New on DVD

New on DVD

The Wrestler
Rated R for violence, sexuality/nudity, language and some drug use
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Mickey Rourke is Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a professional wrestler who was once on top of the world, but is now down and out and barely scraping by.  He lives in a beat up old trailer home that he can’t afford, has a daughter that hates him, and to make matters worse – has a serious heart condition.  How director Darren Aronofsky turned those depressing story elements into a work of inspirational art is a testament to his talent as a director, as well as the abilities of his three main stars: Rourke, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood.  There is so much more than 80’s metal, steroids, strippers, and wrestling in this film.  It’s about hope and love and loneliness and a man’s journey to redeem himself and live in glory again.  The special features include a great making-of doc as well as a round-table with several ex-wrestlers discussing the film, their lives, and the similarities between the two.  Missing is a director’s commentary.  I would have really enjoyed that with this film.  A

Nothing but the Truth
Rated R for language, some sexual material, and a scene of violence
Available on DVD

Writer/director Rod Lurie (The Contender) brings us this political drama about a reporter that outs a CIA agent and refuses to reveal her source, even though it may take her to prison.  The cast, including Kate Beckinsale, David Schwimmer, Matt Dillon, Alan Alda, and Vera Farmiga, is top notch and each turns in great performances.  It feels a little movie-of-the-week at times, which is probably why it didn’t see much of theatrical release.  It should do much better on DVD and cable though.  B

The Uninvited
Rated PG-13 for violent and disturbing images, thematic material, sexual content, language and teen drinking
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

After losing her dying mother in a fire, a disturbed young girl is put away in a mental hospital for attempting suicide.  Upon release, she goes home to her sister, father and her father’s new girlfriend who used to be her mother’s nurse.  Convinced that the girlfriend started the fire to get to her father, she sets out to prove her guilt.  Along the way she starts to see scary images of murdered children telling her to watch out.  I have to say that this film is more silly than scary, until you get to the ending.  There is a nice twist that I didn’t see coming that might make a second viewing more interesting (not that I’m in a hurry to watch it again).  C+

Notorious
Rated R for pervasive language, some strong sexuality including dialogue, nudity, and for drug content
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Notorious follows the life of Christopher “Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace, from his drug-dealing days on the streets of New York, to his super stardom in the hip hop world, to his death at the young age of 24.  The film plays like a reenactment of pop-culture history with huge production values.  First-time actor Jamal Woolard is phenomenal as B.I.G., bringing both empathy and disappointment upon a character I knew very little about till now.  The film could have shown how great the life was, but instead it showed how great it could have been – a message that I’m sure he wish he had gotten earlier.  B+

Sin City
Rated R for sustained strong stylized violence, nudity and sexual content including dialogue
Available on Blu-ray

This series of uber-violent vignettes from Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller finally gets the Blu-ray treatment with this two-disc set that includes both the theatrical and recut, extended, unrated version.  Of course the films look terrific in HD, but it’s the special features I love the most in this set.  Check out the ten-minute-long green screen version of the film as well as Robert’s cooking school where he teaches you how to make an amazingly tasty-looking breakfast taco from scratch.  A-

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