A pretty decent week for new DVD releases. Here are the major ones:
Defiance – Daniel Craig got good notices for his role in this film about a group of Jewish resistance fighters in World War II. Craig plays a flawed hero whose actions and decisions have consequences. The film has a great pedigree with Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell rounding out the cast, with Edward Zwick taking the director’s chair. Zwick likes historical films [Glory and The Last Samurai come to mind], but this film never quite took off and got the respect as the other films he has made.
Revolutionary Road – Sam Mendes latest film also had the same problem that Defiance had. A great pedigree, but it never took off and got the same respect as other films released at the end of the year did. It has got a great cast in Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, and Michael Shannon received a Best Supporting Actor nomination. DiCaprio and Winslet got rave notices for their work, but both were snubbed by Oscar [some people believe that Winslet should have been nominated and won for her role in Revolutionary Road instead of The Reader]. I’m a fan of Sam Mendes, so I’m always interested in what he makes, so it should be worth checking out. The one common thing I have heard about this film is that it is very depressing as it is essentially about a middle class couple starting out their life together, and then the dreams and optimism they have in their youth fades away.
Fanboys – This is the big release of the week for me. There is such a long back story to this film. It has been re-edited a couple of times to include and then delete a cancer story line [it might have been re-inserted as the film has been changed so often]. The release date has been pushed back several times, as it was first supposed to be released in 2007. You might be thinking, that this drama had to be re-worked over and over again. Unfortunately, it is not a drama – it’s a comedy. The story can be summed up by saying a bunch of Star Wars fans decide to break in to George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch to steal a copy of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace before it gets released in theatres. That premise alone makes me want to see the film, but I have reservations because of the film being tweaked over a 2 year period. It barely got a release in theatres, so we’ll see if it finds an audience on DVD.
Weeds: Season 4 – I will say that I have never watched an episode of this show, but I do like Mary-Louise Parker. She’s a very good actress. I’m amazed that this show has been on for 4 years, because it does not seem like that long ago when it first debuted. From what I have read, this is a transition season, because a lot of characters leave, and some have said that it does not live up to previous seasons. Still, if you’re a fan, it’s worth checking out.
He’s Just Not That Into You – One of the surprise hits of 2009 comes out on DVD today. With an all-star cast that includes Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Jennifer Anniston, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper and Justin Long. Despite the cast, Ginnifer Goodwin is getting the best notices for her performance [you might remember her as Johnny Cash’s first wife in Walk The Line, and she was a regular on the TV show Ed with Justin Long back in the day]. The film received average reviews, nothing spectacular, but it almost did $100 million at the box office, so I’m intrigued about why it did so well.