This week brings the underrated sci-fi thriller Pandorum
and the kick-ass action flick Gamer
Gamer: This futuristic, action-packed thrill ride starring King of Sparta Gerard Butler came and went at the theaters without much notice, but Blu-ray Bob is not sure why. This fanboy feast sees a future where people get to control incarcerated criminals—“Slayers”—in real-life combat situations like they would playing Doom or some other first-person-shooter game. Dexter’s Michael C. Hall plays the Bill Gates-like inventor who has more ambitious and evil plans than just playing puppeteer to Butler, the top Slayer who is hell-bent on ending Hall’s twisted game. The DVD has some behind-the-scenes bonus features, but the Blu-ray busts out with those and “Cheat Codes” (a user-prompted commentary track), “iCon Mode” (a more interactive picture-in-picture commentary) and much more.
Pandorum: Astronaut Dennis Quaid awakens from an extended hyper sleep into a nightmare as hibernation sickness impairs his ability to remember his mission and what happened to the rest of the crew. He soon discovers that what is left of humanity is aboard a giant space ark en route to the nearest habitable planet, but something has gone horribly wrong aboard the ship as packs of mutant creatures pick off humans in the murky halls. Part Sunshine and The Descent, Pandorum doesn’t offer much in terms of original storytelling, but this tense little sci-fi thriller still gets under the skin. Although available on both DVD and Blu-ray with identical bonus material like deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes, the movie is so muddy and dark that you’ll need the BD version to see as much detail as possible.
Whiteout: Kate Beckinsale plays the only law enforcement at an Antarctica base sent to investigate the continent’s first homicide in this tedious thriller that should remain on ice. Included on both the DVD and Blu-ray is a featurette tracing the page-to-screen evolution from the superior graphic novel by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber.
The Invention of Lying: Directors Ricky Gervais and Matt Robinson present this derivative comedy that takes place in an alternate universe in which lying—even the concept of a lie—does not exist. Think Liar Liar but with Jennifer Garner instead of Jennifer Tilly. Supplements on both the DVD and Blu-ray include “More Laughter: Corpsing and Outtakes,” “Prequel: The Dawn of Lying” and “A Truly ‘Honest’ Making-of Featurette with Ricky Gervais.”
Weeds: Season Five: Hemptress Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) returns in this smokin’ Showtime series about a widow who gets into the marijuana biz to support her and her two sons. Nancy has moved her mom-and-pot business south of the border and gotten pregnant by the corrupt and dangerous mayor of Tijuana while her eldest son tries to start up a legal pot shop in a seaside California town. Extras on both the DVD and Blu-ray versions include the timeline “History of Weed,” “Really Backstage with Kevin Nealon,” a compilation of the shows’ memorable title sequences, “Yes We Cannabis” and more.
Also new this week: According to Greta, Che, Smokin’ Aces (BD), Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball, and the three Bourne movies on flipper discs (DVD on one side, BD on the other).