Red – Bruce Willis reignites his career by actually making an effort for once, playing a retired CIA agent who is forced back into the spy games fold to save himself. Mary-Louise Parker plays Willis’s spunky love interest, and Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren fill out the impressive cast. The Blu-ray includes an interactive commentary track, deleted scenes and audio commentary from a former CIA agent.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Blu-ray – The spectacular 2004 head-trip stars Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey as participants in a failed relationship who erase one another from their memories via new technology, only to attempt to rekindle their romance. Moving and insightful, the film’s true star is the wickedly intelligent script by Charlie Kaufman. It’s nice to see the movie finally hit HD, but disappointing that there are no extras you couldn’t find on a DVD.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest – The third film in the rapid-fire Swedish cyberpunk trilogy may as well be named The Girl Who Wore Out Her Welcome, because the series becomes as tired as Crocodile Dundee. At least starlet Noomi Rapace works hard to keep things interesting, playing a harried hacker character who works to clear her name from false charges and wriggle her way out of the crosshairs of a violent conspiracy. Two versions of the finale are included – the standard subtitled version, as well as a badly dubbed alternative. The other extras are unremarkable.
Nowhere Boy – Aaron Johnson of Kick-Ass plays John Lennon in this scattershot coming-of-age drama, set in Liverpool in 1955. The often heavy-handed film bluntly speculates on Lennon’s influences and inspirations, focusing on his relationship with his mother-figure aunt (Kristin Scott Thomas). The film might have worked better had Johnson not been so poorly miscast as the singer-songwriter legend. Deleted scenes and making-of docs flesh out the package.
Open Season 3 – In the slapstick-happy direct-to-video kiddie flick set in the forest, Boog the bear decides to swap places with a lookalike grizzly who performs in the circus. The Prince & the Pauper-like tale is a poorly executed mess that manages to bore adults and kids alike. The Blu-ray/DVD combo includes a couple worthless remote controller games.
Saw: The Final Chapter – The annual horror series seems to have finally run its course, and if this is indeed the finale, it works as well as could possibly be expected. Working overtime, the film somehow ties together all the barely-coherent plot threads from previous films. Cary Elwes, who reprises his role as a victim in the first film, helps provide an apt sense of closure. The Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo includes filmmaker commentary, deleted and extended scenes and a rundown of the series’ elaborate deathtraps.
Secretariat – Disney’s overly sappy historical drama tracks the rise of the famed horse, which won the Triple Crown in 1973. Diane Lane plays the plucky owner who earns a part in the women’s lib movement by breaking into the old boys’s club, while John Malkovich hams it up as the egotistical, eccentric trainer. The Blu-ray/DVD combo includes a stable of deleted scenes, filmmaker commentary and background on how the races were filmed.