appointed homes and has a creative, well-paying job. But this time Meyers' screenplay taps into genuine emotions -- the pain of a divorced woman still struggling, after 10 years, with the disappointment of a failed marriage -- and her cast boasts three superb actors. Meryl Streep plays Jane, a bakery owner in Santa Barbara suddenly contending with an empty nest. While in New York for her son's college graduation, she ends up drinking too much and sleeping with her ex (Alec Baldwin). Back at home, she also begins falling for a nebbishy architect (Steve Martin). Baldwin and Martin give affecting, restrained performances, and Streep -- without the help of any of her usual costumes or accents -- serves up a raw portrait of a woman as lonely as she is confused.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is Terry Gilliam's tale of an ancient sideshow wizard (Christopher Plummer) plying his trade from a creaking, horse-drawn wagon in modern London. Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell all play the same seemingly murdered man at the center of the story. Mad, dark and difficult, the film is quintessential Gilliam.

District 13: Ultimatum, the sequel to 2004's District 13, written and produced by Luc Besson ( The Professional), is a takeoff of just about every American action-movie cliché. But its over-the-top energy, along with some well-executed stunts, make it enjoyable nonetheless.

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