This week: Nicolas Cage makes on-screen magic, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz quickly kill theirs, and a Disney classic gets a high-def makeover.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Nicolas Cage plays Balthazar Blake, a forever fortysomething sorcerer who defends Manhattan against dark forces. He finds hidden potential in a seemingly average kid (Jay Baruchel) and gives him a crash course in magic in this engaging live-action adaptation that is loosely based on the Fantasia segment. (Read the full review with extras info in Disc-y Business tomorrow.)
Knight and Day: If you love stinky star vehicles, look no further than this ill-conceived action-comedy featuring Tom Cruise as a super spy and Cameron Diaz as the stranger who gets wrapped up in his dangerous spy games. Since Diaz happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, she is constantly drugged by Cruise, who is trying to protect her, and wakes up in a stupor in the middle of some intense action. Bullets fly and things explode around her, but Diaz treats it all like it's just one zany blind date even though her and Cruise have zero palpable chemistry. The movie has some impressive sets and special effects—car chases, skydiving, the running of the bulls in Spain—but you never once feel the two leads are in any danger because of the awkward rom-com tone that makes it play out like The Bourne Idiocy. Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain several making-of featurettes, viral videos and the "Knight and Someday" music video by the Black Eyed Peas and Cruise. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Forget Me.
Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 (Blu-ray): Disney marries classical music and animation in 1940's Fantasia and its sequel, both of which make their Blu-ray debuts in this combo pack. The original movie has the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment with Mickey Mouse, the dancing hippos in tutus, the re-interpretation of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and the dramatic "Night on Bald Mountain" segment, which closes the film. Fantasia 2000 tries to pick up where the original left off and keeps a similar tone even though the results are less impressive. Highlights include a segment with flying humpback whales and Donald Duck aboard Noah's Ark. Best extras: Several art galleries, notebooks and audio commentaries, but the real find is the Blu-ray debut of the Destino surreal animated short—a collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali—and the feature-length documentary on how the two visionaries came together. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Buy Me
Going the Distance: Real-life couple Drew Barrymore and Justin Long play a couple that get together in Manhattan just six weeks before Barrymore must return to San Francisco for school. The two try to make a go of the cross-country romance despite the protests of friends and family who, like in most rom-coms, take an overactive interest in the central characters' love lives. The difference in Going the Distance is that the humor is refreshingly R-rated instead of fluffy, the soundtrack is modern alternative rock, and Barrymore and Long are just more believable together than, say, Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz (see Knight and Day above). Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain deleted scenes; the BD adds commentary, "How to Have a Perfect Date," "A Guide to Long-Distance Dating," "The Cast of Going the Distance: Off the Cuff" and the music video "If You Run" by Boxer Rebellion. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Rent Me
Also New This Week: Kill Zone (Blu-ray), Meet the Fockers (Blu-ray), Meet the Parents (Blu-ray), Vampires Suck, The Wiz (Blu-ray), Parks and Recreation: Season Two, Space 1999: The Complete Season One (Blu-ray), Cairo Time and The Special Relationship