This week: A harrowing historical survival story, this year's Best Picture Oscar winner, Jack Black does Jonathan Swift, and Sofia Coppola goes nowhere fast.
The Way Back: Director Peter Weir's first film since 2003's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World stars Ed Harris and Colin Farrell and is based on the true story of seven prisoners that escape a brutal Siberian gulag in 1940 and embark on a 4500-mile trek on foot over the world's harshest landscapes to freedom. (Read the full review with extras info in Disc-y Business tomorrow.)
The King's Speech: If you're in the business of doling out Oscars (i.e. you are an Academy member), The King's Speech checks all the boxes on your list. This year's Best Picture winner stars Colin Firth as King George VI, a man with a debilitating stammer who is known simply as Bertie to his wife (Helena Bonham Carter). It's 1939 and Britain is on the verge of going to war with Germany, so Bertie seeks the help of speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) before the king must address the nation over the radio. The dramatic tension in this movie comes not from the Nazis or looming war, but rather from watching Lionel—who has the patience of a saint—endure belittling insults from the incorrigible blue blood he is trying to help. After almost two frustrating hours of this high-brow torture, you'll be ready to scream at your TV, "Just f**king choke it out and bloody get on with it already!" Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain commentary by director Tom Hooper, a making-of featurette, Q&A with the director and cast, speeches from the real King George VI and highlights of the real Lionel Logue. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Rent Me (if you love stuffy Oscar-bait period pieces)
Gulliver's Travels: This dire interpretation of Jonathan Swift's novel stars Jack Black as Lemuel Gulliver, a newspaper mail-room employee who dreams of bigger things and lands an assignment in the Bermuda Triangle. He becomes shipwrecked on the island of Liliput and is immediately identified as a "beast" by the town's tiny people. Black's performance earned him a Razzie nomination for Worst Actor in this fatally unfunny comedy. Best extras: The DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D versions each contain a gag reel, deleted scenes and several behind-the-scenes featurettes. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict: Forget Me
The latest quiet, supposedly "motion" picture by director Sofia Coppola stars Stephen Dorff as a spoiled Hollywood star enjoying all the trappings and Elle Fanning as his young daughter who is trying to make a connection. Despite the film's title, Somewhere
actually goes nowhere as we are subjected to long, inexplicable shots of Dorff driving in circles, ordering food at the Chateau Marmont, playing ping-pong, lounging by the pool and just being a bored Hollywood douche with too much time and money on his hands. Even the occasional stripper Dorff hires or groupie he sleeps with fails to inject any life into this torturous exercise in patience. Coppola is an expert at one thing—the directrix makes 98 minutes feel like 900. Best extras:
A making-of featurette. Blu-ray Bob's Verdict:
Also New This Week: Ip Man 2, Rabbit Hole, Mortal Kombat (BD), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (BD), Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure, Glee: Encore, Street Kings 2: Motor City, Born to Raise Hell, Short Circuit 2 (BD) and The Last Legion (BD)