I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 17, 2012

by Ethan Alter January 17, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, January 17, 2012

George Clooney for president? Hey, he's got the foreign policy experience.

The Ides of March
George Clooney directs and stars in this political drama about a crusading presidential candidate and the impact his less-than-noble actions have on the idealistic young man (Ryan Gosling) who's running his campaign. Because everyone in Hollywood loves Clooney, he was able to rope some terrific actors into taking on small roles in his film, from Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti to Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. Behind the camera, Clooney's direction is tastefully understated as we wisely opts to stay out of the ensemble's way. But for all its pedigree, The Ides of March never quite develops into an absorbing drama. Compared to the real life twists and turns of past presidential campaigns (not to mention the one we're currently experiencing), the one Clooney and his collaborators have dreamed up feels almost too restrained and ordinary.
Extras: Commentary with Clooney and his co-writer Grant Heslov and four behind-the-scenes featurettes. Read our original review here.

Twilight's Taylor Lautner tried to flex his muscles (literally) in his first solo action vehicle, about a teen who discovers that his life is... not what it seems (cue ominous music). But based on the movie's meager box office returns, he's better off playing werewolves for the rest of his career. Lautner's rep wasn't the only one hurt by Abduction's sorry performance -- the movie's director John Singleton sadly continues his trend from Oscar-nominated newcomer to studio hack.
Extras: An on-camera video journal starring Lautner, a gag reel and two featurettes.
Read our original review here.

Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star
It's heeeere! If you're brave (or foolish) enough to see what's commonly regarded as one of the absolute worst movies of 2011, Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star -- the alleged "comedy" starring comic and FOAS (Friend of Adam Sandler) Nick Swardson -- finally arrives on DVD. Swardson plays the titular man-child, who leaves his small town Midwestern home to come to L.A., where he intends to break into the porn industry. Christina Ricci, Don Johnson and Stephen Dorff are among the actors that debase themselves for Swardson's benefit. Y'know, some of the comedies Sandler produces for his pals are dumb fun (like, say, Grandma's Boy)... but this one is just plain dumb.
Extras: Four featurettes, including one devoted to Bucky Larson's teeth. Because that's the kind of movie this is.

Good Morning Vietnam
Dead Poets Society
Robin Williams hasn't made a good movie in a long while (actually he hasn't made any movie in a long while -- his last live-action role was in 2009's Old Dogs) but back in the '80s it seemed like he could do no wrong. In 1987, the former comic delivered one of his most celebrated performances (and picked up his first Oscar nod) for Barry Levinson's Good Morning Vietnam, about the real-life experiences of DJ Adrian Cronauer while on his tour of duty in a military radio station during the Vietnam War. What starts as a great excuse to feature Williams running his motormouth deepens into a more somber, dramatic anti-war statement. Two years later, Williams played the English teacher everyone wished they'd had in Peter Weir's beloved school days drama Dead Poets Society, opposite a ridiculously young Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard. So the next time you stumble upon Bicentennial Man or Patch Adams on cable and wonder why in the world anyone thought Robin Williams was a good actor, give these new Blu-ray discs a spin.
Extras: Vietnam includes a multi-part production diary, Williams' raw monologues and the original theatrical trailer. Society offers a retrospective documentary featuring new interviews with the cast and crew, outtakes, an audio commentary with Weir and interviews with the movie's sound designer and cinematographer.

Also on DVD:
Prolific Portuguese director Raoul Ruiz passed away last year, but not before completing one of his best works, Mysteries of Lisbon, a sprawling, five-hour adaptation of a 19th century novel involving a young orphan boy's search to discover his actual parentage. Alma Har'el's documentary Bombay Beach offers an evocative look at the titular SoCal community and the residents that lead hardscrabble lives there. Designed as a breakout star vehicle for Juno Temple, Dirty Girl didn't kick up much of a fuss at the box office, largely because it's a wildly uneven movie. But Temple definitely shows promise. Criterion releases an older and more modern classic on Blu-ray, Luis Bu├▒el's 1967 provocation Belle De Jour and Steven Soderbergh's 2000 Oscar-winner Traffic. And for those with less highbrow tastes in "classic movies," today marks the high-def release of two teen rom-coms that have the word "drive" in the title. First up is 1999's Drive Me Crazy, with Melissa Joan Hart and Adrian Grenier, but our personal favorite is 1988's License to Drive starring the Two Coreys (Corey Haim, R.I.P.) and a young Heather Graham.

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