Last week saw one of my most prolific entries of This Week in Blu-ray, clocking in at over 3,000 words. Part of it was that there were a ton of quality releases to talk about, and the rest had something to do with me being several weeks behind. As promised, we’re back on the punctuality bus this week, speeding down the road to informationville. All poor analogies aside, I’m happy to report that this week’s column is on time. That said, I’m sad to report that there’s nothing great to report. This week’s release slate is a relative bust . Though I will try my best to find something interesting to talk about.
I was thoroughly convinced that I would see this title as one of Rob Hunter’s entries into the Import This! article series, as it’s been on Blu-ray elsewhere in the world for months. It’s criminal, come to think of it, that such a quality film would continue to be overlooked. Heck, we named this movie one of the 11 Great Films that Flew Under the Radar in 2008. 2008! Alas, here’s the story for those who haven’t been paying attention: Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play two hitmen sent to a small Belgian town to hide after a job goes way wrong. It’s full of heart, quirk and wonderful back-and-forth between the two leads. Also, it has Peter Dinklage. Game, set, match. The Blu-ray isn’t sporting any new features (save for D-Box integration) that weren’t on the DVD, but this film is just too good (and too good looking) to pass up. If you don’t own it on DVD, I suggest picking up a Blu copy. If you already own it on DVD, feel free to go about your business.
It might be tighter MPAA restrictions or just a lack of quality writing, but it’s dawned on me that Hollywood doesn’t make sexy movies anymore. They make raunchy movies — the ones that are comedic beat, breasts, comedic beat — but those aren’t sexy. Not like Atom Egoyan’s Chloe. It’s a cerebral flick that builds erotic tension while moving its strong plot forward, anchored by great performances from Julianne Moore and Mamma Mia star Amanda Seyfried. Yes, the two end up tangled in an erotic game with high drama. And yes they have a nice scene together, in a bed. But there’s more to it than that, which is what makes this taut thriller worth seeing. Sadly, the Blu-ray is standard fare: deleted scenes, featurette and a commentary track. Not worth much more than a rent.
“Invited to Nightmute, Alaska, to head a murder case, veteran LAPD detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino) finds his investigation interrupted by an ever-shining midnight sun that wreaks sleep-depriving havoc on him — and by personal guilt over a second crime that may be real… or a figment of his increasingly unstable consciousness.” Christopher Nolan’s first post-Memento film will always been one of his most forgotten. But it’s certainly not to be overlooked completely, as it’s a great little atmospheric, dread-filled affair. It’s also a good example of the fact that both Al Pacino and Robin Williams have been good in dramatic roles. That seems easy to forget these days. The Blu-ray sports a good looking transfer of this foggy film, some interesting featurettes (4 in total), and a Chris Nolan commentary track. There’s more, which makes it a solid release. But not much more, which keeps it in the Rent column.
There’s probably a reason why Focus Features and Universal Home Entertainment didn’t feel the need to give this release anything more than standard Blu-ray extras: the likes of BD-Live, Social Blu and Pocket Blu. They are all useless and their presence only amplifies the fact that this release doesn’t come with much actual behind the scenes footage. It’s because they know what I know: Greenberg is a real snooze. As much as I enjoy every moment of screentime that Greta Gerwig gets in any movie, even she can’t save Noah Baumbach from repeating the same themes, dramatic beats and character quirks that he’s delivered in the past. This time it’s with Ben Stiller. That makes no difference.
“Romantic comedy without romance or comedy. Bad plot, bad characters, and zero chemistry between Gerard Butler and Jennifer Aniston.” That’s a pretty concise and accurate read from our own Paul Sileo, who reviewed this film when it hit theaters in March. If you are not sick and tired of contrived romantic comedy plots with chemistry-less pairs — Gerard Butler or not — then you can have this one, as that’s exactly what it is. Being on Blu-ray doesn’t help it out much, either. Sony gives it about 30 min. of behind the scenes featurettes that don’t add much to an already blissless experience, and none of the extras are Blu-ray only. There is MovieIQ, which I will say again is worthless. And BD-Live, a feature yet to be realized for its full potential. Unlike this movie, which has reached its full potential the first time out — it’s potential just isn’t worth much.
It’s impossible to take Chris Klein and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson seriously as actors on their own, let alone in the same movie. Revisiting a role as a cop similar to the one he made memorable in Street Fighter, Klein turns in a toned down, growly performance that fits this character just as awkwardly. The over-arching plot is as stock as they come, combining elements of boredom-inducing dialogue with cliches a la mode. In the end, the amount of special features matters not. This movie defeated me and I was happy to see it end. You should probably avoid it, lest ye be caught in some sort of badly scripted exchange of words, bullets or whatever.
Also out on Blu-ray but not available for review:
- Gabriel Iglesias: Hot & Fluffy (Image)
- The Greatest (National Media)
- How to Make Love to a Woman (E1 Entertainment)
- Middle of Nowhere (Image)
- Our Family Wedding (20th Century Fox)
- Parasomnia (Koch)
- Shark Week: Jaws of Steel Collection (Discovery)
- White Collar: The Complete First Season (20th Century Fox)