Armchair Cinephile: The Cine-Mini 

PICK OF THE WEEK: Extras Season One (HBO): Can't get enough of The Office? (The original BBC version, that is?) Step over to HBO, where creator and star Ricky Gervais digs into his big box of cringe-worthy setups, this time casting himself as an actor whose dreams of a speaking gig haven't yet paid off. Gervais lets his character in on the joke this time: where his Office boss was the butt of half the jokes, this protagonist is more often found making wisecracks at others' cluelessness. In this short six-episode run, the series' format doesn't look quite as promising as its predecessor, but a new season has just started to hit the air...

Idiocracy (Fox): Fox's theatrical distribution wing screwed Mike Judge hard this year, releasing Idiocracy so quietly you'd think it was a CIA covert op in South America. For Judge fans, this future-set comedy will be a must-see, though one can only assume that what's making it to disc here isn't exactly the cut that the director (who has already seen one film, Office Space, find its audience on home video) intended.

Quinceanera (Sony): Modest, warm, and packed with that "real indie" vibe that's awfully rare these days, Quinceanera places unknown actors in an LA neighborhood that's evolving from a home for working-class immigrants to a fixer-upper boon to moneyed whites. The filmmakers use the eponymous rite-of-passage party as a bookend to the main story and a way to discuss class tensions among Mexican-Americans, but at heart the movie cares about a trio of characters who, cast out of their own nuclear units, form an oddball family of their own.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION — GUILTY PLEASURES FOR HORMONE-DRUNK FELLAS: Bandidas (Fox), where Latina bombshells Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz play dress-up in this period Western casting them as sexy Robin Hoods — fyi, this appears to have gone straight to video; Crank (Lions Gate), in which love-'im-or-'ate-'im Brit Jason Statham puts his body through a Speed-like scenario: if his adrenaline level drops, he'll die.

More by John DeFore



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