Crisis in Suburbia


Little Children
(New Line)

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 voiceovers 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 and Jennifer Connelly — and where’s the drama in that? — Jordan Harper

Dreamgirls: Showstopper Edition

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, Beyonce’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 tradeoff? 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)

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, hippy-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, 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


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