This week: The Coen brothers muster the cast of the best Western in years, Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler go with that rom-com thing, a James Cameron-produced underwater thriller in 3D and the story of a tire that comes to life.
True Grit: This remake by the Coen brothers of the 1969 film that won John Wayne his only Oscar is superior to the original in almost every way. This time Jeff Bridges dons the eye patch and plays crusty U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, whom 14-year-old Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfeld) hires to track down Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin)—the man who killed her father for two pieces of gold. Matt Damon is also onboard as a hardened Texas Ranger also after Chaney, and all the actors—especially Oscar-nominated Bridges and Steinfeld—give outstanding performances. Steinfeld beat out over 15,000 actresses to win the role of Mattie and the young actress will be one to watch in the coming years.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain "Behind the Scenes with Mattie Ross," "Outfitting the Old West: Buckskins, Chaps and Cowboy Hats," "Re-creating Fort Smith" and "The Cast;" the BD exclusives are "Colts, Winchesters & Remingtons: The Guns of a Post-Civil War Western," "Charles Portis -- The Greatest Writer You've Never Heard Of..." and "The Cinematography of True Grit."
Verdict: Buy Me
Just Go With It: Like True Grit, this is also a remake of a 1969 film, but the similarities end there. Adam Sandler plays a plastic surgeon who drafts his assistant, Katherine (Jennifer Aniston), to play the role of his soon-to-be ex-wife in order to keep the interest of his beautiful new girlfriend. The group takes off to Hawaii on vacation with Katherine's kids in tow as part of the ruse, but none of it is remotely funny, including the lame Jewish stereotypes played for cheap laughs.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain commentaries, deleted scenes and several short making-of featurettes; the BD adds several more short making-of featurettes, including one titled "Sneaky Kiki & Bart the Water Fart," which pretty much tells you all you need to know about this class act.
Verdict: Forget Me
Sanctum: The big sell for this soggy underwater thriller is that it is "based on true events" and that producer James Cameron made sure it was "conceived and shot in 3D"—you know, just like Avatar. There are no "oohs" or "aahs" here, though—just a tedious exercise in patience as we watch master diver Frank McGuire (Richard Roxburgh) lead a team into a largely unexplored cave system. When a tropical storm cuts off their only escape root and a series of accidents starts killing off the group, Frank—along with his 17-year-old son (Rhys Wakefield)—dive into the dark labyrinth and try to find a route to the open ocean beyond. You'll end up rooting for most of the characters to drown—either by the water or in their own bad acting—and the 3D effect is largely wasted with lots of close shots of actors swimming in dimly lit pools on sets.
Best extras: The DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D contain commentaries, deleted scenes and a featurette about the real story that inspired the film; the BD adds a documentary about cave divers in Western Australia.
Verdict: Forget Me
Rubber: In one of the stranger movies to roll down the pike, Rubber follows a tire named Robert that suddenly comes to life in the desert and discovers that he has the power to explode things telepathically. Robert starts by blowing up small desert critters but soon moves on to humans and becomes a dangerous force to reckon with. This bizarre indie film by director Quentin Dupieux gets an "A" for audaciousness, but the pacing is uneven and there are too many lengthy shots of a tire coming to life in between the money shots of things exploding to keep the interest of anyone except hardcore meta-movie fans.
Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain an unusual interview with Dupieux by an inflatable sex doll whose offscreen questions (delivered in French) are completely different than the ones delivered in English subtitles on-screen.
Verdict: Rent Me
Also New This Week: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (BD), Apt Pupil (BD), Billy Madison (BD), Blue Crush (BD), Blue Crush 2 (BD), Bulletproof (BD), Cirque du Soleil: Journey of a Man (BD 3D), Hair (1979) (BD), Happy Gilmore (BD), The Company Men andSuperman: The Motion Picture Anthology (BD) (read our exclusive interview with Supermandirector Richard Donner this Thursday).