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Monday, July 19, 2010

Out on Blu-ray/DVD

Releases for the Week of 7/13 - 07/19/10 (Ratings Out of Four Stars.)

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GREENBERG

(2010)

* * *1/2 (A-)

Directed by Noah Baumbach

Starring Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Rhys Ifans, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brie Larson, Mark Duplass, Juno Temple, Chris Messina

Universal//Rated R//Drama//108 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Ben Stiller slips into the skin of Roger Greenberg, an unhappy, underachieving, defensive 40-year-old confronting what might have been, and what might still be possible. Greenberg once walked away from success, leaving behind a record label deal and a pair of perplexed band mates to become a carpenter in New York City. When he returns to L.A. 15 years later, ex band member Ivan (Ifans) is still his friend. Greenberg's onetime girlfriend (Leigh, the director's wife) exemplifies the life he might have had, but he is charmed by Florence (Gerwig), a cheerful young woman 15 years his junior. Though difficult to like, Greenberg is collection of intriguing and amusing oddities. It's a tribute to the director's skill that we root for him even when Greenberg hasn't earned it. DVD and Blu-Ray features: behind-the-scenes look at Greenberg, Greenberg loves Los Angeles, Noah Baumbach takes a novel approach, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

WHITE COLLAR: SEASON ONE

(2009)

* * (C)

Created by Jeff Eastin

Starring Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Tiffani Thiessen, Willie Garson, Natalie Morales, Diahann Carroll

Fox//Rated TV-PG//Drama//677 minutes

Available On: DVD and Blu-Ray

Neal Caffrey (Bomer) is a master criminal wrapped in a pretty boy veneer. Following his escape from prison, Caffrey is caught by FBI Agent Peter Burke (DeKay), with whom Caffrey has a history. Burke, now hot on the trail of "The Dutchman," allows Caffrey to serve the remaining four years of his sentence in Burke's custody provided Caffrey finds the Dutchman. A lover of life's finer things, Caffrey meets and befriends an aging wealthy widow (Carroll) who invites him to live in her excellently appointed Manhattan home and gifts him with her dead husband's pricey clothes. Caffrey's good life would be complete if not for his efforts to find the girlfriend who dumped him and the restrictions placed on him by Burke. With it's upbeat rhythm, lighter than air tone and thinly sketched crime capers, this USA Channel entry is no "Burn Notice," but it's a pleasant enough if you don't scrutinize it. 4-Disc DVD or 3-Disc Blu-Ray features: Commentaries on selected episodes, deleted scenes, featurettes: Pro and Con, A Cool Cat in the Hat, Nothing But the Truth, Gag Reel, English language tracks, French, Spanish or Portuguese Subtitles, widescreen.

SAVING GRACE: The Final Season

(2008)

* * * (Grade B)

Created by Nancy Miller

Starring Holly Hunter, Leon Rippy, Laura San Giacomo, Kenny Johnson, Bailey Chase, Bokeem Woodbine, Lorraine Toussaint, Mark L. Taylor, Dylan Minnette

Fox//Rated TV-MA//Drama//836 minutes

Available on: DVD

Like "Joan of Arcadia," Grace converses with a divine spirit. Here the spirit is a hippie-redneck angel calling himself Earl (Leon Rippy). He claims he's come to help Grace, but in season three he puts her life in danger. Holly Hunter is a gem as troubled Oklahoma City police detective, Grace Hanadarko. She gets along in a man's world by following her moral compass and giving as good as she gets. Though Grace's best friend Rhetta (Laura San Giacomo), knows all about Earl, this season Grace's secret visitations are revealed to the public. For three years, the depiction of flawed characters doing their best, has curried favor with viewers, but that failed to save Grace, a show Fox claims is pricey to produce, from the studio axe. 5-Disc DVD features: English language tracks, French, Portuguese or Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

THE BOUNTY HUNTER

(2010)

* * (C)

Directed by Andy Tennant

Starring Gerard Butler, Jennifer Aniston, Christine Baranski, Jason Sudeikis, Cathy Moriarty

Sony//Rated PG-13//Comedy//107 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Aniston and Butler each take another stab at the romantic comedy genre, but predictably, both their pairing and the movie, come up short on romance and laughs. Aniston appears as Nicole, an investigative reporter whose unpaid parking tickets and failure to appear in court get her case assigned to Milo, a bounty hunter (Butler) and Nicole's ex-husband. The film attempts to make sexy fun from Milo handcuffing Nicole to the bed, but these scenes make you wistful for the wittier episodes of "Friends." Soon Nicole gives Milo the slip, but it's a good thing he finds her since Nicole's investigation has landed her on a killer's hit list. DVD features: featurettes: Making of, Along the Road: Hunting Locations, Rules for Outwitting a Bounty Hunter!, English or French language tracks, widescreen. Blu-Ray features same plus: MovieIQ sync and BD-Live connections to real-time information about the cast, music, and trivia, Digital Copy of film, optional Spanish language track.

