This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Gangster Squad, The Impossible, Jurassic Park 3D ...
This week: A great cast fires blanks in Gangster Squad, Naomi Watts ends her slump with The Impossible, and Jurassic Park 3D wastes no time going to Blu-ray.
► Sean Penn overacts the hell out of GANGSTER SQUAD, to the point you wish he and director Ruben Fleischer (‘Zombieland’) would dial it down and make a more serious mob movie. The cheese is pretty thick throughout, as a square-jawed detective (Josh Brolin) aims to take down a WW II-era crimelord (Penn). Ryan Gosling is a sergeant who joins the fray after an innocent kid is gunned down during a botched hit. Considering the cast, which includes Nick Nolte, Emma Stone and Giovanni Ribisi, this should have been closer to ‘The Untouchables’ instead of Christian Slater’s ‘Mobsters.’
► Naomi Watts nabbed her second Oscar nomination for THE IMPOSSIBLE, based on the true story of a physician and her husband (Ewan McGregor) who separated from their children during the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. The flood footage is about as harrowing as you expect. First film from Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona since 2007’s exceptional ‘The Orphanage.’ This guy needs to make more movies.
► The only thing preventing A HAUNTED HOUSE from being called ‘Scary Movie 5’ was … well, ‘Scary Movie 5.’ A spoof of found footage horror movies starring Marlon Wayans. So, so original. He justifies it by claiming it’s not a parody, but a movie about people doing the opposite of what white people do in horror movies. I guess veiled racism is okay in important, landmark films like this.
► Seriously, JURASSIC PARK 3D is out on Blu-ray this week? Three weeks after it opened in theatres? Not sure what Paramount’s message here is, but it makes less and less sense to see these things in theatres. Anyways, you know the drill here – nice if unspectacular 3-D remastering for this classic that still holds up, as Spielberg’s best movies always do. A sigh of relief that he didn’t try to fine-tune the effects here – even 20 years later, the T-rex scene is CGI perfection.
► Matt Damon was originally supposed to directed PROMISED LAND, but handed it off to the trusty Gus Van Sant instead. Damon co-wrote the script with co-star John Krasinski, about a corporate shark who arrives in a struggling town to buy drilling rights from the locals. A science teacher (Hal Holbrook) and environmentalist (Krasinski) aren’t so keen on the idea.
► Just a few days after 4/20 comes CHEECH & CHONG’s first feature flick in 29 years. And it’s probably for the best that it’s animated and revisits some of their classic skits like ‘Earache My Eye, ‘Sister Mary Elephant’ and ‘Dave’s Not Here, Man’ because that shit’s still funny. Their recent concert film … was not.
► If anything, PAWN is intriguing for the fact it reunites Michael Chiklis and Forrest Whitaker for the first time since their unforgettable run on ‘The Shield.’ There’s not much else going for this thriller about a cop (Whittaker) who wanders into a hostage situation. Ray Liotta and Nikki Reed co-star.
► One of the outstanding Marvel series of the late ‘90s, Paul Jenkins & Jae Lee’s take on INHUMANS gets the animated treatment, though this is more of a motion comic (in which case … just read the comic instead, because it’s fantastic). Story follows a group of superhumans living in isolation under attack by Maximus the Mad, brother of the Inhumans’ leader Black Bolt. Class and politics come into play in the spirit of the best X-Men tales.
Also out this week:
SO WHAT DVD/BLU-RAYS ARE YOU GUYS STOKED ABOUT THIS WEEK?!