This week’s releases include: a deal with dangerous strings attached; two unlikely companions end up on a road trip together; and a love story about a family dealing with life’s big questions.

Dorian Gray on DVDDorian Gray (DVD)
Young Dorian Gray (Ben Barnes) arrives fresh on the London social scene and is taken under the wing of corrupt, devilish Lord Henry Wotton (Colin Firth), who introduces him to the seedy pleasures of London life. Desperate to protect the youth and beauty captured in his portrait, Dorian swears he would give anything to stay as he is – even his soul. Slipping deeper and deeper into a world of sin, sex and celebrity, his deeds grow ever more evil in an attempt to hide his secret. But when he eventually finds love, Dorian struggles to hide the secret behind his eternal youth.

This is a fantastic adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s intriguing tale of eternal youth and false innocence. Barnes is wonderful as the cunning sinner who must eventually face all the skeletons he’s hidden away in his closet. Firth is also great, playing Dorian’s wicked mentor to a tee. The story remains faithful to the original source material and captures Dorian’s darkness quite well, as well as his first love other than himself.

Special features include: commentary with director Oliver Parker and scriptwriter Toby Finlay; a making-of featurette; deleted scenes; and costume, location and effects featurette. (Alliance Films)

Due Date on Blu-rayDue Date (Blu-ray)
Expectant first-time father Peter Highman (Robert Downey Jr.) looks forward to his new child’s due date five days away. As Peter hurries to catch a flight home from Atlanta to be at his wife’s side for the birth, his best intentions go completely awry when an encounter with aspiring actor Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis) forces Peter to hitch a ride with Ethan on a cross-country trip that will ultimately destroy several cars, many friendships and Peter’s last nerve.

Galifianakis is an acquired taste. After his big coming out in The Hangover, people were either on one side of the fence or the other when it came to liking him or not. On the other hand, his subtler performance in It’s Kind of a Funny Story is quite impressive. In Due Date, he returns to playing an obnoxious eccentric and it’s difficult to like him again. Conversely, Downey Jr. is always likeable and it’s easy to side with him against the annoying man destroying his life. The narrative is too exaggerated and each ridiculous event that leads to the next does nothing to engage the audience, but instead pushes them further out of the story with its outlandishness.

Special features include: complete Two and a Half Men scene featuring Ethan Tremblay; additional scenes; Due Date action mash-up; Due Date too many questions mash-up; gag reel; and digital copy of the film. (Warner Home Entertainment)

My Year Without Sex on DVDMy Year Without Sex (DVD)
Natalie (Sacha Horler) and Ross (Matt Day) struggle to stay in the middle class in a Melbourne suburb, with their likable son and daughter, Louis, 12, and Ruby, 7. Their lives are upended one August day when Natalie faints during a routine medical check-up: it’s an aneurysm followed by major surgery, convalescence, and a doctor’s advice to avoid heavy lifting, straining on the toilet, stifled sneezes, and orgasms. Over the next year, we watch the family in vignettes, one each month, as they navigate nits, faith, Christmas, job insecurity, footy practice, more nits, and whether they will ever have sex again.

This film is quite entertaining and unique. Following the lives of a family through a couple of occurrences each month, you might think it would be difficult to develop the characters but it’s not – the parents deal with realistic situations, as do their children. The humour comes from some of the ridiculous life happenings that cannot be avoided or anticipated. Moreover, Day and Horler are excellent actors that encompass their roles. Each month is playfully represented with a suggestive subtitle, regardless of the tone of that month’s vignette. This includes an amusing interlude and intertitles.

There are no special features. (Alliance Films)

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