Dinner for Schmucks

This Week in Blu-ray

Welcome to the first edition of This Week in Blu-ray for 2011. Want to know what my New Year’s Resolution was? 52 consecutive Tuesdays with Blu-ray advising for my adoring fans. Needless to say, we’re off to a good start. That is if we consider timing and completion to be the pinnacle of success with this column. This week’s releases won’t exactly blow you away, as we’ve got some very middling movies to talk about (I’m looking at you, Dinner for Schmucks, Catfish and Machete). However, there are some winners in one back-breaking horror film and a back-catalog release that will likely cause a backdraft of fireballs aimed right at your pocketbook. Does anyone else see a theme here? And why does my back hurt all of the sudden? Quick, you read the column while I go stretch.

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This Week in DVD

Welcome to 2011! The doldrums of last week have been left far behind, and the powers that be have returned from the break to release a torrent of titles onto DVD and Blu-ray. There’s nothing truly great out this week, but there are at least two titles entertaining enough to buy. There are also a couple surprising ones to avoid, but as usual the bulk of this week’s new titles fit comfortably in the nether region between the two extremes. Which of course means they should be added to your Netflix queue… Titles out this week include Robert Rodriguez’ ridiculous action romp (Machete),  Joe Maggio’s foodie abduction thriller (Bitter Feast), the other social media movie of the year (Catfish), a mediocre remake of a very funny French film (Dinner For Schmucks), and more!

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Support Our Sponsor: BP – Doing absolutely anything you ask them in order to change their terrible public persona. This week, on a very special Reject Radio, Todd Gilchrist from every movie website ever stops by to relax after Comic-Con, to swap hair tips, and to lob invective at the movie releases this week. We also go head-to-head in a Segment Three Showdown that pits annoying movie characters against each other.

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The Reject Report

It was a close race when the weekend began. Dinner for Schmucks was actually ahead of Inception on Friday. However, a major boost in numbers on Saturday helped the Christopher Nolan film make it three weekends in a row on top of the box office. With yet another decent drop from the previous weekend, Inception is now nearing $200 million in domestic sales, and it is very close to overtaking Batman Begins as the 2nd biggest grossing film under Nolan’s belt. As far as worldwide receipts go, it is nearing the $400-million mark. All in all, a very successful endeavor for Nolan, Warner Brothers, and everyone involved.

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The Reject Report

Do cats and dogs dream? Do schmucks? Does Zac Effron? I’m thinking that latter question is a big, fat “NO.” What could he possibly dream about? He’s living it. I guess one thing he might dream about is for his newest film to beat out Inception at the box office this weekend. For that matter, the cats, dogs, and schmucks are probably dreaming the same thing. Doesn’t mean it’s going to come true. In fact, all the dreaming in the world probably won’t make that a reality.

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Dinner For Schmucks takes a while to get going, but once the laughs do start coming, they reach all the way back from the land of the absurd and fly out at a brisk pace. It’s as if all of The Funny had been frustratingly bottled up for the first half of the film and is now allowed that sweet, sweet freedom to run rampant all over the theater. Tim (Paul Rudd as Paul Rudd) is inches away from getting that corner office after taking a leap of faith and impressing his boss (Bruce Greenwood). It’s all his, if he can impress the entire executive staff on Saturday night at a dinner party where each colleague brings the biggest idiot they can find. The rest of the group makes fun of them, and someone goes home with a prize. Tim’s girlfriend who won’t say yes to his frequent marriage proposals, Julie (Stephanie Szostak), hates the idea, but Tim sees a sign from God when he crashes his car into dead mouse hobbyist Barry (Steve Carell). He’s destined to go to this party.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr is all giddy because he’s been invited to a “Dinner for Winners” (though no one has the heart to tell him it’s really a Dinner for Schmucks). He also puts on his 3D glasses to take a gander at some furry spies in Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Finally, he squeals with excitement about the new Zefron film, but then weeps uncontrollably because Universal didn’t screen it in advance for him.

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Foreign Objects

We all know the dirty little truth about stereotypes is that they usually have some basis in reality. A minor basis to be sure and they’re most often incorrectly applied as generalizations, but come on people, I’ve ridden in cars driven by Asian females and it is terrifying. One such stereotype that I’ve only heard second hand is about the rudeness of the French. But for all the friends and acquaintances who’ve sworn to its veracity my years of watching French films haven’t born it out to be true. (Because cinema represents reality obviously.) Until now. It’s rare to find a movie that dares to make one of its two leads a complete and total prick, but The Dinner Game does just that. And the fact that for all of his arsehole-ishness the guy still manages to be likable? A feat only those well-versed in rudeness could accomplish. Every Wednesday a gaggle of dicks invite one guest each to a very special dinner. The invitees are chosen based on a simple criteria… how stupid they look and act. The friends basically spend the evening letting their guests make fools of themselves and compete to see whose idiot is the most entertaining. Pierre Brochant thinks he hit the mother-load when he comes across a man named Francois Pignon. He makes matchstick models of bridges and other man-made objects and as an added bonus he’s short, balding, and desperate to please others. Ideal idiot material. Brochant is giddy at the thought of […]

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Ron Livingston Band of Brothers

Many fans know Ron Livingston as cubical crusader Peter Gibbons in Office Space, or as fellow swinging, Vegas Loving buddy Rob in John Favreau’s Swingers. Over the years, however, Livingston has put in time acting out and telling the harrowing stories of The Greatest Generation’s experiences in WWII over sixty years ago. In 2001, the award winning Band of Brothers was aired on HBO, Livingston playing the part of Captain Lewis Nixon of the famous Easy Company, of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Five years later, he hosted the History Channel documentary, Brother’s In Arms: The Untold Story of  the 502, and three years later narrated the voice of injured serviceman Lt. Charles Scheffel in WWII in HD, another History Channel documentary. Ron had a quick moment to sit down with me and talk about his involvement in WWII related projects, and what they mean to him.

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This week, Landon uses a trip to the bar to watch the World Cup as a catalyst for discussing nationality (and a lack of it) in films throughout the last 60 years – culminating in a look of the broad, international flavor (and financing) of modern films.

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Dinner for Schmucks

Typecasting can be a dangerous thing for an actor. Roles start to blend together, and soon studios will only hire them (and audiences will only accept them) for that single character type. This trend is usually most visible in the careers of character actors, but sometimes it happens with the leads too.

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