Shame (Blu-ray) Criticize This! Pick of the Week – With his performance as sex addict Brandon Sullivan in Steve McQueen’s Shame, Michael Fassbender has officially become one of the greatest and most fearless actors of his generation. And his performance is the top reason you should run out to get a copy of the film to watch. It’s raw and powerful and will affect every ounce of your being, but in the end you’ll wonder how the hell he didn’t get an Oscar nomination for this role. McQueen, who directed Fassbender in the equally haunting Hunger in 2008, is also proving to be a cinematic genius in his own right and should have a long and interesting career ahead of him. Carey Mulligan also stars. The Blu-ray is clean and crisp and is highly recommended. Special features include a Q&A with Fassbender and interviews with Fassbender and Mulligan. A regular DVD of the film is also included. Film **** Blu-ray **** (out of 5 stars).
Contraband (Blu-ray) – Although I wasn’t a fan of Contraband when I caught it in the theatre earlier this year, watching it a second time at home made it a much more enjoyable experience. It’s still a predictable and generic thriller, and Mark Wahlberg is still a poor choice for the lead, but I did find more to like about it than I initially did. The solid performances from Ben Foster and Giovanni Ribisi deserve some recognition, as does the excellent soundtrack. And director Baltasar Kormákur does show promise with making the leap to Hollywood from Iceland. Although not a perfect video transfer, the sound mix on the Blu-ray release is decent enough to warrant a viewing. Special features include deleted scenes, making-of featurettes, and more. A regular DVD and digital copy of the film are also included. Film ** Blu-ray *** (out of 5 stars).
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Top image: A scene from Shame. Courtesy Alliance Films.