Tasty treats are in store for us this week at the video counter, where you’ll find an action-packed Western (3:10 to Yuma), a 2007 space odyssey (Sunshine), new stoner laughs (Smiley Face), a creature feature (Dragon Wars), and a quirky rom-com (Eagle vs. Shark). Dig in!
The last time we saw Christian Bale playing cowboy, he was singing and dancing his way through turn-of-the-century New York selling newspapers. (Raise your hand if you’re obsessed with Newsies!) Not so in James Mangold‘s heady remake of the 1957 classic Western, which pits the intense Welsh actor against Aussie thesp Russell Crowe — a foreign-born pair who scratch out grimy, pitch-perfect performances in the most American of genres. The action-packed tale of a poor farmer (Bale) who volunteers to escort a deadly criminal (Crowe) to the titular prison-bound locomotive, 3:10 to Yuma comes to DVD with a passel of deleted scenes, director commentary, and featurettes that discuss the well-traveled ground of the film Western.
As he demonstrated with 28 Days Later, Danny Boyle can craft tense atmospherics, and for some audiences, movies don’t get any tenser than those set in deep space. At long last, his science fiction thriller Sunshine is out on DVD, rife with genuinely stunning visuals and surprisingly believable “movie science” (save a contestable last-act turn of events). At once action thriller and psychological exploration, Boyle’s tale of a crew of scientists trying to reignite the sun to save Earth is a good bet for viewers who love spaceship drama, eye-popping images, and Cillian Murphy. Loads of bonus materials comprise the release, but for those lucky PS3 owners, watch the Blu-Ray version. As IGN DVD editor Christopher Monfette tells us, “It’ll destroy your retinas.”
If, like us, you long for the days of stoner comedies like Half Baked and the entire Cheech & Chong oeuvre, you might enjoy this day-in-the-life adventure starring a bunch of young Hollywood actors. As Jane, an out-of-work actress who accidentally on purpose eats an entire tray full of pot cupcakes, Anna Faris hazily stumbles her way across Los Angeles in an effort to make some money, buy more weed, replace the cupcakes, save an original manuscript of the Communist Manifesto, and other stuff we can’t exactly recall, all while riding the biggest high in film history. Bravo, Gregg Araki. You’ve done it this time!
The Host this ain’t; Korea’s second greatest monster movie in recent history is a bit of a far cry from…well, a good movie, according to most critics, but is perhaps a must-see for those to whom the terms “guilty pleasure” and “so bad it’s good” carry weight. And that includes us!
Independent cinema has thrived lately, thanks largely to the popularity of the sweet quirky comedy; now see the trend as filtered through the mind of New Zealand director Taika Waititi. Oddball characters in love? Check! Deadpan line delivery? Check!
Now, you may think that the original White Noise, starring Michael Keaton as a widower communing with the dead via everyday household appliances (yes, yes, we know it’s a “real” occurrence called Electronic Voice Phenomenon), truly needed no sequel. But you’d be wrong. Check out White Noise 2: The Light, starring Nathan Fillion and Katee Sackhoff, then spend a few hours listening really closely to your toaster.
It’s time for another round of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, who stars in Death Sentence as a vengeful father alongside Kelly Preston, who is married to John Travolta, who was in Look Who’s Talking Too with Roseanne Barr, who was in Backfield in Motion which was a funny women-playing-football movie. Wait, how do you play this game?
Until next week, fruitful renting to us all!