- - Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Releases

Something Borrowed

Warner Home Video

★★

Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin, “Big Love,” “He’s Just Not That Into You”) is a bright, attractive young woman and a talented attorney. But when she’s in the company of her best friend Darcy (Kate Hudson), Rachel surrenders the spotlight to her self-obsessed BFF. As “Something Borrowed” begins, Rachel finds herself regretting her weakness when Darcy snaps up the one thing our heroine really wants - the affections of her law school crush, Dex (Colin Egglesfield, “Melrose Place”).

Based on the best-selling novel by Emily Giffin, “Borrowed” deals with Rachel’s conflicted feelings as she carries a torch for Dex, remains friends with Darcy, and confides in her best friend, Ethan (John Krasinski, “The Office,” “Away We Go”). Those emotions grow even more conflicted when, shortly after Darcy announces her engagement to Dex, he and Rachel share a night of passion.

Director Luke Greenfield and screenwriter Jennie Snyder parlay the engaging personalities of Miss Goodwin and Mr. Krasinski into moments of genuine warmth and humor. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of those moments.

As for Miss Hudson, her Darcy comes off as an even less appealing copy of her character from “Bride Wars”: a selfish, controlling egotist who often uses sex to get what she wants. Mr. Greenfield allows the movie’s pace to drag from time to time while Ms. Snyder interjects moments of guilt and bonding between the female leads that come off as less than sincere. The film would have worked better as a fast-paced, door-slamming bedroom farce than as the supposedly sensitive comedy-drama it tries to be.

The movie is available in a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack, as well as a standard definition DVD edition. If you’re a fan of Miss Goodwin or Mr. Krasinski, you’ll likely find “Something Borrowed” modestly entertaining. Otherwise, save your time and money. MPAA Rating: PG-13 for profanity, sexual and drug content.

The Conspirator

Lions Gate Home Entertainment

★★★1/2

Robert Redford once again displays his considerable skills as a director in this compelling, thought-provoking look at the cabal that plotted and carried out the assassination of President Lincoln in April 1865. A fine cast, led by Robin Wright (“State of Play”) and James McAvoy (“X-Men: First Class”), delivers powerful performances in screenwriter James D. Solomon’s look at the arrest and trial of the seven men and one woman accused of planning to kill Lincoln, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton (Kevin Kline, “The Extra Man”) and Secretary of State William Seward.

Mary Surratt (Miss Wright) is the mother of one of the conspirators and the owner of a Washington, D.C., boarding house where they met. But is this loyal Southerner complicit in the plot or merely an innocent bystander being used by the government as bait to lure her fugitive son into surrendering?

These are the questions facing Union war hero and attorney Frederick Aiken (Mr. McAvoy), who reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt. As the military tribunal draws closer to a verdict, Aiken finds himself growing more skeptical of his government’s belief in his client’s guilt.

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