DVD Releases for February 17, 2009

DVD Releases for February 17, 2009

Body of Lies
Rated R for strong violence including torture, and for language throughout
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe team up in this Ridley Scott film about the CIA fighting terrorism in the Middle East.  The acting, directing, and production are remarkable, but due to a less than compelling story, the film was a box office dud.  I do think that this film deserves a look and might find a better home on DVD and cable. As usual with Ridley Scott films, there are tons of extras to be found giving the buyer more than their money’s worth.  B+

Changeling
Rated R for some violent and disturbing content, and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Oscar nominated Angelina Jolie is a mother in 1920’s Los Angeles whose only son is kidnapped, and then replaced by a different child by the L.A.P.D.  Clint Eastwood directs this chilling drama that took me by surprise.  The acting, writing, directing and overall production make Changeling one of this year’s must-see films.  I will even go as far as to say it is Clint’s best film since The Unforgiven A

Capote/In Cold Blood Double Feature
Both Rated R for violent images and strong language
Available on Blu-ray

This week Sony is releasing a few pics from their Oscar collection on Blu-ray including Gandhi, Kramer vs. Kramer, and Capote/In Cold Blood, but I consider the latter to be the best of the bunch.  In Cold Blood tells the story of two thugs that murder an innocent family in Kansas in the 60s, while Capote follows author Truman Capote as he writes the book In Cold Blood, based on the murders.  Aside from the out-of-place score by Quincy Jones, In Cold Blood is a terrific crime thriller that looks so crisp on Blu-ray that you think you are watching a black-and-white film that was made yesterday.  The two films together make for a whammy of a double feature.  In Cold Blood A-; Capote A

I Served the King of England
Rated R for sexual content and nudity
Available on DVD

The Czech entry for Best Foreign Language Film follows an ambitious waiter that longs to be a millionaire and will do anything to achieve that goal.  I’m a little mixed on this film.  The first half plays like a Woody Allen sex comedy, but then come the Nazis to lessen the funny.  At the very least, this is an entertaining, weird little film that keeps you engaged throughout.  B-

Touch the Top of the World
Unrated – made for television
Available on DVD

The tale of Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind man to have climbed to the top of Mount Everest, is one of the most compelling stories of our decade.  Therefore it’s too bad that the movie based on his life is this cheesy mess filled with bad acting, writing, and directing.  D

Quarantine
Rated R for bloody violent and disturbing content, terror and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This documentary-style horror film tells the story of a group of people quarantined into an apartment building by the CDC when a virus erupts that turns humans into rabid, deadly creatures. Compared to most of the horror films of late, this one is actually pretty effective and not overly implausible.  There were many moments when I was actually scared.  So enter at your own risk.  B-

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