Cinematical's Spin-ematical: New on Blu-ray and DVD for 7/13


Amanda Seyfried is a prostitute, Julianne Moore is a gynecologist, and Liam Neeson is the latter's husband, suspected of cheating. Atom Egoyan's erotic thriller "might not connect on a personal level," according to our own Monika Bartyzel, yet "it does trap you into these lurid lives that flirt with every notion of bad behavior. I just wish they were characters I could love or hate, or simply feel for." Our recommendation: Rent it.

The latest film from Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding) is "a tough film to read," Jeffrey M. Anderson explains. "It's definitely irritating and off-putting, but it also seems to come from a place of genuine anguish." Ben Stiller stars as a man who ends up in Los Angeles house-sitting for his brother. Greenberg "tries to be an aimless movie about aimless characters but the road map is both too carefully marked and too deliberately obscure. Which is not to say that it's a complete dud, either." Our recommendation: Rent it.

The Bounty Hunter
Yeesh. Not to judge a movie by its trailer(s), but something about this would-be romantic comedy starring Gerard Butler in the titular role and Jennifer Aniston as his ex-wife and latest "bounty" smelled rancid. Our Lady of Grace, Jenni Miller, confirms the suspicion, saying that "with a limp script and poor pacing - seriously, how much do they have to drive around? - these two had the cards stacked against them from the beginning." Our recommendation: Skip it.

Also out: Our Family Wedding. After the jump: Indies on DVD, more Blu-ray picks, and Collector's Corner!

'Harmony and Me'Harmony and Me
Musicians are not like you and me; at least, not musicians like Harmony, played by Justin Rice in Bob Byington's film. Harmony has been through the wringer and can't quite get over his break-up with Jessica (Kristen Tucker). He's convinced that the only way to find true peace, happiness, and, yes, harmony in his life is to get back together with Jessica.

"Describing Harmony and Me as a musical allegory doesn't give you any idea of its quiet, quirky humor," wrote Jette Kernion in her review at Slackerwood. "It reminded me more of Harold and Maude, with a main character staring pathetically at the world and wanting something different, unable and sometimes unwilling to fit in with what's expected of him. That sounds potentially dreary, but Byington has transformed what could have been a pathetic cliche into a subtle comedy."

Also out: The Greatest, 8: The Mormon Proposition, Saint John of Las Vegas, The Girl by the Lake, Middle of Nowhere, America the Beautiful (fascinating documentary), and 2:37 (micro-budget high school shootout flick, featuring Teresa Palmer, co-star in big budget The Sorcerer's Apprentice, opening tomorrow).

'Insomnia' on Blu-rayInsomnia
Before Batman Begins, but after Memento, director Christopher Nolan made this remake of a Norwegian police drama. Al Pacino and Martin Donovan play Los Angeles detectives called in to help in the investigation of a murder in Alaska. Pacino can't sleep, something goes terribly wrong, and Pacino finds himself under investigation by local cop Hilary Swank, while being contacted -- and, likely, strung along -- by Robin Williams as the chief suspect.

It was Nolan's first studio production, and he didn't write the script, and when I saw it during its initial theatrical run in 2002, I nearly fell asleep. But having seen his subsequent films -- including the stunning Inception last night -- my interest in watching Insomnia again has been awakened. Was it a misfire? Were there forces at work beyond Nolan's control? Or is it an unappreciated gem? Look for Todd Gilchrist to tackle that question in his Shelf Life column for Cinematical a little later.

Also out: In Bruges, Assault on Precinct 13 (remake), Alpha Dog.

'Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 5'Film Noir Classic Collection, Vol. 5
Eight pictures (Cornered / Desperate / The Phenix City Story / Deadline at Dawn / Armored Car Robbery / Crime in the Streets / Dial 1119 / Backfire) on four discs from Warner Home Video. Details at the link.

It looks like another very good package from Warner, with Richard Fleischer's Armored Car Robbery and Don Siegel's Crime in the Streets the two titles (new to me) that jump out, but Cornered with Dick Powell is a fine, globe-trotting thriller. Also intriguing is Anthony Mann's Desperate, his first noir. This has moved to my "must buy" list now.

Also out: The Only Son / There Was a Father: Two Films by Yasujiro Ozu (Criterion Collection).
categories Features, Dvds, Cinematical