This week: Pretty aliens hide out on earth, animated garden gnomes frolic in 3D and Charlie Sheen's most "winning" role.
I Am Number Four: This teen sci-fi film based on the novel by Jobie Hughes and James Fry should have been titled I Am Number Two. The story follows John Smith (Alex Pettyfer)—one of eight aliens from the planet Lorien who is hiding out on earth and being hunted by the invading Mogadorians. Timothy Olyphant plays Henri, John's human guardian, and is easily the best addition to a cast that includes Glee's Dianna Agron as Henri's big-eyed love interest, Teresa Palmer as fellow alien Number Six and Kevin Durand as the Mogadorian commander. Pettyfer has said some nasty things to the press about everything from L.A. to his ex-girlfriend, so the public hasn't exactly been warming up to him despite his Crest smile, blond locks and tanned torso. He has little to do here except exchange lots of pretty pregnant PG-13 pauses with Agron in what amounts to Twilight with aliens. When the action does come in the third act with Loriens pitted against Mogadorians, it's too tame and too much like a video game to get anyone excited about continuing this series, which was the initial plan. Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain "Becoming Number Six" and bloopers; the BD adds six deleted scenes. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Forget Me
Gnomeo & Juliet:
If you have a wee one—a really wee wee one—in the house, this G-rated animated film by the director of Shrek 2
about the secret world of garden gnomes is worth a look. Featuring music by Elton John and the voices of Emily Blunt, James McAvoy and Michael Caine, the story follows couple Gnomeo and Juliet as they get caught up in a feud with their gnome-y neighbors. Lawnmower races and random wackiness involving pink flamingos ensues, which can all be seen on Blu-ray 3D if you prefer. Best extras:
The DVD and Blu-ray versions contain "Elton Builds a Garden," "Frog Talk with Ashley Jensen" and the "Crocodile Rock" music video; the BD adds two alternate endings, six deleted scenes, two alternate scenes and "The Fawn of Darkness." Blu-ray Bob's Verdict:
Rent Me (if you have some gnome-sized young people living in your house).
Charlie Sheen was already "winning" way back in 1986 as young soldier Chris Taylor in Oliver Stone's Platoon
, which is based on the director's own experiences during the Vietnam War. The disturbingly realistic portrayal of a platoon fighting off deadly Viet Cong ambushes as it deals with its own internal tensions features outstanding performances by all involved, including Willem Dafoe, Tom Berenger, Kevin Dillon and a young Johnny Depp as a translator. On Blu-ray, the bright greens of the tropical plants and the detail that brings out the beads of sweat on the soldiers' faces immerses you in the action of this Best Picture Oscar winner like never before. Best extras:
Two feature commentaries by Stone and military adviser Dale Dye, deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary by Stone, two documentaries, three vignettes, and three "Flashback to Platoon
" behind-the-scenes featurettes: "Snapshot in Time: 1967-1968," "Creating the 'Nam" and "Raw Wounds: The Legacy of Platoon
." Blu-ray Bob's Verdict:
Also New This Week: Gettysburg: Director's Cut (BD), Tigerland (BD), Lemonade Mouth, Grand Prix (BD), The Royal Wedding: William & Catherine, Solaris: The Criterion Collection, Le Mans, Papillon (BD), The Big Bang, Burning Palms and Gods and Generals: Extended Director's Cut (BD)