This week: James Franco
and Anne Hathaway
prove they are better actors than Oscar hosts in their respective movies, plus Cher's return to the screen and a "Rock"-solid Dwayne Johnson action picture.
127 Hours: James Franco stars as real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston, who became trapped by a boulder in Robbers Roost, Utah for more than five days in 2003 before being forced to cut off part of his arm with a dull knife to free himself. Director Danny Boyle takes you to the bottom of the ravine with Franco as he struggles to conserve water and hallucinates about loved ones far away and future possibilities that may never come. Facing his mortality, he comes to the conclusion that the boulder has been "waiting for him" his entire life and vows to overcome it. Forget about Franco's out-of-it performance as an Oscar host—he'll make you feel every minute of Ralston's 127 hours. Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a commentary track and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray adds several exclusives, including a featurette on the events that led to the rescue of Ralston, "127 Hours: An Extraordinary View" and the short film God of Love by Luke Matheny. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Buy Me
Love and Other Drugs: This critically acclaimed romantic drama stars Jake Gyllenhaal as playboy pharmaceutical rep Jamie Randall, who peddles Viagra by day and smooth-talks the ladies at night. His attitude changes when he meets Maggie Murdock (Anne Hathaway), a free-spirited young woman who doesn't let her early onset of Parkinson's disease stop her from living or loving. The two start to realize that love is the ultimate high, but can it last? Both leads turn in bold performances that require plenty of skin-showing and sexual frankness, but the story is basically just a dressed-up version of the typical rom-dram: boy meets girl and has sex, sex turns into love, the two become separated, boy makes grand gesture to win her heart, roll credits. Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain extended deleted scenes and several behind-the-scenes featurettes. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Rent Me
Christina Aguilera stars as Ali, an Iowa girl who moves to Los Angeles with—what else?—glittery dreams in her head. She comes across a nightclub called Burlesque owned by Tess (Cher) that is in dire need of a star in this movie that is more like a protracted musical number. While it is great to see Cher back on-screen and her two musical numbers provide the best moments in the film, Aguilera's mouth-birthing and vowel-stretching in every song is an acquired taste that is not for tender ears. Both men and women walk around in this movie with so much caked-on makeup that you won't know whether to exfoliate or open a bakery by the end credits. It would all be funny in a Showgirls
way if it had the audacity to embrace the latter film's trashiness or if anyone were in on the joke. Best extras:
Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a commentary, an alternate opening, alternate full musical numbers and a blooper reel; the BD adds several making-of featurettes. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict:
Rent Me (if you have every Aguilera and Cher song on your iPod), Forget Me (if you're allergic to sequins and razzmatazz).
Faster: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is a brick house built for modern action films, so it's great to see him back in his comfort zone after recent forays into kiddie films (Race to Witch Mountain, The Game Plan). Johnson plays an incarcerated bank robber who is released from jail and systematically hunts down the people responsible for double-crossing him and killing his brother. Faster doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it has enough clever double-take moments that genre fans won't be disappointed. Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain an alternate ending and deleted scenes; the BD adds interviews with the cast, "Weapons and Wheels: The Guns, Cars and Stunts of Faster" and "Animatics." Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Rent Me
Also New This Week: Bambi
(BD), The Cable Guy
(BD), Out of Sight
(BD), Sidney Sheldon's If Tomorrow Comes, Michael Jordan to the Max
(BD), Daughters of Darkness
(BD) and Harry Connick: In Concert on Broadway