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I Want My DVD: Tuesday, May 15, 2012

by Ethan Alter May 15, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Have superpowers, will travel

Chronicle
The Avengers is currently dominating the box office charts and seems well on the way to becoming the highest-grossing comic book movie of all time, but it's not 2012's first great superhero saga. Back in February, Fox released this modestly-budgeted, found-footage-style story of three high-school teenagers who acquire special powers, a gift that winds up changing their lives for the better... and then for the worse. Cleverly written and directed by first-timers Max Landis and Josh Trank, Chronicle doesn't reinvent the comic book movie, but it does enliven it with compelling characters and a visual style that grounds their fantastic exploits in a convincing reality. If you missed Chronicle in theaters, don't make the same mistake on DVD.
Extras: A deleted scene, pre-visualization footage and a camera test revealing how they applies the movie's found footage aesthetic to the superhero genre.
Click here to read our original review

The Grey
Although the ads played up the whole "Liam Neeson fights wolves" angle, Joe Carnahan's The Grey, is actually a more thoughtful (and far grimmer) man vs. wild survival story. When their plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, Neeson and a group of his fellow oil-industry grunts have to find their way back to civilization or die trying. (Mostly, they die... a lot.) Easily Carnahan's strongest film since 2002's Narc, The Grey grabs you early on and doesn't let go until the memorable final shot; don't feel obligated to stick around for the post-credits sting, which puts too neat a bow on what should remain an open-ending.
Extras: Commentary with Carnahan and deleted scenes.
Click here to read our original review

One for the Money
Intended to serve as the launching pad for a new film series for fading star Katherine Heigl, One for the Money -- based on the first installment in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series -- may instead become an epitaph for her big-screen career after it bombed big time during its blink-and-you-missed-it release in January. The problems start with Heigl's (mis)casting as Plum, a trash-talking Jersey Girl who gets a gig as a bounty hunter in order to make a little dough. (Surrounding the star with actual New Jersey locals in supporting roles just makes her impersonation even less convincing.) Add onto that a dull story, uneven production values and forced attempts at humor and you've got a classic case of franchise fizzle. There is one thing we can say in One for the Money's favor, though: it's better than the Stephanie Plum knockoff, The Bounty Hunter.
Extras: Two behind-the-scenes featurettes, a deleted scene and a gag reel.

Being John Malkovich
As every film buff knows, 1999 was one of the great years for movies. You had Three Kings, Fight Club, Magnolia... and this remarkable breakthrough for director Spike Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. Starring John Cusack as a frustrated puppeteer who discovers a portal that transports him into the body of one John Malkovich, Being John Malkovich is an utterly unique tale further distinguished by a wickedly dark comic tone and a terrific ensemble cast that also includes Catherine Keener, Cameron Diaz and Orson Bean. Like its Class of '99 brethren, it's a film that still holds up ten years on and its reputation seems likely to endure for decades to come.
Extras: A newly recorded commentary track with Jonze and Michel Gondry, a new retrospective documentary helmed by Lester Bangs, an interview with John Malkovich and John Hodgman (we love the Hodge, but we kinda wish that this was a Between Two Ferns segment pairing the odd Malkovich with the equally eccentric Zach Galifianakis) and another Bangs-directed doc about the art of puppeteering.

Also on DVD:
If Chronicle whets you're appetite for more found footage hijinks, check out the exorcism-themed horror mockumentary, The Devil Inside. One fairly major caveat, though: it stinks. Glenn Close devoted a significant chunk of her professional life to bringing Albert Nobbs, the story of a woman passing as a man in 19th century Ireland, to the screen and got an Oscar nomination for her trouble. It's just too bad that very little of her passion for the material comes through in the finished product. Lots of Oscar buzz surrounded Woody Harrelson's performance as a dirty cop in the cop drama Rampart and while Harrelson is terrific, the movie itself is a disappointment, lacking clear focus and a compelling narrative drive. Set against the backdrop of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Kinyarwanda connects six different story threads into a portrait of a country in crisis. Turning to catalogue releases, The Walking Tall Trilogy includes all three installments of the '70s Buford Pusser cycle in one handy volume, along with a documentary featuring new interviews with actor Joe Don Baker among others. (The Rock-starring 2004 remake has been wisely omitted.) One of Steve Martin's biggest hits, Father of the Bride turned 20 last year and marks that anniversary with Father of the Bride: 2 Movie Collection Blu-ray, which pairs it with its 1995 sequel. Anniversary-themed extras include commentary tracks and a featurette wherein Martin and co-star Martin Short interview each other. Another Martin hit, Bringing Down the House, also gets a high-def version this week, all the better to appreciate the actor's hip-hop dance moves. Finally, the '80s anthology film New York Stories offers up a great Martin Scorsese short with a mediocre Woody Allen short and a genuinely terrible Francis Ford Coppola short and Bernardo Bertolucci's sprawling five-hour epic 1900 gets a resplendent three-disc Blu-ray release.

Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.

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