New in Home Entertainment – May 10, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

May 10, 2011

No Strings Attached
Rated R for sexual content, language and some drug material
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Films about couples that only want a physical relationship and nothing more have until lately been sentenced to straight-to-dvd or late night cable flicks with lousy actors that possess no talent other than their beautiful looks.  The last few months, however, has changed that with the Anne Hathaway/Jake Gyllenhaal dramady Love and Other Drugs and now No Strings Attached with Oscar winner Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher.  While this new film sticks to the predictable formula you’d expect, there are some bright spots.  First off, this is a sex comedy with relatively little sex.  While there are some that might think that is a bad thing, I think it helps to elevate the integrity of the film a bit.  Acting-wise, while there aren’t going to be any awards handed out from this title, Portman does a fine job and Kutcher keeps up respectably.  Unfortunately, director Ivan Reitman (Dave) creates too many sit-comish scenarios that bring the film down a notch.  That being said, I did laugh quite a few times.  So while it’s not a great achievement for the genre, it is still better than most of the rom coms hitting the scene today.  C+

Blue Valentine
Rated R for strong graphic sexual content, language, and a beating
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This polar opposite of a romantic comedy stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a couple that dramatically fall in and out of love.  While the falling in love part of the film is romantic and engaging, the falling out phase is almost unbearable to watch.  Sure it’s reality, but that’s not always a good thing when it is immensely depressing.  The performances are so good by Gosling and Williams that its hard to take your eyes off of them, but many will absolutely not appreciate the challenge this film presents.  As for the NC-17 the film originally received, I’m pretty sure that was a publicity stunt by Weinstein as there is hardly anything in the film warranting that strong of a rating.  B

Something Wild: The Criterion Collection
Rated R
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

While it didn’t break any records at the box office, this 1986 Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) comedy is quite the cult classic, and according to the interview with Demme on the disc, the movie that kept him from quitting the business.  Given creative freedom by Orion Pictures, Demme was able to create a great little comedy that starts out fun and ends up dramatic.  The story follows Jeff Daniels as he is seduced by Melanie Griffith who wants to borrow him for a while.  But then in walks her ex Ray Liotta in his film debut.  All of the performances are strong, but the film is worth seeing almost for Liotta alone.  While there are some “what were thinking” moments in the film, mostly concerning music and costume design, the movie is extremely fun to watch and impossible to predict what will happen next.  A-