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Monday, June 28, 2010

Out on Blu-ray/DVD

Releases for the Week of 06/22/10 - 06/27/10 (Ratings Out of Four Stars.)

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GREEN ZONE

(2010)

* * * (B)

Directed by Paul Greengrass

Starring Matt Damon, Jason Isaacs, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson, Amy Ryan, Khalid Abdalla, Igal Naor

Universal//Rated R//Thriller//115 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Green Zone depicts the American occupation of Saddam Hussein's luxurious Baghdad palace during the early days of the Iraq war. From their cloistered position, those known as the Coalition Provisional Authority, are out of touch with the Iraqi suffering occurring outside palace walls. The CPA was led by L. Paul Bremer, who took his marching orders from Donald Rumsfeld. The coalition's disastrous disbanding of Iraq's police force and military were to have terrible consequences for all parties. Some characters in the film are based on real people while others are invented. Matt Damon portrays Chief Army Warrant Officer Roy Miller, a fictional character. Miller's unit, assigned to find WMDs, repeatedly comes up empty. Because his unit’s risky missions seem to be based on faulty intelligence, Miller resents being stonewalled by his superiors. His solution is to defy orders from fictional Bremer stand-in, Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear), and follow intelligence leads from CIA operative Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson). With Brown's help, Miller races Poundstone to find and gather information from an Iraqi military leader. The ensuing game of cat and mouse fully engages. While it's horrifying to watch Iraqi citizens made to suffer by their would-be liberators, the film fails to support its conspiracy theories. Damon's credible performance is undermined by the film's insistence his character become a super-operative, but the realistic depiction of conditions in Iraq, is memorable. DVD or 2-Disc Blu-Ray features: commentary by Damon and Greengrass, deleted scenes, Matt Damon: Ready for action, Inside the Green Zone, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-Ray exclusive features include: My Scenes, D-BOX, U-Control: Video Commentary with Director Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon, Picture in Picture, BD Live, pocket BLU App, social BLU App, digital copy.

THE LAST STATION

(2009)

* * * (B)

Directed by Michael Hoffman

Starring Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, Paul Giamatti, James McAvoy, Anne-Marie Duff, Kerry Condon

Sony//Rated R//Drama//113 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Acclaimed Russian author, Leo Tolstoy, was a titled count of significant means. In this film adaptation from the 1990 biographical novel by Jay Parini, we meet Tolstoy in his early 80s and declining health. Having long decried the evils of personal wealth, Tolstoy is beset by followers (led by a mustachioed Paul Giamatti) to bequeath his voluminous works to the Russian people. Played by Christopher Plummer -- neatly made over in the author's image, Tolstoy argues philosophy and politics with his wife Sofya (Helen Mirren). He's idealistically inclined toward the scheme, she wages a one-woman against it. James McAvoy appears as the author's young assistant, and like every actor in this film, he endeavors to own the character rather than allow himself to be owned by it. Nevertheless, taken on its own merits, The Last Station is an accessible work examining the author's marriage and burden of guilt as his life comes to a close. DVD and Blu-Ray features: commentary by Plummer, Mirren and the director, deleted scenes, outtakes, Interview with Christopher Plummer, English language tracks, French subtitles, widescreen. Blu-Ray exclusive features: movieIQ sync, BD-Live with continuously updated information on cast and crew, production facts, music and soundtrack.

HUNG: Season One

(2009)

* * * (B)

Created by Colette Burson, Dmitry Lipkin

Starring Thomas Jane, Jane Adams, Rebecca Creskoff, Anne Heche

HBO//Not Rated//Comedy//315 Minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane), a divorced coach facing high school budget cuts, feels like a loser when he attends a workshop claiming he can release his inner millionaire by identifying his best assets. Ray does just that, starting a business to service sexually needy women. For a percentage of the take, Ray's mousey classmate, aspiring poet Tanya (Jane Adams), becomes his pimp. She creates Ray's advertising, books his clients and collects payments. Together this unlikely duo attempts to learn their trade by making every possible mistake. Ray breaks most rules in the prostitute's handbook, while Tanya tries to ward off overtures from Lenore (Creskoff), a well-connected vixen scheming gain control over Ray's new career. Cleverly written for maximum payoff with minimum hanky-panky, "Hung" makes the most of a fine cast, including Anne Heche as Ray's gold-digging ex-wife. 2-Disc DVD or Blu-Ray features: Commentaries on select episodes by the show's creators, producers and writers, Making-Of featuring cast and crew interviews, The Women of Hung, Ray and Tanya's Personal Ads, English, French or Spanish language tracks, English, French, Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-Ray Exclusive features: Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish subtitles.

