This week: A knockout boxing drama, Clint Eastwood's eerie afterlife opus, Jennifer Aniston's frantic pregnancy farce and the Syfy Channel's latest mutant-ocean-monster fiasco.
The Fighter: Christian Bale and Melissa Leo both took home Oscars for their supporting roles in David O. Russell's movie based on real-life boxing legend Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg). The movie is more a dysfunctional family drama than something like Rocky or Raging Bull, but everyone in The Fighter goes the full ten rounds in terms of acting. (Read the full review with extras info in Disc-y Business tomorrow.)
Hereafter: What terrible timing for the release of Clint Eastwood's drama about three interwoven stories of people grappling with death, including a French reporter (Cécile De France) who nearly drowns during a tsunami. That opening tsunami sequence—the best part of the movie—is frighteningly realistic and has understandably gotten the film pulled from theaters in Japan (where it opened last month) after Friday's catastrophe. The other two storylines include Matt Damon as a world-renowned psychic who can genuinely commune with the dead but who now tries to hide his talent, and a young boy in England who searches for a real psychic after his twin brother is run over by a car and killed. This slow-moving, ponderous drama explores the 80-year-old director's quest for spirituality and "what happens next," but viewers must decide if now is a good time to cross over into the light with Eastwood and company. Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain three focus points; the BD adds three more focus points and "The Eastwood Factor." Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Rent Me
The Switch: You decide if art is imitating life in this unbearable romantic comedy about—who else?—Jennifer Aniston as she desperately tries to get pregnant. Her best friend, played by a bored-looking Jason Bateman, is secretly in love with her and drunkenly decides to switch a potential donor's sperm with his own at Aniston's "I'm Getting Pregnant" party during which guys leave seed samples in the back bathroom. Years later, Bateman remembers what he did and the great rom-com machine kicks in as he confronts the issue with Aniston and their son (Thomas Robinson). If your idea of fun is watching 42-year-old Aniston scramble around for sperm with the singular purpose of fertilizing herself, you need to cancel your subscription to Us Weekly—now. Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain deleted scenes and "The Switch Conceived;" the BD adds more deleted scenes, an alternate ending and bloopers. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Forget, nay, Abort Me
Something scary is happening over at the Syfy network when it gets Roger Corman to cook up various oceanic creature features with laughably terrible effects starring faded '80s pop icons and other stars who have seen better days. This time we have Eric Roberts as the head of the government's sharktopus project (the front part of the creature is a shark and the back is all tentacles for those taking notes). When the electronic mechanism keeping the creature under control fails, sharktopus heads to Puerto Vallarta to dine on spring breakers as Roberts tries to capture his pet project and a separate team tries to kill it. The effects—probably made by interns on a low-grade Mac—are howl-inducing wonders, like when sharktopus leaps out of the water to pick off a bridge bungee jumper. It's hard to "recommend" a movie like this to the casual viewer, but schlock connoisseurs will want to dive in. Best extras:
Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain commentary by Roger and Julie Corman. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict:
Also New This Week: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (BD), Blood (2009), A Shine of Rainbows, Yi Yi (BD), Battle of the Warriors and BMX Bandits (BD)