The Great Gatsby - Warner Bros. - Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan,Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton. Full cast + crew
The Great Gatsby is a lavish, incredible production -- the kind that hits such highs that it's worth recommending on that front alone. The visual effects are some of the most impressive of the summer and far more seamless and extensive than you'd expect for what should be a simple story about life and love and loss in the roaring '20s. Of course, that's to be expected from Baz Luhrmann, so if you're a big fan of the likes of Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet, you're going to be a fan of this, guaranteed.
It's also worth noting that this is one of the best-looking Blu-rays of the year (so far, at least).
Special Features: Nearly two hours of featurettes, the longest and most worthwhile being "Gatsby Revealed" (30 minutes), which focuses on five of the film's most complex segments. There are a few historical pieces focusing on the "Jazz Age" (16 minutes) and the "Fashion of the '20s" (16 minutes). There are also three deleted scenes and an alternate ending.
Pain & Gain - Paramount - Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD
Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie,Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris. Full cast + crew
No matter how crazy and indulgent and absurdly macho you think Pain & Gain is going to be, it will exceed expectations. It's a little too long, as is often the case with Michael Bay movies, but it's also a surprisingly smart and deft dark comedy about the American Dream. It's not the masterpiece that American Psycho is, but it is to the '90s as American Psycho is the '80s. It feels like living inside Michael Bay's head, and that is one strange, oily, muscly place to spend 129 minutes.
Special Features: Nothing, unfortunately.
Other Notable New Releases
The Norwegian Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, Kon-Tiki tells the true story of an explorer in 1947 who set out to prove that the Polynesian islands were colonized by South Americans by floating a raft 4,300 miles across the Pacific. It's an elaborate, well-made production, but it's also strangely distancing despite the fascinating subject matter. And speaking of Oscars, The Painting should have been nominated for Best Animated Film, but sadly this inventive film about the lives of characters who live inside an incomplete painting was robbed. It's a highly original film with a unique style, and anyone who appreciates the animated medium should check it out.
Rounding out the noteworthy foreign films of the week is A Company Man, a new Korean thriller about an assassin who wants to quit the game but can't. And capping off the dramas is At Any Price, a drama about small business and family life in the Midwest starring Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron. And if you want something that isn't quite as serious, you may want to check out Among Friends, the directorial debut of scream queen Danielle Harris. It's about a group of friends going to a murder mystery party where the murder gets pretty real pretty quick.