ENTOURAGE: Season Six

(2009)

* * *1/2 (A-)

Created by Doug Ellin

Starring Jeremy Piven, Kevin Dillon, Adrian Grenier, Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Connolly

HBO//Rated TV-MA//Comedy//326 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

This season the show's lead character Vince, is once again a hot property thanks to director Martin Scorsese's offer of a leading role. Drama (Dillion), Vince's less successful brother, becomes apoplectic when faced with a kissing scene, but more determined than ever to secure a starring TV role. Hoping to rekindle an old romance, Vince's friend and manager (Connolly) leaves Vince's palatial home to sublet a place of his own. Completing Vince's feelings of abandonment, his longtime friend and gofer Turtle, (Ferrara) all but moves in with Jamie-Lynn Sigler. By continuing to ramp up Ari Gold's role and storylines, the show hits comic paydirt when Ari (Piven) discovers a misbehaving agent (Gary Cole) who could cost the agency plenty, and finds his indispensable assistant (Rex Lee) determined to become a talent agent. 3-Disc DVD or Blu-Ray features: Commentaries on select episodes with Doug Ellin, producer Ally Musika and the cast, featurettes: Making-Of including cast and crew interviews, A Day at the Speedway: go behind-the-scenes as the cast races Ferraris at the Auto Club Speedway, One X One PSA: directed by Matt Damon, English or French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-Ray Exclusive features: Dutch, Norwegian or Swedish subtitles.

SHE'S OUT OF MY LEAGUE

(2010)

* * * (B)

Directed by Jim Field Smith

Starring Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, T.J. Miller, Mike Vogel, Nate Torrence, Krysten Ritter, Geoff Stults, Lindsay Sloane

DreamWorks//Rated R//Comedy//104 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

When Kirk (Baruchel), a nerdy airport security agent, is befriended by successful bombshell, Molly (Alice Eve), he tries to appear confident and nonchalant. Kirk's friends and coworkers (Miller, Torrence and Vogel) cheerfully point out that while Molly's a solid "10," Kirk is and always has been a disposable "5." His efforts to woo her are sabotaged by his jealous ex (Sloane) and the inescapable belief that he's a loser. Though vulgar humor occasionally creeps in, the film's gently mocking tone and resilient performances from its lesser-known leads, score points for leagues of romantic underdogs. DVD or Blu-Ray features: director commentary, extended ending, deleted scenes, Devon's dating show- "do's & don'ts" guide to dating for guys, blooper reel, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-Ray exclusive features: German subtitles.

REMEMBER ME

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Allen Coulter

Starring Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Pierce Brosnan, Chris Cooper, Martha Plimpton, Lena Olin, Ruby Jerins, Payton List, Meghan Markle

Summit//Rated PG-13//Drama//112 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Summit Studio casts their Twilight star, Robert Pattinson, as a wounded soul. Unable to connect with his Park Avenue father (Brosnan), college student Tyler (Pattinson) finds himself humiliated when arrested by an embittered cop (Cooper) dealing with problems of his own. To exact revenge, Tyler contrives to first romance, then dump the cop's daughter Ally (de Ravin), but instead falls in love. Set just prior to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, the film examines the scars left on young psyches when tragedy befalls their families. DVD or Blu-Ray features: Commentary with Pattinson, Coulter and other cast members, behind-the-scenes Making-Of featurette, English or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

WOLF MOON

(2009)

* (D)

Directed by Dana Mennie

Starring Max Ryan, Sid Haig, Billy Drago, Chris Mulkey, Chris Divecchio, Ginny Weirick, Lin Shaye

Lionsgate//Rated R//Horror//124 minutes

Available on: DVD

Amy is drawn to drifter Dan after he and his rippling muscles arrive in her small town. Though Dan appears nice enough, when the full moon rises he's transformed into a werewolf. Most distressing, Dan is pursued by a cruel werewolf intent upon fighting it out once both men have assumed their lycanthropic form -- in the dead of night. Dark, murky special effects do little to illuminate the werewolf action, while the film's overlong setup will leave you wanting to howl at Wolf Moon. DVD features: commentary with actor Max Ryan and co-writer/director Dana Mennie, Trailer gallery, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS

(2009)

* * * (B)

Directed by Phil Lord Chris Miller

Voiced by Anna Faris, Bill Hader, Bruce Campbell, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Mr. T, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Al Roker, Lauren Graham

Sony//Rated PG//Animated, Family//90 minutes

Available on: Blu-Ray for 3DTV

Based on a popular children's book, the story is expanded and outfitted with new characters for its film adaptation. Most residents of an impoverished seaside town can only afford to eat the sardines canned there, until Flint Lockwood (Hader) invents a machine that turns water into food. Soon, hamburgers, pancakes, spaghetti and pizza rain from the sky. However, when complications occur, Flint's machine and the food it makes, grow inordinately large. Mayor Shelbourne (Campbell) insists the machine continue to operate so that tourists will continue to stuff the town's coffers. Note: You must have both a 3D capable Blu-Ray player and a 3DTV in order to receive the benefits of this release. Blu-Ray features: 3D Sneak Peeks of Open Season and Monster House, Exciting Special 2D Features: extended scenes, "Raining Sunshine" Music Video, English, French, Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

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