The award-winning indie about an inner-city girl with more problems than anyone you know and documentarian Michael Moore’s controversial latest.
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire: If you think you’ve got problems, then you haven’t met Claireece “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), a Harlem teen with a recipe for a living hell—she’s morbidly obese, pregnant with her second child by her father (the first has Down’s Syndrome), is HIV positive, is illiterate and stuck in the ninth grade, and is constantly dodging flying objects and punches thrown by her tyrannical armchair monster of a mother, played by Oscar winner Mo’Nique.
Hope comes in the form of an offer to attend an alternative learning center where a warm-hearted teacher takes Precious under her wing. To some, this is an inspirational story about a young woman overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. To others, this movie (based on a work of fiction, not a real person) is a kind of social pornography that exploits as many horrible ethnic stereotypes as it garners awards.
Extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray include a featurette on executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, commentary by director Lee Daniels, Sidibe’s audition reading and much more.
Blu-ray Bob’s Verdict: Rent Me
Capitalism: A Love Story: No one puts hot-button issues on the big screen quite like director Michael Moore. This film—his most enjoyable ever—circles back to the underlying issue he’s been focusing on for his entire career: the devastating effects of greedy corporate dominance on the lives of average Joes. Anyone—red state or blue—will be outraged after learning about some companies’ “dead peasant” life-insurance policies where the business makes a profit on a worker’s death. Moore also includes some long-lost archival footage of President Franklin D. Roosevelt calling for a Second Bill of Rights that would guarantee all Americans “a useful job, a decent home, adequate health care and a good education.” That sounds good to us, FDR.
Extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray have more than 80 minutes of deleted scenes, extended interviews and other bonus features.
Blu-ray Bob’s Verdict: Buy Me
Up in the Air: In the hive-mind hysteria most journalists suffer from preceding the Oscars, this rom-dram starring George Clooney as man who flies around the country to fire people was touted as “the best picture of the year” but took home nada. Clooney is convincing, even though he’s acting on autopilot, as a playboy with little need for lasting human connections until he meets his female equivalent (Vera Farmiga) on a business trip. From there the movie devolves into a rote romance built around one flimsy question: Can Clooney commit? That’s hardly an ingredient for a gripping drama even though the ending isn’t the sugary syrup you might predict. Expect it to be on the fast track as an in-flight entertainment choice on an airplane near you.
Extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray include commentary by director Jason Reitman, deleted scenes and a short look at Shadowplay Studios that produced all the credits for Reitman’s films. The BD adds eight more deleted scenes, a music video, storyboards, and Clooney’s “American Airlines Prank.”
Blu-ray Bob’s Verdict: Rent Me
Also new this week: Old Dogs, Boondog Saints II: All Saints Day, Planet 51 and Ninja.