In the political world, this is a huge week. In the movie world, it's just the first week of February. In fact, it might as well be an extension of January, a month of movie releases that have all the entertainment value of a presidential debate. So check out what's new, what's a must-see movie and what's not worth its weight in celluloid.
Fulfilling this week's quota of shirtless treasure hunting, "Fool's Gold" is a romantic comedy adventure starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson. McConaughey plays Finn, a good-natured surfer with a love of treasure hunting and chest bearing. Finn's marriage to Tess (Hudson) is on the skids, but they delay their impending divorce because some new clues may lead them to the treasure. While hunting for gold, the troubled couple stumble across something unexpected — their lost love. How beautiful! And creative!
In "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins," Martin Lawrence plays Roscoe, a famous TV host and self-help guru who returns to Georgia to visit his family. He brings his reality TV-star fiancée — who is such a diva that she puts sunglasses on her dog — and a desire to prove to his family and friends that he's no longer the awkward kid they used to put in a headlock. Lawrence gets support from a strong ensemble cast that includes James Earl Jones, Cedric the Entertainer and Mo'Nique. Lawrence doesn't get support, unfortunately, from the script.
Colin Farrell's "In Bruge" opened Sundance and received mixed reviews. "The Band's Visit," on the other hand, is another little film that's been warmly received by almost everyone. The Cannes audience raucously applauded it, and the Israeli film won the festival's Un Certain Regard prize. The movie — which has a lot of English dialogue — follows a powder blue-suit wearing Egyptian police band that's stranded in an Israeli hick town. It's a quirky and wry comedy that deftly and entertainingly explores the Middle East's heated cross-cultural relations. Apparently clarinet jokes are funny on the other side of the world, too.
Golden Globe Best Picture nominee "Across the Universe" gets the deluxe, two-disc treatment on DVD and Blu Ray. Julie Taymor's Beatles musical is filled with creative choreography and strong, original interpretations of the Fab Four's music. Extras include five featurettes and two live performances of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" It's a rare movie that's enjoyable to play over and over again, unlike some of Paul McCartney's work with Wings.
If you missed Casey Affleck's Academy Award-nominated turn in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" — and you probably did — now's your chance to check it out. This year's most notable 10-word-title movie comes out in all major formats this week. Don't bother hunting for the extras; the most exciting special feature is scene selections.