by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
I'm pretty sure this is a Christian movie, one of those faith-based films you hear so much about. It's never overtly said that “Jesus Christ is the way to salvation,” but enough subtle hints are dropped that you begin to think something's up. It's like a mother who keeps gently trying to tell you you're getting too fat. But perhaps I'm reading too much into this heart-tugging story of an asshole (Barry Pepper) and his bruised-but-forgiving wife (Mira Sorvino) who, after one domestic squabble too many, gives her child up for adoption to a rich, loving couple. When the abuser gets out of prison, they try to get the tyke back for keeps, with astoundingly horrific results. Pepper channels his best Faye Dunaway/Joan Crawford (if she were a redneck) when he tries to force the poor kid to take a shower. A camp classic in the making? Perhaps. Maybe it's something you should pray on.
Legendary French New Wave director Claude Chabrol is widely regarded as one of the finest filmmakers of all time. OK, if you say so. I'm sorry, but the man's never done anything for me. That being said, Chabrol's final film, Inspector Bellamy, is an introspective if totally misleading crime drama, minus most of the crime. Bellamy (a very subdued Gerard Depardieu) is on vacation with his wife when he's personally asked to investigate a staged murder. Meanwhile, at home, his drunk ’n violent brother shows up for a visit. The investigation of the crime is almost arbitrary, especially when compared with the torrid emotions between the two wildly different brothers. This is a good enough selling point, but the DVD box-art, with Depardieu angrily walking the street with a gun in his hand, makes it look like a gritty, Luc Besson-produced actioner. No way, no how.
Everyone likes a good road-trip movie, right? A couple of pals, getting into all types of shenanigans and revealing psyche-destroying secrets while on race against time to get to some sort of important function clear across the country. Lately, it seems that Todd Phillips—Road Trip, The Hangover, Due Date— is directing them all, which makes the South African crowd-pleaser White Wedding all the more enjoyable. Think The Hangover without the subscription to Maxim. Husband-to-be Elvis and his best man Tumi have to make it to Cape Town for the wedding, which, if you've seen any of these movies, doesn't go according to plan, especially when the duo picks up a flighty English doctor and run afoul of some old-school Afrikaners. While it may seem rote and overdone, especially to American audiences, there's actually an underlying sweetness that is unashamedly present here. No need for dick jokes and celebrity cameos — the likable characters are good enough to root for without a cheap gimmick.