New on DVD

New on DVD

The Book of Eli
Rated R for some brutal violence and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Denzel Washington stars in this post-apocalyptic thriller about a man on a mission from God traveling west through America after civilization is destroyed, only to be hunted down by Gary Oldman for the book he is carrying with him.  I missed this one in theaters and wasn’t too keen on catching the Blu-ray release either, but figured there were far worse things to watch.  Little did I know that this critically-panned film is actually a pretty darn good movie that is hard to take your eyes off.  Washington is terrific in the butt-kicking journeyman role and once again Oldman pulls off a fabulous villain.  What really wins here though is the story and the message, and while I don’t want to spoil anything, I feel that if I don’t say that this movie is ultimately about the power of The Bible, the right audience might not give it a try.  That audience will probably have some difficulties with the extreme amounts of violence, but I’ve never seen a more convincing argument that the Good Book is the most critical weapon one can possess.  Just like many of the other Warner Brothers titles, the Maximum Movie Mode provides for the ultimate film school experience with picture-in-picture director and crew interviews and storyboard comparisons put right in during the film.  A-

The Last Station
Rated R for a scene of sexuality/nudity
Available on DVD/Blu-ray

The story of Leo Tolstoy and his wife (portrayed by 2009 Oscar nominees Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren) is played forth in this heartbreaking drama about the famous author and his desire to leave his fortunes to the Russian people while his wife tries to do everything possible to keep this from happening.  The cast is as solid as you can get with Paul Giamatti and James McAvoy along for the ride.  The surprise for me was that there was a bit more sense of humor, in the beginning at least, than I expected.  I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not, but I feel like I know the life of Leo Tolstoy a lot better now; what I’m not certain of is how interested I am in it.  It’s a very well-made film, but for me it just wasn’t a very engaging one.  C+

Hung: The Complete First Season
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

In HBO’s breakout freshman comedy, Tom Jane is a down-on-his-luck high school coach who needs to find extra work in order to support his teenage son and daughter.  The only career he thinks he is suitable for, besides coaching, is becoming a male prostitute due to the fact that he is so, well, the title of the show kind of says it.  I’ve always thought that Tom Jane could have been an A-lister were it not for his unfortunate choice in name (he was actually born Thomas Elliott).  His comic abilities in this series are showing what he is capable of and this has quickly become one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  It’s funny, moving, weird, sexy, and very entertaining.  B+

She’s Out of My League
Rated R for language and sexual content
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Jay Baruchel (How to Train Your Dragon) is just your average lovable loser until he somehow impresses a beautiful woman at the airport to the point where she wants to date him.  From the trailers this looks like an unbelievable tale dreamed up by someone that looks like Jay Baruchel.  Once inside the movie, you find a sweet interior that helps you understand how something like this could and actually does happen.  The pic is really raunchy, just like you would expect in an r-rated comedy, and there are some gags that will have you in absolute stitches.  There are also a few two-dimensional characters that are as badly acted as they are written,  so the film is far from perfect.  But if you need a laugh, you’ll get your money’s worth.  B

Entourage: The Complete Sixth Season
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

In this latest season of HBO’s hit show about celebrity and friendship, Vince  is finally on top again as he stars in the newest Martin Scorsese film while his crew are all trying to make it doing their own thing.  While the group are still friends, they are getting to be less and less of an “entourage.”  Still, their antics are fun to watch and if Johnny Drama making an idiot of himself doesn’t make you laugh, not much will.  One mistake they made this season was taking the Ari Gold/Andrew Klein relationship a lot too far as Ari tries desperately to both save his friend’s marriage and be as mean to his assistant Lloyd at the same time.  These story lines just didn’t take hold like they should have and made Ari seem like a bad business man rather than the shark he is.  The writers might have been trying to make him look human, but frankly, I like the shark.  C+

Green Zone
Rated R for violence and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy) re-team in this fictionalization of events that took place during the war in Iraq where Damon is a rogue U.S. Army officer who is trying to hunt down either WMDs or proof that they don’t exist.  There is some good food for thought and the action is pretty solid throughout, but for the first half Damon is just a little too redundant as he repeatedly asks about the WMDs over and over and over again like a broken record.  Once he gets it that there aren’t any, the film starts moving in the right direction and turns into a decent enough thriller.  Some might think it’s closer to fact than fiction.  I can’t say.  I can say it will start discussions no matter which side of the argument you may stand on, but if you lean too far right, you may want to skip it entirely.  If you check out the special features you’ll learn that the soldiers working with Damon in the film are actual veteran soldiers and not trained actors.  In order to get the realism they needed, they hired the real thing and they did an impressive job.  B