The Artist (Blu-ray) – Criticize This! Pick of the Week – There’s a reason The Artist won five Oscars, including Best Picture, and that’s because it’s undeniably likable and mesmerizing to watch. It begins in 1927 Hollywood when silent film star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is the biggest star in the world. As the story progresses we meet the lovely Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), an aspiring dancer and actress. George helps her get noticed, talkies are introduced, and soon George is pushed aside for the younger talent, mainly Peppy. Directed by Michel Hazanavicius and shot in black and white with no dialogue, the film works thanks to the amazing cast and the awesome score by Ludovic Bource. While it might not be for everyone, it is a movie that should be experienced at least once. The Blu-ray is presented in a 1.33:1 format (meaning there are black bars on the right and left sides) with a 5.1 DTS-HD sound mix and it is absolutely gorgeous. Special features include a blooper reel, making-of featurette, Q&A with the filmmakers and cast, and more. A regular DVD and digital copy of the film are included as well. Film **** Blu-ray **** (out of 5 stars).
21 Jump Street (Blu-ray) - If it wasn’t for The Artist coming out this week 21 Jump Street would have been my pick of the week. It’s a hilarious retelling of the hit ‘80s television series that stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as rookie cops sent undercover back to high school to bust a drug ring. Hill and Tatum play off each wonderfully and their comedic chemistry is awesome. Ice Cube also delivers a lot of laughs as their Captain on Jump Street and reminds us that he can still do a good raunchy comedy. The Blu-ray has a great image and sound mix and is definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan. Special features include audio commentary with directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller along with Hill and Tatum, a gag reel, deleted scenes, and more. A regular DVD and digital copy are included as well. Film **** Blu-ray **** (out of 5 stars).
Wrath of the Titans (Blu-ray) – After defeating the Kraken, Zeus’ demigod son Perseus (Sam Worthington) is trying to live a normal life as a fisherman while raising his son Helius. That is until Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Aries (Édgar Ramírez) kidnap Zeus (Liam Neeson) in order to steal his power to feed Kronos, the leader of the Titans. Perseus is called upon by Poseidon (Danny Huston) to find his own demigod son, Agenor (Toby Kebbell), in order for them to work together to save Zeus and all of mankind. And so our adventure begins. While I enjoyed Wrath of the Titans when I caught it in the theatre earlier this year, upon a second viewing at home I found it painfully boring to get through. The special effects are still the main selling feature though and the film does shine on Blu-ray, which might be enough for some to want to add this to their collection. Special features include Maximum Movie Mode, and more. A regular DVD and digital copy are included as well. Film *** Blu-ray *** (out of 5 stars).
Gone (Blu-ray) – After her sister disappears in the middle of the night, Jill (Amanda Seyfried) believes she’s been kidnapped by the same person who kidnapped her a few years prior. The police believe Jill was never kidnapped and write her off as having mental issues. Jill sets out to find her sister and catch the kidnapper on her own to prove she’s not nuts. Surprisingly, Gone is not that bad of a thriller and is so much better than last year’s similarly themed Abduction. It’s not great, but will hold your interest till the end and is a decent watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The Blu-ray has a clean image transfer and 5.1 DTS-HD sound mix, but is not required viewing. A regular DVD of the film is included. Film *** Blu-ray ** (out of 5 stars).
Also out this week to Watch @ Home is Eddie Murphy’s A Thousand Words, the Blu-ray release of Deliverance, the Wim Wenders documentary Pina, and Mirror Mirror, starring Julia Roberts.