"Ibid" (NR, 2008, IndiePix): Some movies completely telegraph their intentions well before the halfway mark has even arrived. Others demand a more careful viewing. And then there are the films that, even if you devour every frame with your undivided attention, may nonetheless demand a second viewing before it all makes sense. And then, beyond all that and deep inside a forest that few filmmakers or filmgoers dare tread, is "Ibid," which finds two mental patients (Christian Campbell as Lionel, Russell Friedenberg as Tin) busting out of their ward in hopes of both giving dramatic life to a script Lionel has written and getting to the bottom of the rather harrowing journey that is their own two lives. "Ibid" completely blurs the lines between the script, the script within the script, and the separate principles of fact and fiction within the world. At no point does it explain these lines, either. That's left up to the viewer to mold and interpret - a ridiculous proposition for 95 percent of us and a completely tantalizing cerebral dare for all who remain.
Extras: Deleted scenes, interviews, behind-the-scenes feature.
"Spinning into Butter" (R, 2007, Screen Media Films): Spirited debate and beautiful scenery are two of a long list of things that shouldn't inspire feelings of depression. But there's something unintentionally funereal about "Spinning Into Butter," which takes us to the campus of a prestigious and picturesque Vermont college that finds itself making news after a student (Paul James) receives a handful of anonymous racial threats. "Butter" unspools itself largely from the perspective of the college's second-year dean (Sarah Jessica Parker), whose own brush with racial tension led her to Vermont from Chicago in the first place. Parker herself helps orchestrate some gutsy exchanges with her students, colleagues and especially a reporter (Mykelti Williamson) who has a past of his own. But even when the debate reaches its highest volume, there's some serious drab in "Butter's" air. No extras.
"Baby on Board" (R, 2009, National Entertainment Media): In comedy as in life, it is not advisable to be caught out in the open with your pants down. But that's where "Baby on Board" finds itself - stranded in a clumsy middle between cute comedy, gross-out comedy, black comedy and a sad attempt at something heartwarming. "Board's" premise isn't rocketry: Angela (Heather Graham) and Curtis (Jerry O'Connell) are married and on the precipice of starting a family when a series of misunderstandings separately leads each to believe the other is cheating. Their best friends (John Corbett and Katie Finneran) find themselves in the same predicament, and the stage is set for one of those completely unbelievable farces that either darkly or goofily plays on all that disbelief. But "Board" tries instead to be cute and ugly at the same time. In the resulting self-confusion it weakly picks scraps from both sides.
Extras: Director/producer commentary, photo gallery.
- McClatchy-Tribune News Services