Just Go With It – In this lame romantic comedy that manages to stretch the silly standards of the genre past their breaking point, Adam Sandler plays a wealthy plastic surgeon who picks up women by pretending he’s married. He falls in love with a woman (Brooklyn Decker) and convinces himself he must keep her believing he’s married (to his assistant, played by Jennifer Aniston), rather than admit his ruse. And then for some reason, everyone heads to Hawaii, where Nicole Kidman pops up as Aniston’s old rival from college. Deleted scenes, cast and filmmaker commentary and a several short, throwaway featurettes are included.
American: The Bill Hicks Story – Philosopher/comedian Bill Hicks (1961-1994) has a cult-like legion of fans, and this documentary explains his impact and appeal. You see him rise up through the ranks as a struggling stand-up in the process of finding his voice, battle alcohol and drug addiction and evolve into a dynamic force of nature. Deleted scenes and never-before-aired performances make up the extras.
Another Year – British writer/director Mike Leigh (Vera Drake, Happy-Go-Lucky), master of intimate, slice-of-life stories about average people struggling to get by, follows a social circle of friends and family as their relationships evolve over the course of a year. The film’s strongest point is the witty, incisive writing, which earned Leigh yet another Oscar nomination. The Blu-ray/DVD combo includes an insightful commentary with Leigh and actress Lesley Manville, as well as a making-of featurette and a behind-the-scenes look at Leigh’s unorthodox directing style.
The Big C: Season 1 – In the performance of a lifetime, Laura Linney is both endearing and hilarious as a middle-aged school teacher diagnosed with cancer who decides to forgo traditional treatments and makes some big changes in her life, such as booting her husband (Oliver Platt) to the curb. Showtime has yet another gem on its hands. Deleted scenes and several cast interviews are included.
Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore Blu-rays – Available separately, Adam Sandler’s incredibly funny mid-1990s comedies arrive in high-definition. Billy Madison stars Sandler as a ne’er do well heir who repeats grade school in an effort to prove his intelligence to his old man. In Happy Gilmore, Sandler is a hockey player who becomes an unorthodox golfer. Sandler’s current movies are more popular than these, but nowhere near as funny. I’ve always called them the Iliad and Odyssey of dumb comedy. Both discs include the same deleted scenes and commentary from previous DVDs.
Blue Crush 2 – This direct-to-video drama has nothing in common with the 2002 surfing film other than bikinis and waves, but tells a story that’s more cohesive and entertaining, if ludicrous. Sasha Jackson stars as a California high school grad who hates her widowed father and runs off to South Africa to live as a surf hippie and feel closer to her departed mom. She falls for the wrong guy, gets involved in armed firefights and hits the waves in her spare time. The Blu-ray/digital copy combo includes filmmaker commentary and a look at the how the impressive surfing shots were filmed.
Breaking Bad: Season 3 – Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul star in this darkly comic and ruthlessly gripping tale of New Mexico men who become unlikely meth kingpins. One of the best-written and acted shows on TV, the AMC drama continues to grow stronger. The Blu-ray includes behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes and AMC News’s looks at the writing team.
The Company Men – For my money, this downbeat, all-star drama is the Wall Street of our nation’s current economic troubles. Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper play high-powered executives who lose their jobs and are forced to deal with life without the careers that defined them. Kevin Costner checks in as Affleck’s blue-collar brother in law who tries his best to lend a hand in tough times. It’s a shame the compelling film didn’t merit any Oscar attention. The director’s commentary, deleted scenes and an alternate ending make up the extras.
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights – Framed as superhero Green Lantern Hal Jordan’s lecture to a younger member of the intergalactic police patrol, the film tells the origin story of the Corps, which use powerful rings to battle evil across the universe. The short, swiftly-paced movie is an ideal plate-setter for the Ryan Reynolds movie that hits theaters June 17. The Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo features commentary, a Green Lantern digital comic book, interviews and episodes from the animated series.
The Outlaw Josey Wales – Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this memorable 1976 Western about a farmer whose family is murdered by Union-sympathizing guerrilla fighters. He takes up with a band of Confederates before branching off as a lone outlaw. Film historian Richard Schickel provides commentary, and there’s also a documentary featuring several stars talking about the film and Eastwood as a film icon. The packaging is an impressive 32-page retrospective book.
Superman: The Motion Picture Anthology (1978-2006) Blu-ray – All four Christopher Reeve Superman flicks, which get worse as they go, plus the tepid Superman Returns from Reeve lookalike Brandon Routh fill out this impressive box set, which also includes such curiosities as fired director Richard Donner’s cut of Superman II. Two documentaries and loads of vintage extras are included in this set, which oddly lacks digital copies.
True Grit – The Coen brothers remake the iconic 1969 John Wayne Western, and execute their typical brilliance in bettering that film in nearly every possible way. Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld earn Oscar nominations for their portrayals of a US Marshal and a driven, remarkably self-confident teenage girl who seek out the man who murdered the girl’s father. Josh Brolin and Matt Damon chip in memorable supporting performances. The Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo includes featurettes about the film’s costumes, writing, cinematography and guns.