The big news this week is that Avatar finally lands on Blu-Ray, not in the rumored 3D presentation but as an ol’ fashioned flat film. If you’ve had all the blue people you can take, there are other options, and I’ll lay them all out for you in this week’s new releases on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Avatar – Oh, come on. You know what this is. James Cameron‘s most expensive, highest-grossing movie of all time, a computer-generated environmental parable about a bunch of overgrown Smurfs protecting their neural network from rapacious humans. For all the corniness of the story, this movie is a great ride, and will probably do more to push film forward in the next few years than anything else. However, this is the bare-bones DVD – just the movie and that’s all. Apparently a “special edition” is set to hit in November with 20+ minutes of extra footage and special features, so if you can wait, that might be a better buy. But who knows? The world could end tomorrow.
The Lovely Bones – Peter Jackson de-hobbits with this adaptation of an Alice Sebold novel about a young girl who is murdered and observes her loved ones cope with her death. Full of the trademark Jackson visual innovation, what really works about this film is the great, nuanced acting from Saoirse Ronan, Stanley Tucci and Rachel Weisz especially. It’s a strange side trip for the director, but one that’s well worth taking.
44 Inch Chest – This British oddity is worth a watch for tough guy fans – a group of middle-aged buddies kidnap the lover of one of their wives and torture him in a bizarre bid for reclaimed masculinity. Some great performances by some of England’s best – Ray Winstone! Ian McShane! make this a great watch for fans of scenery-chewing.
Crazy Heart – Jeff Bridges‘ cowboy swan song cleaned up at the Oscars, and for good reason – it’s a fantastic portrait of a man run down by his love for music. As Bad Blake, Bridges turns in the performance of a lifetime as a country music star who literally has nowhere left to go but the road, and even the normally odious Maggie Gyllenhaal can’t ruin this one. Very much worth seeing.