Acorn Media Box Sets – A trio of superb British TV dramas are each out in new DVD collections. Doc Martin is the tale of an abrasive, obsessive doctor who struggles with life in a small town. Touching Evil follows a squad of elite London detectives as they take on super-criminals and syndicates, and Life on Mars is an offbeat yarn about a modern-day detective who wakes up from a car accident-induced coma to life in the 1970s. All are required viewing if you’re obsessed with British TV.
Brooklyn’s Finest – Released in March to little fanfare, this drama about corrupt cops is a better film from director Antoine Fuqua than his heralded Training Day. Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Richard Gere and Wesley Snipes bolster a rock-solid cast in the sprawling story of police officers doing whatever it takes to get by in one of the nation’s most dangerous precincts. The Blu-ray packs plenty of heat: Fuqua’s commentary, a doc about life as a New York cop and a digital copy.
Entourage: The Complete Sixth Season Blu-ray — Along with True Blood and Sopranos, Entourage is one of the few HBO series to get the Blu-ray treatment thus far. It’s disappointing that the releases are taking so long to come out — this is the first of the six Entourage seasons to get the treatment and Sopranos only has its first and final seasons out on Blu — because the premium channel’s programs pop in HD. Entourage has never looked better, so here’s hoping for the first five seasons on Blu.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – The Swedish blockbuster, which David Fincher has tabbed for a 2012 Hollywood remake, is a pulse-pounding affair that stars Noomi Rapace as the title character, a brooding hacker who helps a disgraced journalist solve the mystery of a person who vanished at a family gathering. Rapace pops up in an interview in the extras, as does director Niels Arden Oplev.
Hot Tub Time Machine – John Cusack, Craig Robinson and Rob Corddry play a trio of former BFFs who have drifted apart but get back together for a ski outing that ends up transporting them back to the 1980s. The comedy piles one riotous set piece on top of the next, and is easily my favorite comedy so far this year, although I’ve yet to catch the well-liked Get Him to the Greek. Blu-ray extras include a digital copy, deleted scenes and a look at Chevy Chase, who pops up in a cameo.
Last Man Standing/The Last Boy Scout Blu-ray — Two of Bruce Willis’s best 1990s action films come together in one awe-inspiring HD package. Last Man Standing, in particular, is an overlooked gem that features Willis in top form. It’s a remake of the Akira Kurosawa film Yojimbo. Warner Bros. is releasing a few other double features on Blu-ray today: Funny Farm/Spies Like Us, Practical Magic/The Witches of Eastwick and Dr. Giggles/Otis, but the Willis double-play is by far the crown jewel.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief – Another pretender to the Harry Potter throne, this saga about a teen who discovers he’s the progeny of a Greek God is more watchable than Clash of the Titans but more arduous than enjoyable. Logan Lerman is stiff and muted in the title role, lacking the appeal of an actor who can carry a potential series for the long haul, although the movie’s real fault is the lame writing. The Blu-ray includes a digital copy, deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.
Phil Villarreal’s humorous money-saving book, Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, is available on Amazon.