This week's releases include a crass office drama; a stubborn old man resisting change; an imaginative teen; and an attempt at capturing that old feeling.
10 Years (DVD)
The film follows a group of friends on the night of their high school reunion who, a decade later, still haven’t quite grown up. Jake (Channing Tatum) is deeply in love with his girlfriend Jess () —until he runs into his old flame, Mary (Rosario Dawson). Cully (Chris Pratt) married his cheerleader girlfriend Sam (Ari Graynor), and has been looking forward to the reunion so he can finally apologize to all the classmates he bullied. However, a few too many drinks might get in the way of his good intentions. Long-time rivals Marty (Justin Long) and A.J (Max Minghella) pick up right where they left off at graduation, vying to impress the hottest girl in class (Lynn Collins). Reeves (Oscar Isaac) graduated a band geek, but became a rock star, and tonight is his chance to finally talk to his secret crush (Kate Mara).
It’s not quite as raw or revealing as Diner, but this film is still the traditional reunion picture. No one is who they used to be, making the various attempts to recapture what once was awkward and ineffective. Cully is the most imposing character on both other alumni and the audience, becoming more embarrassing with each screen appearance. Moreover, by accident or design, the interaction between most of the characters often feels forced, making the reunion uneasiness tangible. Reeves is probably the most interesting of the group, but his screen time is limited. Instead a lot of focus is placed on the former high school sweethearts, even though the flame clearly turned into burning embers a long time ago.
There are no special features. (Alliance Films)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (DVD)
Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) is a six-year-old force of nature in an isolated bayou community. When her tough but loving father Wink (Dwight Henry) succumbs to a mysterious malady, the fierce and determined girl bravely sets out on a journey to the outside world. But Hushpuppy’s quest is hindered by a “busted” universe that melts the ice caps and unleashes an army of prehistoric beasts.
Special features include: a making-of featurette; deleted scenes with commentary by director Benh Zeitlin; auditions; “Glory at Sea”; music featurette; “The Aurochs”; and the theatrical trailer. (Entertainment One)
Fox Home Entertainment
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (DVD & Blu-ray combo pack)
When Greg’s (Zachary Gordon) dad (Steve Zahn) threatens to send him to military school if he doesn’t stay out of trouble, Greg finds all-new ways to land himself in the doghouse. For starters, Greg’s in over his head when he pretends to work at the swanky country club where Rowley’s family has a membership. Things don’t go much better on a father-son camping trip with the Wilderness Explorers. And then there’s the Heffley’s new dog, Sweetie, who fetches even more trouble for Greg.
This film is exactly what an adaptation of the popular reading series should be. It's goofy, exaggerated and filled with all the drama of teen angst. Greg is awkward, but in a funny and not pitiful way. His efforts to spend more time with the girl he has a crush on land in the realm of realism, and his family is mostly down-to-earth as well. Of course it's not difficult to predict how a kid's plan will backfire, but the fun is in watching it happen. The incorporation of the cartoon characters that populate the pages of the book provides added personality and a great tie-in to the source material.
Special features include: deleted scenes; “Class Clown” animated comic; gag reel; and digital copy. (Fox Home Entertainment)
Gangsters, Guns and Zombies (DVD)
Q (Vincent Jerome) only really wants the quiet life but sometimes the only way to keep it quiet is to do what Tony tells him to do. Turn up, drive the van, drop the boys off and get a slice of the cake. Simple enough, right? Wrong. Danny gets shot. The safe house is crawling with police. The van is running out of diesel. Crazy Steve ruins his shoes. Muscles and Pat just try and keep their heads down. And there's a zombie apocalypse.
If you've had the pleasure of watching Cockneys vs. Zombies, this synopsis may sound familiar. Unfortunately, it's not as good. The characters bungle their way between locations, whacking and out running the zombies they encounter. And they do it all through mediocre or worse acting. Crazy Steve is the light in a sea of grim. The zombies lack any extensive make-up artistry, including those featured in close-ups. They're simply bloody, snarling and fast (yes, these are fast zombies). Though it seems filmmakers wanted to cover a lot of their bases with costumed monsters; there's a bride, football players and doctors.
Special features include: cast commentary; behind-the-scenes featurette; making-of featurette; and bloopers. (Entertainment One)
Paramount Home Media Distribution
House of Lies – The Complete First Season (DVD)
Marty (Don Cheadle) is a self-loathing management consultant. While best known for taking down the competition with sex and a smile, he uses any means (or anyone) necessary to get what he wants. Jeannie (Kristen Bell) is the foxy, sharp-tongued team leader juggling her career and personal life.
To say this new Showtime series is raw and gritty would be a bit of an understatement. These characters, particularly Marty's, pull no punches. The first episode may not be an immediate hook, but you can't help but want to see how far their ruthlessness will reach. Marty has the ability to freeze the scene and speak directly to the audience. At first this is a little offputting, but they really make it work. Jeannie is the strong, stable female character in the show, with good ideas and a lot of ambition. Marty's ex-wife, on the other hand, is aggressive and crazy. His domestic situation consists of his son and father, both of whom struggle with Marty's long hours and abundant traveling. The second season will likely be more of the same, but if something is working there isn't much reason to change it.
Special features include: commentary with Don Cheadle, Josh Lawson, Ben Schwartz, writer Matthew Carnahan and executive producer Jessica Borsiczky; “Hanging with Kristen Bell”; “Hanging with Don Cheadle”; “Rainmaker”; and Marty Kaan profile. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
Total Recall (Blu-ray)
Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a factory worker who visits Rekall, a revolutionary company that can turn his superspy fantasies into real memories. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, the line between fantasy and reality blurs as Quaid becomes a man on the run and the fate of his world hangs in the balance.
Special features include: commentary; “Science Fiction vs. Science Fact” featurette; “Designing the Fall” featurette; seven action featurettes; “Stepping into Recall Pre-visualization sequences”; and a gag reel. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Trouble with the Curve (DVD & Blu-ray combo pack)
Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) has been a top baseball scout for decades, but age has caught up with him. The Atlanta Braves’ front office is questioning his judgment, especially with a hot batting phenom on deck for the draft. Enter Gus’s estranged daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), an ambitious attorney on the partner track who joins him on a scouting trip, jeopardizing her own career to save his. In the meantime, a rival scout (Justin Timberlake) has his sights on an announcing career – and his eyes on Mickey.
As Eastwood gets older, he continues to be casted in the role of the curmudgeon. And he portrays them flawlessly. Even though Gus loves his daughter, his idea of displaying that emotion is quite the opposite of a warm gesture. Nonetheless, the father-daughter relationship between Eastwood and Adams is believable. Timberlake is the generic good-looking, sweet guy who is completely forgettable at the end of the narrative. Adams is very likable as the tough lawyer raised on the baseball diamond. She fits right into the dusty bleachers. In addition to being a drama, this film can also teach the uneducated a little about the game – though it's all built into the context of the movie.
Special features include: “Rising through the ranks,” a making-of featurette; and “For the love of the game,” interviews with Adams and Timberlake. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)