This week: Watch a marriage disintegrate before your eyes, two beautiful people try to have sex without messy feelings, a documentary on Justin Bieber and a Korean revenge thriller that is not for the squeamish.
Let's get this out of the way first: Blue Valentine
is not fun. This spirit-crushing romantic downer involves watching the slow decay of the marriage between Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams). The two had a brief, passionate courtship during which it was discovered that Cindy was pregnant by her previous boyfriend. Dean decides to raise the daughter as his own, and the movie cuts back and forth between their happier past and their stifling present in which they just don't connect anymore and seem exasperated by the pressures of everyday life. Michelle Williams deservedly earned an Oscar nomination for her brave role that involves graphic sex scenes and conveying an emotional rawness that elicits sympathy for her rather unlikable character. Think of Blue Valentine
as what happens after the end credits of any silly rom-com roll…and if that's something you want to wallow in for 112 minutes. Best extras:
Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a commentary track by the director and co-editor, a making-of featurette, a home movie and deleted scenes. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict:
Rent Me (if it's not a date night)
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never: This documentary about the boy wonder with the formerly ubiquitous bangs doesn't go on sale until Friday, but it's best to alert the public now about the real threat of lines of screaming girls everywhere. The film follows the pop star's meteoric rise from his early years to Internet breakout star to global phenomenon, culminating with a sold-out show in Madison Square Garden. Look for appearances by Usher Raymond, Miley Cyrus, Ludacris, Boys II Men and more. Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain several backstage featurettes, including "R.I.P. Hair Flip" in which cameras were rolling when Bieber says bye-bye to his bangs during a haircut. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Buy Me (you know who you are)
No Strings Attached:
Has anyone ever made the f**k-buddy thing work? Even if two consenting adults are on the same page, inevitably one of the people develops some of those pesky emotions in between colliding body bits and the whole arrangement falls apart. This is the flimsy premise of No Strings Attached
, which stars Natalie Portman as a gal who doesn't want a boyfriend but can't resist pretty boy Ashton Kutcher for frequent hookups. If you think this Ivan Reitman romantic comedy sidesteps the genre's trappings and rules, think again as feelings threaten to muck everything up by the end. For insight into what happens next, watch Blue Valentine
(see above). Best extras:
Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a commentary track, deleted scenes, making-of featurettes and "Alternate Storyline Scenes;" the BD adds brief interviews with the cast about dating dos and don'ts. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict:
I Saw the Devil: This unbelievably violent Korean thriller stars Min-sik Choi (Oldboy) as a psychopathic killer who carves up helpless women and Byung-hun Lee as the special agent hunting him down after Choi kills Lee's pregnant wife. What separates I Saw the Devil from the usual cat-and-mouse thriller is that Lee repeatedly tracks down Lee, beats him to within an inch of his life, and then releases him to do it over and over again. After watching Choi endure having his Achilles tendon cut and a screwdriver stabbed into his jaw—to name just a few—during the sadistic film's 141 runtime, you'll begin to wonder if it's you who is really being tortured. Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a making-of featurette and deleted scenes. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Rent Me (if you've seen or own every so-called torture porn flick like Saw and Hostel).
Also New This Week: Some Like It Hot (BD), Black Death, Something Wild (BD), The Hit List, Big Business (BD), V.I. Warshawski (BD), Another Stakeout (BD), Straight Talk (BD), Equilibrium (BD), The Marrying Man (BD) and Cougars, Inc.</