This week: Bradley Cooper just says yes to drugs, an '80s-style comedy, a dysfunctional family dramedy and an Aussie aquatic thriller.
Limitless: Imagine if you were offered a new smart drug that enables you to use 100 percent of your brain at once? This is what happens to Eddie Mora (Bradley Cooper), who transforms from a disheveled, unproductive New York City writer into a wealthy Wall Street playboy almost overnight thanks to a drug called NZT-48. Soon he is employed by a powerful businessman (Robert De Niro) and Eddie's ex-girlfriend (Abbie Cornish) has taken interest again, but every drug has its side effects. Eddie discovers that NZT has potentially lethal ones and that some Russian mobsters will kill him for more pills in this cracked-out, exciting thriller that develops into another hell of a hangover for Cooper.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain an unrated, extended cut of the movie plus a director's commentary, the featurettes "A Man Without Limits" and "Taking It to the Limit: The Making of Limitless," and an alternate ending.
Verdict: Rent Me
Take Me Home Tonight: This reported pet project by star Topher Grace is supposed to be an homage to John Hughes's coming-of-age comedies of the '80s like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. Grace plays Matt Franklin, an MIT graduate who has come back home for the summer only to work at Suncoast Video and pine away for the girl (Teresa Palmer) he never asked out in high school. He decides to make his move at a big party, but things go from rad to gnarly fast. The biggest problem here is that the filmmakers imagine all of the '80s took place at once—from 1984's breakout of break-dancing to early '80s new wave to late '80s hair metal—so the setting seems as artificial as the forced romance between the leads. What's worse is that a fantastically funny actress like Anna Faris is wasted here in a background role as Eddie's sister when she should be totally front and center.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain deleted scenes, "Cast Get Together," "Music Boombox" and a music video of the cast partying on the set.
Verdict: Like, Forget Me. Totally.
Peep World: Four siblings (Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman, Ben Schwartz and Rainn Wilson) come together at a restaurant to celebrate their father's (Ron Rifkin) 70th birthday following the publication of Nathan's (Schwartz) book debut—a best-selling novel that exposes the family's secrets. In it he reveals the oldest, responsible son (Hall) as a porn addict and the daughter (Silverman) as a nutty drama queen, so everything is on the table at dad's dinner. Although there are a few light laughs (mostly from Silverman) to be had and it's good to see Hall play someone other than Dexter the Showtime serial killer, this comedy is utterly flaccid despite the desperate running joke of Nathan's bad reaction to erectile-dysfunction medication.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain deleted scenes.
Verdict: Forget Me
The Reef: If you liked Open Water—the tense low-budget thriller about a couple stranded at sea with sharks closing in—or just can't wait to take a bite out of "Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel, then you might want to take this Australian thriller for a quick swim. Based on a true story, the film follows a group of friends whose boat capsizes while sailing to Indonesia. Most of them decide to attempt a 12-mile swim to a small island and take their chances in the open ocean, but what they don't know is that a great white shark is following their scent. The fishy effects are decidedly low budget—think stock footage—and there is more treading water than actual chomping, but there are some tense moments as the group dwindles on their journey to dry land.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a making-of featurette.
Verdict: Rent Me
Also New This Week: Amélie (BD), Boyz N the Hood (BD), Bridget Jones's Diary (BD), Chocolat (BD), Doctor Who: Season Six, Part 1, Tekken, Nowhere to Run (BD), The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, House of the Rising Sun and Potiche