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Video on Demand Report: Burt Wonderstone’s Old Tricks

The Headliner

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

When Steve Carell was the breakout star of Anchorman and then the headliner of the absurdly charming The 40 Year Old Virgin, we probably all thought his path to greatness as a comedic film actor was assured. And while Virgin certainly has its gross-out elements, the reason it works is that Carell is convincing as an unassuming, lonely, sweet guy who’s just given up on kind of an important part of life, and that it’s the sad kinds of comedy that he does best. No one is better in a bittersweet dramatic comedy, like Crazy Stupid Love and Little Miss Sunshine and (I hope) the forthcoming The Way Way Back, which he does beautifully and which his naturally melancholy face is perfect for. Why he feels the need to alternate movies like those with broad, stupid comedies like Evan Almighty and Get Smart and Dinner For Schmucks, I’m sure I don’t know. Just kidding, I do: dump trucks full of money.

In The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Carell plays a Siegfried-ish Vegas stage magician who is moved to reunite with his Roy (Steve Buscemi) when a stunty, Criss Angel–type upstart (Jim Carrey) starts siphoning off his audience. Enemy of comedy Olivia Wilde plays a … girl, I guess. Bleh.

 

New and Notable

The Call

911 dispatcher Halle Berry, and her comically terrible wig, are all that stand between a kidnapping victim (Abigail Breslin) and death, probably?

 

No

In 1988 Chile, an advertising creative director (Gael García Bernal) has to craft a campaign for a “No” vote on Augusto Pinochet’s presidency … that won’t get him killed. (This looks amazing.)

 

A Little Closer

A struggling single mother raises her two sons in rural Virginia.

 

Upside Down

YouTube description of the trailer: “A man searches the forbidden twin world that fills the sky above him for the long-lost love from his youth.” That sounds unbearable to me before you add Jim Sturgess as the lead, but maybe it and he are your thing.

 

Phantom

David Duchovny and Ed Harris fighting on a Cold War–era nuclear submarine? Yes, obviously I will watch it.

 

Battledogs

Oh no, a [       ] virus has forced the city of [       ] under quarantine, lest the entire population get infected and turn into homicidal [       ]s!

 

“In Theaters” VOD Picks

A Band Called Death

This documentary chronicles Death, a proto-punk band way ahead of their time.

 

Rushlights

Toothsome young con artists try to swindle their way into a seven-figure inheritance, but the local sheriff (Beau Bridges) and local lawyer (Aidan Quinn) may be smarter than they think.

 

Copperhead

Peter Fonda and Billy Campbell star in this Civil War drama about the dangers of speaking freely during wartime.

 

Redemption

You’re not going to believe this, but the mob collector who “sinks into a world of violence” in this thriller is played by Jason Statham. WAY TO STRETCH, BRO!

 

Early VOD Release

Europa Report

If you like sci-fi movies but wish their portrayal of space travel were more realistic, good news! This one was developed with NASA.

 

Weird Indie of the Week

The Rambler

Edgy loner walks across America, has crazy adventures.

 

Masochist’s Choice

All American Zombie Drugs

A couple of dumb stoners decide to make their own drugs with a recipe they found online, but whoops, it turns the people who take it into zombies. Didn’t we go over this last week? ENOUGH.