OUR FAMILY WEDDING

(2010)

* (D)

Directed by Rick Famuyiwa

Starring Forest Whitaker, America Ferrera, Taye Diggs, Regina King, Fred Armisen, Lance Gross, Carlos Mencia

Fox//Rated PG-13//Comedy//103 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Lovebirds Lucia and Marcus (Ferrera and Gross) visit their families in Los Angeles to disclose their engagement. The film hangs its comedy shingle on the culture clash between patriarchs (Mencia and Whitaker), one a traditional Latino family man, while the other, Brad, is an African American playboy fond of young women. During a punishing two-week countdown to their nuptials, Lucia and Marcus adopt the mantra, "Our marriage, their wedding." Playing Brad's attorney and potential love interest, Regina King's wise character provides respite from otherwise nonstop pandemonium. DVD and Blu-Ray features: deleted scenes, The Director's Cut Ending, Extended Scenes, Til Dads Do Us Part featurette, Gag Reel, English language tracks, French or Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

CHLOE

(2010)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Atom Egoyan

Starring Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Max Thieriot

Sony//Rated R//Drama//99 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Suspecting that her husband David (Neeson) has been unfaithful, Toronto-based gynecologist Catherine (Moore) hires high-class prostitute Chloe (Seyfried), to tempt him. However, it isn't long before Catherine, titillated by Chloe's exploits, finds herself falling into bed with the girl. This latest effort from esteemed director Atom Egoyan remakes the 2004 French film "Nathalie," a study of loss and regaining passion. Though it succeeds as a mystery, Egoyan's effort mostly lacks emotional import despite fine performances all around. DVD and Blu-Ray features: making-of short, deleted scenes, commentary with Egoyan, Seyfried and writer Erin Cressida Wilson, English language tracks, widescreen.

PSYCH: Season Four

(2010)

* * (C)

Created by Steve Franks

Starring James Roday, Dule Hill, Corbin Bernsen, Tim Omundson, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Rachael Leigh Cook, James Brolin, Ally Sheedy

Universal//Not Rated//Comedy//660 minutes

Shawn Spencer (Roday) is an astute observer of human behavior and exhibits Sherlock Holmesian powers of deduction, Nevertheless, he chooses to pose as a psychic and is frequently hired as consultant to the Santa Barbara Police Department. Best friend Burton (Hill) is Shawn's partner, running the business end of their arrangement while frequently disagreeing with Shawn's tactics. Bernsen portrays Shawn's father, a mildly disapproving ex-cop with whom Shawn has issues. The dialog is clever even when the cases aren't, but the chemistry between Roday and Hill can be grating. Rachel Leigh Cook appears in a recurring role as Shawn's girlfriend. 4-Disc DVD features: deleted scenes, Gag Reel, Video and audio commentaries on selected episodes, Previews, Psychouts, Montages, Think Tank Podcast, English language tracks, widescreen.

INSOMNIA

(2002)

* *1/2 (B-)

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Starring Robin Williams, Al Pacino, Nicky Katt, Paul Dooley, Hilary Swank, Maura Tierney, Jonathan Jackson, Martin Donovan

Warner//Rated R//Thriller//118 minutes

Available on: Blu-Ray

Insomnia contrasts Alaska's 24-hour summer daylight season with its protagonist's dark secrets. He is Los Angeles detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino), on loan to a small Alaskan town with his partner (Martin Donovan) to investigate the murder of a teen. Dormer (Al Pacino) happens to be under investigation by the department when, while chasing their suspect through a fogbank, Dormer shoots and kills his partner. Failing to inform the internal investigator (Hilary Swank) that he fired the fatal shot, prevents Dormer from sleeping and makes him an ideal blackmail target. Director Christopher Nolan is interested in his characters' frailties, including those serial murderer Walter Finch, played by Williams with glib self-satisfaction. The film dozes through many fine opportunities to examine the parallels between Dormer and Finch, but it's fun to watch the Pacino-Williams competition to chew up the scenery. Blu-Ray features: Movie Cash, Additional scenes, 2 Commentaries: Director Christopher Nolan or Hilary Swank, production designer Nathan Crowley, editor Dody Dorn, cinematographer Wally Pfister and screenwriter Hillary Seitz, featurettes: Making-of, A conversation with Christopher Nolan and Al Pacino, Cinematography and production design, The insomniac's world, Stills gallery, Theatrical trailer, English, French, Spanish language tracks, widescreen.

Also Out This Week:

MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

(2008)

Directed by John Stockwell

Starring Susan Sarandon, Eva Amurri, Willa Holland, Anton Yelchin, Justin Chatwin, John Stockwell

Image//Rated R//Comedy//95 minutes

Available on: DVD and Blu-Ray

Needing $12,000 fast so she'll be admitted to medical school, Grace (Amurri) throws her lot in with spoiled rich kid Dorian (Yelchin) who has offered her a piece of his pot-dealing venture. Susan Sarandon appears as Grace's out of control mom. DVD and Blu-Ray features: deleted scenes, Making of featurette, Cast and crew interviews, Trailer, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.

THE LUCY SHOW: The Official Second Season

(1963-1964)

Starring Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance, Gale Gordon, Jimmy Garrett, Dick Martin, Candy Moore, Ralph Hart

Paramount//Not Rated//Comedy//719 minutes

Widows Lucille Carmichael (Ball) and her best friend Vivian (Vance), live with their three kids in suburban Danfield, Connecticut. Hoping to meet eligible men, Lucy goes to work at the Danfield First National Bank where she is hounded by her curmudgeonly boss, Theodore J. Mooney (Gordon). 4-Disc DVD features: Clips from "opening night" special, Clip from CBS: the stars' address, New interviews with Carole Cook and Barry Livingston, Vintage openings, Vintage closings, Cast commercials, Cast biographies, Production notes, Photo galleries, English language tracks.