It is difficult to say this week is exciting on the home video front. However, there are some films worth a look. Between a pair of Oscar-noms and an tragically overlooked film, there is enough reason to at least peruse the shelves at your nearest store.
Next week will be a little better, but at least the summer slate of movies has kicked off to keep you occupied.
The Messenger – Woody Harrelson was deservedly nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role in this film. It is difficult to explain how much better The Messenger is than every other movie on today’s Breakdown (even Carlito’s Way). Just know that it is.
Ben Foster delivers yet another fantastic performance, but not enough people saw it. This is your opportunity to catch it at home.
Whether the film entertained you or simply told a compelling story, the Blu-ray review is tremendous. Beyond a near-perfect video and audio review, the special features are pretty interesting.
A 36-minute behind the scenes documentary includes a fun featurette on Matt Damon playing rugby. The 22-minute featurette on the legend of Clint Eastwood may be worth the purchase itself.
Extraordinary Measures – Our own review of the film by Paul Young proves the apparently cheesy movie is actually worth a watch. I can’t speak for the film as I didn’t catch it. But I trust Paul’s word, which makes this an absolute rental.
The problem is, not enough people agreed with Paul’s relatively favoring review. Of course, 3.5 out of 5 is not calling it “film of the year,” but Extraordinary Measures couldn’t even muster up half its production budget at the box office. It makes you wonder if its producer, CBS Films, should have just aired it on their flagship station.
Valentine’s Day – With an all-star cast, this film made some solid money. It didn’t hurt that they released the film on Valentine’s Day. But considering half of its domestic box office was made on opening weekend, it’s tough to call Valentine’s Day a hit.
If you are unaware of the ensemble involved in this romantic comedy, here you go: Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, Shirley MacLaine, Julia Roberts and Taylor Swift.
Vignette films can appeal to a number of audiences. But on home video, it may be worth watching. At least you can fast forward to your favorite segments.
The Spy Next Door – I blame Arnold Schwarzenegger for giving action stars the right to jump into kids’ movies, but apparently this wasn’t as bad as it looked. Our own review seems favorable enough considering the premise. Of course, it is geared specifically for children, but parents can find it enjoyable as well.
The Blu-ray has a near-perfect audio review and finds itself right in the middle everywhere else. There is a solid 10-minute featurette on Jackie Chan’s martial arts skills in the special features, but I’ll let other people tell me about it.
Carlito’s Way – Al Pacino has plenty of famous characters in his resume, but one of the more underrated is Carlito Brigante. The 1993 tale follows an ex-con’s attempt to clean up his life. Unfortunately, the pressure of his peers and the culture around him forces him back in the gutter.
The real standout of Carlito’s Way is Sean Penn’s performance as shady lawyer David Kleinfeld. If you enjoyed the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, you’ll be quite familiar with his character, as the colorful lawyer in the game is based on the Carlito’s Way character.
INTRIGUING PICK OF THE WEEK:
Black Sheep/Tommy Boy – The two comedic favorites with Chris Farley and David Spade are finally wrapped together in a two-pack Blu-ray release. For any fan of comedy, this is a must buy and the Tommy Boy Blu-ray has plenty of featurettes to keep the spirit of Farley’s hilarity alive.
In a week like this, anything could be worth a rental. But rentals are boring and we want instant buys or even blind buys.
Check back next week for a handful of sword-heavy classics and the True Blood second season box set.