Woody Harrelson tackles his most dramatic role in years while Morgan Freeman embodies Nelson Mandela.
The Messenger: Ben Foster plays an emotionally detached Army officer who just returned home from a brutal tour of Iraq and is assigned to the Casualty Notification service. He is partnered with a hardnosed officer played by Woody Harrelson who disapproves of Foster’s growing personal interest in the next of kin, particularly one widow (Jena Malone). This is a more gripping war movie than the one with bomb squads that snagged the Best Picture Oscar. Extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain cast/crew commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, Q&A with the cast and crew, and a documentary about the notification process. Blu-ray Bob’s Verdict: Rent Me
Invictus: Clint Eastwood directs this inspirational true story about how Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) joined forces with rugby team captain François Pienaar (Matt Damon) to help unite a divided South Africa. Based on the book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation by John Carlin, the movie earned Oscar nominations for both Freeman and Damon. Extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray feature Damon playing rugby and the Invictus music trailer; the BD adds picture-in-picture commentary with the cast/crew and the real people who lived the story, “Mandela Meets Morgan” and documentary excerpts of “The Eastwood Factor.” Blu-ray Bob’s Verdict: Rent Me
Extraordinary Measures: Brendan Fraser plays John Crowley, a father with two very ill children who teams up with an unconventional scientist (Harrison Ford) who might have a cure for the children’s rare disease. Sound fun? Just because this sullen story tries to pull on the heartstrings by being based on true events doesn’t qualify it as "entertainment." Extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain “Meet John Crowley” and “Extraordinary Measures: The Power to Overcome.” Blu-ray Bob’s Verdict: Forget Me (and schedule that root canal you’ve been putting off)
Valentine’s Day: Director Garry Marshall follows the intertwining storylines of an all-star ensemble (including Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Kathy Bates, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, George Lopez, Queen Latifah, Shirley MacLaine and Julia Roberts) as they find romance on February 14. Extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray have 14 deleted scenes; the BD adds “The Stars Confess Their Valentine’s Day Stories,” a gag reel, “The Garry Factor” and a music video by Jewel. Blu-ray Bob’s Verdict: Buy Me (if you’re addicted to saccharine or already have your outfit planned for Sex and the City 2), Forget Me (if you’re anyone else)
Carlito’s Way (Blu-ray): In Brian De Palma’s tense crime drama, Al Pacino plays a Puerto Rican ex-con trying to stay away from drugs and violence who keeps getting pulled into dangerous situations by his crooked lawyer (Sean Penn). It’s not Scarface, but fans will want to take home that movie’s little friend in high definition. Extras: Deleted scenes, a making-of featurette and “Brian De Palma on Carlito’s Way. Blu-ray Bob’s Verdict: Buy Me
Also New This Week:
The Spy Next Door, When You’re Strange, the Johnny Depp-narrated docu about The Doors