Something’s Gotta Give
This twinkly-eyed comedy was “crude and slapsticky,” according to New York’s Peter Rainer, who thought Diane Keaton, opposite Jack Nicholson, was “nonetheless in fine comic form.” PG-13; $28.95.
Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen’s
Before they made American Splendor, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini debuted with this crusty but loving documentary about the famed Hollywood hangout’s final hours. NR; $24.95.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
A trendy but not terrible remake. R; $39.95.
A landmark in personal documentaries: Ross McElwee’s 1986 film records his journey across the South in the footsteps of General William Tecumseh Sherman—and McElwee’s own lurching search for love. NR; $29.95.
The Most Terrible Time of My Life
Japanese director Kaizo Hayashi’s noirish mood-piece never quite clicks as a whodunit or send-up, but his wry, stylish brio is undeniable. NR; $29.95.
A New York oddity and a minor classic, Michel Negroponte’s documentary tracks a homeless woman who lives in Central Park—and her own strange dreamscape. NR; $24.95.
Released in the holiday pre-Oscar rush, House of Sand and Fog was cruel coal in your Christmas stocking: a tragedy of positively Greek dimensions. In Vadim Perelman’s uncompromisingly grim adaptation of the bleak Andre Dubus III novel, an Iranian-American family (led by Ben Kingsley and Shohreh Aghdashloo) clashes violently with a wastrel (Jennifer Connelly) in some unnamed quarter of the Pacific Northwest. Despite the damp climate, this work nonetheless plays like a New York classic because its almost unbearable tragedy stems from two quintessential urban obsessions: race and real estate. The first-time direction is gimmicky on occasion—and the outcome is as depressing as Oedipus’—but Kingsley and Aghdashloo’s renderings of immigrant life ring true like few filmic portrayals. R; $26.99. Extras: deleted scenes; Aghdashloo’s audition tape; cast commentary.