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DVD reviews: 'The Beaver,' 'Win Win' and 'Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold'

Posted 9:17am on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011

The Beaver

This strange, poignant drama, directed by Jodie Foster and written by Austinite Kyle Killen, tackles one of the darkest subjects imaginable: the nervous breakdown of a deeply depressed toy-company executive, played by Mel Gibson. When we first meet him, Walter has become hopelessly disconnected from his family, including wife Meredith (Foster) and older son Porter (Anton Yelchin). He decides he will only communicate with them through a beaver hand puppet. The movie proves deeply sincere in its inquiry into Walter's mental illness. As for Gibson, this is an unnerving, completely convincing performance that seems to deliberately play off our knowledge of his off-screen troubles. Working the puppet with dexterity and playfulness, and yet simultaneously showing us a man retreating deeper and deeper into a very private hell, he grounds the movie in painfully recognizable emotion.

Win Win stars Paul Giamatti as a high-school wrestling coach and suburban Chicago lawyer struggling to make ends meet, who befriends a lonely teenager (Alex Shaffer). Written and directed by Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent), it's low-key, gently comic film and very affecting.

POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, directed by Super Size Me's Morgan Spurlock, is an entertaining documentary about product placement, marketing and advertising, funded entirely through product placement, marketing and advertising.

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