This week: Johnny Depp gets animated, a genuinely frightening ghost story, Matthew McConaughey's return to acting in clothes and an unnecessary remake of a classic comedy.
Rango: Here is a gorgeously animated film that adults will appreciate more than wee ones because of some clever pop-culture references and more complex dialogue than the average Pixar flick. Johnny Depp voices the titular character—an accidentally freed pet chameleon now alone in the desert—who stumbles upon the dusty desert town of Dirt and inadvertently becomes the hero the colorful townspeople desperately need. This is director Gore Verbinski's first attempt at a feature-length animated movie and the way he sidesteps the tried-and-true Pixar formula is exhilarating.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain deleted scenes, "Real Creatures of Dirt" and an audio commentary on the extended version of the film; the BD adds a storyboard reel (theatrical version only), "Breaking the Rules: Making Animation History" and an interactive map of Dirt.
Verdict: Buy Me
Insidious: When is the last time a horror film really made you want to jump out of your skin? This modern, darker, nastier version of Poltergeist helmed by Saw director James Wan was a surprise hit in theaters and is truly the stuff of nightmares, so don't let its PG-13 rating fool you. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne star as a married couple who suspects that their new house is haunted when their eldest son, Dalton (Ty Simpkins), falls into a mysterious coma after a series of strange occurrences like bloody handprints left on sheets and demonic whispering on baby monitors. The family moves and calls upon the help of Barbara Hershey and her psychic friend (Lin Shaye), but ghosts keep popping up in the corner of rooms and things really go bump in the night when the couple discovers it is Dalton—not their house—that is haunted.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray "Horror 101: The Exclusive Seminar," "On Set with Insidious" and "Insidious Entities."
Verdict: Buy Me
The Lincoln Lawyer: It's been a long time since Matthew McConaughey wowed us with his acting instead of his tanned torso, but the actor is back on the top of his game in this taut legal thriller in which he plays cocky L.A. criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller. Mickey kicks around in a Lincoln Town Car driven by a former client and plays the justice system like a game of cards, but he gets in over his head when he takes on a manipulative Beverly Hills playboy (Ryan Phillippe) as a client. Soon Mickey's ex-wife (Marisa Tomei) and daughter are put in danger and the defense attorney must question his career choices and everything he stands for in this twisty story that will keep you guessing how it will all play out until the end credits.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain "Making the Case: Creating The Lincoln Lawyer," a featurette on the movie's L.A. locations with author Michael Connelly, "One on One with McConaughey and Connelly," and deleted scenes.
Verdict: Rent Me
Arthur: There wasn't any compelling reason to remake the Dudley Moore classic about a wealthy alcoholic playboy forced to choose between an inheritance and true love, but someone made the surely drunken decision to cast big-toothed Russell Brand as Arthur and sell the boozy adult affair to the underage PG-13 crowd. Arthur is being forced to marry an icy socialite (Jennifer Garner) but instead falls in love with a sweet tour guide (Greta Gerwig). What follows is a pretty rote romantic comedy that is neither nauseating nor intoxicating—it just kind of fizzles out and leaves you with a mild hangover.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain additional footage, a gag reel and "Arthur Unsupervised"—a look at the improvisational nature of the production.
Verdict: Forget Me
Also New This Week: Brazil (BD), Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season, Damnation Alley (BD), Battle Beyond the Stars (BD), Damages: The Complete Third Season, Robot Chicken: Star Wars III and Buster Keaton: Short Films Collection—1920-1923.