It’s The Company Men, out from The Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay on DVD. Here’s what they have to say for themselves:
With humor, pathos, and keen observation, writer-director John Wells introduces us to the new realities of American life, as THE COMPANY MEN fight to regain their dignity and transcend their situations. An astute exploration of the human spirit, the film portrays the struggles of individuals at every level of the economic ladder as they try to reconnect with the things that matter most in life, and re-establish a sense of identity separate from their jobs.
Written by: Tony Gilroy & William Blake Herron, based on the novel by Robert Ludlum
Directed by: Doug Liman
Starring: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, Clive Owen
- Alternate opening and closing with introduction by producer Frank Marshall, scribe Gilroy and actor Cox
- “The Bourne Mastermind”: tribute to author Ludlum
- Interview with scribe Gilroy
- Featurettes: “From Identity to Supremacy”; “The Bourne Diagnosis”; “Cloak and Dagger: Covert Ops”; “Inside a Fight Scene”
- Sound featurette
- Deleted scenes
- Music Video: “Extreme Ways” by Moby
- Cast and filmmakers info
- Production notes
Released by: Universal
My Advice: Get the original DVD release; rent this one.
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Written by Robert Rodat
Starring Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Jason Isaacs, Joely Richardson, Chris Cooper
My Advice: Don’t Miss It.
Benjamin Martin (Gibson) is a man with a past, and it’s one he does not wish to revisit. In his past, he was a warrior of great renown, but now he’s a widower with seven children to care for. This might not be such a big deal, but he’s in an American colony in 1776–and war is kicking up all around him. To make matters worse, his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger) is convinced his father is hiding behind his children–and desperately wants to enlist in the Continental Army. When Gabriel gets into more than a spot of trouble and starts to drag the family down with him, Benjamin has to step up and try to keep the entire thing from coming down around their ears.
I would like to say to Devlin and Emmerich that they have hereby been forgiven for Godzilla. Yes, this movie is just that good. Gibson gives the caliber of performance he thought he did in Braveheart. And indeed, there will be many (and have been many) who compare this film to that earlier outing, which Nick over at CHUD brilliantly termed “Death Wish in a kilt.” But Patriot succeeds where Braveheart stumbles. The first film was a revenge flick, like Nick says, pure and simple. Every cry of “FREEDOM!” stank of bullshit. This film goes with the premise that there are more important things than revenge, and you can actually see Benjamin making the choice periodically through the film. Other characters are constantly reminding him, “Revenge is one thing, but keep your mind on the cause.” It works, and Gibson has been cleansed of the sin of that bad kilt flick.
Written by: Alan Ball
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari
My Advice: Don’t miss it.
Lester (Spacey) is a man with a problem. His life sucks. He’s forty-two, he’s stuck in a marriage that is the opposite of bliss with his polyurethane wife (Bening), his daughter (Birch) thinks he is an utter loser, and his job is going absolutely nowhere. Then, he meets his daughter’s cheerleader friend Angela (Suvari), an escapee from a Nabokov novel, and the poor man becomes quite smitten. This rekindles Lester’s ambition and galvanizes him to try and find his lost youth–but the question is to what consequence?
Why didn’t I trust my legs to carry me out of the cinema when this film ended? Well, let’s start with the cast. Spacey is outstanding as the epicenter of change, and unless the running gets really crowded really quick, he’s at least got an Oscar nom nailed down–or there’s no justice in the world. Bening is forgiven for In Dreams. The supporting cast is marvelous as well, with the teens Birch, Suvari and relative newcomer Bentley holding their own support beams quite nicely. Also worth noting are Scott Bakula and Sam Robards as Team Jim from next door providing an amusing subplot, which of course leads to a damn serious subplot.