This week's home video releases finally give us a reason to break out that dusty wallet. While there are no blockbusters in the mix, there is plenty to look forward to screening on that living room television.
From child superheroes to wet gangsters and wimpy kids, this week's releases kick off August very well. Considering next week is almost entirely comedic releases, this is a good chance to get your action fix or fill of corruption.
All of the following movies are currently available on DVD and Blu-ray:
Kick-Ass - One of the best movies of 2010 has finally reached home video. When we reviewed Kick-Ass, our own Kofi Outlaw gave it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. While many were disappointed by its minimal domestic box office, the film still tripled its production budget of $30 million.
The film gave us plenty to enjoy, especially the budding careers of director Matthew Vaughn and actors Aaron Johnson and Chloe Moretz. Moretz absolutely stole the show as Hit-Girl, an unprecedented foul-mouthed, ass-kicking child prodigy.
Visually stunning and filled with recognizable music retrofitted for an action-packed movie, Kick-Ass should excel on the home video market. Kick-Ass had a chance to hit it big in theaters, but somehow audiences didn't flock to the R-rated film. As usual, it has a second chance to become the cult-classic it deserves to be.
The Ghost Writer - Roman Polanski's latest film garnered critical acclaim and a 4-star rating from Roger Ebert. In a limited release, The Ghost Writer just barely earned its production budget. The film explores an unknown ghost writer's experience on a highly controversial autobiography of a former UK Prime Minister. I'll take Ebert's word for it and assume it's definitely worth a rent.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid - I recently caught this movie on the 4-hour flight to San Diego Comic-Con from Chicago. Now, films are not meant to be seen on a 4-inch screen, but I can't say Diary of a Wimpy Kid will get any better on a television. If you have a family or enjoyed the book, this could be worth the rental.
The only special features you'll find on the DVD/Blu-ray are a few deleted scenes and a commentary with director Thor Freudenthal and writer Gabe Sachs.
A Prophet - It took almost a year for this Oscar-nominated foreign film to reach home video, but it has finally become available to the world. In limited release, A Prophet took the indie circuit by storm with its gripping story of corruption.
Multiple outlets compared it to The Godfather, which I think is a bit of a stretch - never compare anything to The Godfather. Still, A Prophet is a brilliant study of a man's self-awareness in the midst of a film that is just as exciting as it is emotional.
Road to Perdition - Sam Mendes' second film finally arrives on Blu-ray. Cinematographer Conrad L. Hall's final film - for which he received a posthumous Oscar - is possibly his most beautiful work. The performances are incredible, notably by Tom Hanks and Paul Newman. The film is a thematic, enthralling ride of discovery and violence - right up there with American Beauty as Mendes' best work.
Conrad Hall's incredible work is honored here with a fantastic video transfer. Exceptional detail give Hall's dark and softly lit photography the best treatment a fan could hope for. On top of that, the audio transfer is heralded as one of the best of the year. The special features offer a good deal of content, but Sam Mendes' commentary track looks to be the highlight.
Next week is almost exclusively reserved for comedy, from the new release Date Night to the re-release National Lampoon's Vacation. Basically, this is your only week until August 24th (Lost the Complete Set) to buy or rent some seriously good films.