This week's DVD and Blu-ray releases are not overwhelmingly great, but do provide some quality entertainment. While the new releases lack any kind of box office punch, the Blu-ray re-releases include a pair of films every movie-lover needs.
One of the missing pieces to the Christopher Nolan Blu-ray collection finally hits the format this week, as the world prepares for his critically-acclaimed Inception.
The new releases don't have any "blind buys," but two quality films make their way to home video along with one of Gerard Butler's more forgettable comedic turns.
All of the following can be purchased on DVD or Blu-ray this week:
The Bounty Hunter - When Gerard Butler turns his action-star persona into romantic comedy slop, he becomes just another annoying actor. Unfortunately, Jennifer Aniston's sizzle is wearing thin as well. Put those two in a film directed by the man who brought us Hitch, and failure is imminent. While the film tripled its production budget at the worldwide box office, one would be hard-pressed to call The Bounty Hunter a success.
Still, there are worse movies out there and it can be fun when it wants to be. If you need a good action flick with empty comedy, this is your only bet this week. Rent it, but definitely don't blind buy it.
Chloe - With a tagline like, "Her business is pleasure," there is a generic interest in a film starring Amanda Seyfried, Juliaane Moore and Liam Neeson. Unfortunately, those names couldn't help this box office flop. While Sony Classics only spent a cool $15 million on the film, they can't be happy with an $8.4 million worldwide box office.
The film is about a seemingly perfect couple, Neeson and Moore. But when Moore suspects Neeson isn't all he seems, she hires a young woman to seduce him. If he falls for her trap, Moore will know he is unfaithful. The trailers suggest multiple twists and a conniving Seyfried. Frankly, it's just nice to see Liam Neeson in an entire film. He's played enough father figures who die early in the story.
Greenberg - This is one of those films that you just don't hear about unless you know where to look. It is a gem on many fronts and provides a deep look at Ben Stiller's seriously under-utilized acting chops. We gave it a 4 out of 5 and Screen Rant's Ben Kendrick called it "a thoughtful dramedy that features terrific performances by Stiller and co-star Greta Gerwig."
Unfortunately, there are very few special features, so I suggest renting this film to experience its beautiful story. Considering Ben Stiller's knack for providing solid commentaries, it is a shame they couldn't get him in the studio for Greenberg.
Insomnia - It is Christopher Nolan week in Hollywood, and the home video world is celebrating with the Blu-ray release of his most underrated film, Insomnia. It even took me a few viewings to truly appreciate how wonderful this film is. Insomnia is beautifully shot by Wally Pfister, and a haunting score by David Julyan adds another layer to its atmosphere.
Al Pacino brings his usual explosive self to the screen, yet passes off the limelight to those around him. Hilary Swank and Robin Williams both shine in a film that dulls itself to a point where you feel just as exhausted as the main character. Yet, in its pacing, the film is a crime thriller. Moments jump out in your memory, like the floating log foot chase or the classic Christopher Nolan flashbacks.
Insomnia can go on as a forgotten work of Christopher Nolan's, but it is absolutely worth a blind buy. If anything, get it for Robin Williams' unbelievable turn as the movie's villain. Instead of hiding him from the screen and tricking the audience, Nolan shoves Williams in front of the camera and lets him prove his acting ability. As usual, nobody in a Nolan films fails to deliver.
The Blu-ray release also features multiple special features. A director's commentary is coupled with extra commentary on specific scenes from Hilary Swank, Wally Pfister and production designer Nathan Crowley. There is also an unscripted conversation between Pacino and Nolan from 2002 that should give a great look at their relationship.
In Bruges - One of the funniest and most brilliant films of 2008 went relatively unnoticed. In Bruges stars Colin Farrell at his very best, alongside Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes. Every single person in this films brings another element to its success. Yet, while it feels like a forgotten masterpiece, it was still nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar.
If any film warranted a blind buy, it is In Bruges. While the comedy is flawless, the plot is filled with little twists and nuances that warrant a second viewing. It's not a twist film, but multiple viewings are rewarded with little moments that can be easily missed the first time around. Do yourself a favor and dish out the money for In Bruges.
There is definitely some entertainment to enjoy this week. Next week continues July's hot streak of worthy releases. Check back next Tuesday for the latest home video releases.