The Book of Eli – Smoldering with otherworldly intensity, Denzel Washington powers this surprisingly riveting post-apocalyptic drama about a lonely, driven title character determined to bring a rare book to safety. Mila Kunis pops up as his would-be sidekick and a sinister Gary Oldman plays a despotic villain driven to stop Eli. The Blu-ray packs a digital copy, deleted scenes, several background featurettes and a DVD version of the movie.
Family Guy: Volume 8 – Fifteen fine examples of Seth McFarlane’s genius are included in this DVD, including “Brian’s Got a Brand New Bad,” “Hannah Banana” and “Quagmire’s Baby.” The general theme among the episodes is supposed to be revenge, but the real strain that emerges is randomness. The episodes are excellent but there’s no real reason to pick this one up if you collect the show’s season-by-season releases. There’s also a lackluster American Dad collection out this week, but that more politically-minded show, also powered by McFarlane, has never compared to Family Guy.
The Illusionist Blu-ray – In this 2006 Victorian era drama, Edward Norton plays a mysterious magician who vies against a powerful, obsessive inspector (Paul Giamatti) as he makes a play for the love of his life (Jessica Biel). The understated, tense film packs several twists that keep you on your toes and gets better with age. The package includes a DVD version of the movie as well as the commentary and featurettes that were on the older DVD release.
Showgirls 15th Anniversary Sinsational Edition Blu-ray – The gloriously trashy 1995 meta-comedy stars Elizabeth Berkley fresh off her Saved by the Bell run in a cheeseball soft-porn classic as Nomi, a homeless dancer who aims to make it big in Vegas. Gina Gershon sizzles as the starlet Nomi tries to knock off the pedestal in a plot that tips its pasties to A Star is Born. The somewhat unintentionally hilarious movie is a classic in its own crazy way and this Blu-ray belongs on the shelf of anyone with questionable taste, an appreciation for poor acting at its finest and a sense of humor. Extras are pretty much the same as in previous DVD editions.
Yo Gabba Gabba! Clubhouse – For my money, this is the finest kiddie show out there. But maybe it’s just me – I like the show, which includes bizarrely catchy music, 8-bit video game references and several pop-ins from celebrities, far more than my 3-year-old, who only occasionally agrees to watch with me. The disc includes four episodes, featuring guest spots from Erykah Badu, The Killers and Jimmy Eat World.
When in Rome – If the movie gods have any mercy on us, this will go down as the worst romantic comedy of 2010. Luckless Kristen Bell stars as a career-minded woman who happens upon some love potion-like magic in Rome that causes several idiots to fall in love with her at the same time. There’s little romance and even less comedy in this utter mess, so rent with caution. The Blu-ray has deleted scenes and an alternate beginning and ending.
Phil Villarreal’s humorous money-saving book, Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, is available on Amazon.