New releases on DVD, Blu-ray
Lauren Powell and Ari Graynor in "For a Good Time Call."
Updated: January 22, 2013 7:34AM
NEW THIS WEEK
FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL ...
R for strong sexual content throughout, language and some drug use
Lauren Miller, Ari Graynor, Justin Long
Following in the wake of last year’s “Bridesmaids,” this female raunch-empowered relationship comedy works reasonably well because of the chemistry of its leads — though its hardcore lewdness and its ideas about love and friendship both seem artificial and contrived. There’s plenty of polite hatred when college enemies Lauren and Katie (Powell and Graynor) are forced to share an apartment, but new appreciation for each other arises from their success as phone-sex entrepreneurs. And love, perhaps? Several male celebs (including Seth Rogen) make embarrassing appearances as special-guest pervs on the other end of the line.
R for strong sexual content, violence and language
Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack
If you were puzzled by the incongruous, wildly over-the-top-lurid scenes in director Lee Daniels’ Oscar-nominated “Precious,” you’ll understand them better after seeing this dismal southern-fried sleazefest. (Though that’s an awful price to pay for enlightenment.) “The Paperboy” makes it clear that, given the opportunity, over-the-top-lurid is Daniels’ favorite flavor. Efron (straying far, far away from “High School Musical”) has the title role as a college dropout who heads back to his southern Florida hometown in 1969, just in time to get mixed up in an investigation by his crusading journalist brother (McConaughey) into a local swamp rat (Cusack) being railroaded for the murder of the town sheriff. And to fall head over heels in love with middle-aged white-trash hair stylist Charlotte (Kidman), who has initiated the investigation after an ultra-carnal letter-writing romance with the swamp rat. There’s been some speculation that Daniels considered Pete Dexter’s best-selling novel as a chance to indulge in a sleazier-than-thou homage of sorts to the trashy southern exploitation movies of the ’70s. If the idea was to camp it up, however, he forgot to inject a sense of fun into the process. From start to finish, its tawdry excesses play out in dull, dreary, tedious and confusing fashion. Extras include director, cast and crew interviews.
ALSO NEW THIS WEEK
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: THE ABOLITIONISTS
This PBS documentary examines the role 19th-century abolitionists played in the struggle to abolish slavery in America — and in the prelude to the Civil War.
END OF WATCH
Two police officers (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena) are marked for death after a series of arrests arouses the ire of a Mexican drug cartel.
A documentary about a young Frenchman who tricked a grieving Texas family into believing he was their kidnapped son, returned after a three-year absence. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.
THE MEN WHO BUILT AMERICA
This documentary mini-series explores the impact on America of super-capitalists including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan.
METHOD TO THE MADNESS OF JERRY LEWIS
This Encore channel documentary explores the life of the comedian and filmmaker from his early days on the road with vaudevillian parents to his rise to fame with Dean Martin — and beyond.
The rivalry between two polar-opposite brothers (Patton Oswalt, Johnny Knoxville) is raised to a new level when one hijacks the other’s children for a camping trip.
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
Two South Africans search for their long-lost musical hero (’70s rocker Rodriguez), who recorded two albums and then disappeared into obscurity. One of them (Malik Benjelloul) directed this documentary.
TAI CHI ZERO
This steampunk-infused martial-arts epic concerns the attempts of a man to learn the art of Tai Chi in a small Chinese village about to be leveled for a new railroad.
AVAILABLE NEXT WEEK
Warner Brothers celebrates its 90th anniversary with 20, 50 and 100-film collections of its best titles, PBS collects 11 popular installments for an “Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Marple Fan Favorites Collection” and Bruce Willis gets tough with terrorists in the five-film “Die Hard 25th Anniversary Collection.