This week’s release include: a rom-com about finding Mr. Right; the real-life tale of a drug dealer; a sequel to a bizarre, almost all-girl adventure; a wrong place, wrong time spy flick; and the quarter-century anniversary release of a film about growing up.

How Do You Know on Blu-rayHow Do You Know (Blu-ray)
When everything she’s ever known is suddenly taken from her, Lisa (Reese Witherspoon) begins a fling with Matty (Owen Wilson), a major league baseball player and self-centered ladies man. Before their relationship takes off, Lisa meets up with George (Paul Rudd) a straight-arrow businessman facing his own serious issues, both with his father (Jack Nicholson) and the law. Just when everything seems to be falling apart it doesn’t.

Special features include: commentary with filmmakers; “Extra Innings,” a making-of featurette; delete scenes with optional commentary by writer/director James L. Brooks; select scene commentary with Brooks and Wilson; “The George” featurette with optional commentary by Brooks; “A Conversation with James L. Brooks and Hans Zimmer”; a blooper reel; and interactive script gallery. (Sony Home Pictures Entertainment)

Mr. Nice on DVDMr. Nice (DVD)
Based on the hugely successful autobiography of the same name, Mr. Nice tells the story of Howard Marks (Rhys Ifans), “the world’s most sophisticated drug dealer.” At the height of his powers, he had 43 aliases, 89 phone lines and owned 25 companies trading throughout the world, while simultaneously smuggling consignments of up to 30 tons of marijuana and keeping contacts with organizations as diverse as MI6, the CIA, IRA and Mafia.

Special features include: commentary by director Bernard Rose; another commentary by Howard Marks; deleted scenes; cast and crew interviews; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and “Howard and Rhys on Stage.” (Entertainment One)

Skyline on DVDSkyline (DVD)
After a night of partying, a group of friends are distracted when beams of light awaken everyone in Los Angeles, which then attracts every person like a moth to a flame. As the night progresses, they soon discover that once addicted to the light people they vanish into thin air. All the while extraterrestrial forces threaten to swallow the entire human race.

It feels like something is missing or was lost sometime during the translation from script to screen. The movie looks fantastic; the images of thousands of people being floated up to the spaceships are mesmerizing. The alien machines resemble those we’ve already seen in The Matrix, but that can be forgiven. However, the aliens’ purpose or motivation is either absent or hidden so deep it may as well be. Of course there’s the obvious reason that is demonstrated on screen, but I need a bit more than that. Are they at war and need to replenish their troops? That would be feasible considering how hostile they appear. But the narrative doesn’t tell you one way or the other. Balfour is solid, even if his character development is questionable. At least the military decide it’s just as important to save L.A. as it is to rescue Washington.

Special features include: commentary by directors Greg and Colin Strause; deleted and extended scenes; and alternate scenes. (Alliance Films)

St. Trinians: The Legend of Fritton's Gold on DVDSt. Trinian’s and the Legend of Fritton’s Gold (DVD)
St. Trinian’s 2 sees the girls start a new term amidst the usual chaos and excitement. A rollercoaster-style treasure hunt for the legendary Fritton’s Gold ensues as they face their most fearsome establishment rivals yet. True to form, the feisty and ever-resourceful girls of St. Trinian’s are undeterred in their mission to outwit the villainous Pomfrey (David Tennant) and his sidekicks from the woman-hating secret society known as AD1. Rupert Everett returns as unconventional headmistress Camilla Fritton and Colin Firth as her old flame Geoffrey Thwaites.

The boarding school sequel is as over-the-top as its predecessor; perhaps more so since it includes a possession. As in the first, the shenanigans that take place are so inappropriate for a school setting and, more often than not, impossible that its absurdity can only be embraced or rejected – there is no in between. There is a bit of a lack of interesting characters that the first film included and the “tribes” are not as much fun. As with most follow-ups to weird movies, the second picture tries too hard and turns out inferior.

Special features include: “The Banned of St. Trinian’s” parts one and two; “Learn the Dance”; deleted scenes; a blooper reel; St Trinian’s band cam; and “Meet the Tribes.” (Entertainment One)

Stand By Me on Blu-rayStand By Me (Blu-ray)
In a small woodsy Oregon town, a group of friends — sensitive Gordie (Wil Wheaton), tough guy Chris (River Phoenix), flamboyant Teddy (Corey Feldman), and scaredy-cat Vern (Jerry O’Connell) — are in search of a missing teenager’s body. Wanting to be heroes in each other’s and their hometown’s eyes, they set out on an unforgettable two-day trek that turns into an odyssey of self-discovery. They sneak smokes, tell tall tales, cuss because it’s cool and band together when the going gets tough. When they encounter the town’s knife-wielding hoods who are also after the body, the boys discover a strength they never knew they had.

This is a touching, coming-of-age tale that is affectionately remembered by those who’ve see it. The film displayed the great talent of Phoenix whose career was cut short after an overdose at 23. The other young actors also showed great promise as they bonded in their fear and strength against an excellent Kiefer Sutherland.

Special features include: 25 years later – picture-in-picture commentary with director Rob Reiner, Wheaton and Feldman; audio commentary by Reiner; “Walking the Tracks: The Summer of Stand By Me” featurette; and Stand By Me music video. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

The Tourist on Blu-rayThe Tourist (Blu-ray)
During an impromptu trip to Europe to mend a broken heart, Frank (Johnny Depp) unexpectedly finds himself in a flirtatious encounter with Elise (Angelina Jolie), an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path. Against the backdrop of Paris and Venice, their whirlwind romance quickly evolves as they find themselves unwittingly thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse.

All the elements are present for a good espionage movie: witty dialogue, bad decisions, mistaken identity and significant questions of trust. The problem is it doesn’t seem anyone ever decided if this was going to be a straight-up, laugh-out-loud comedy or a romantic dip into danger. As a result, everyone appears to be toeing the line somewhere between the two, never committing to either. Furthermore, even though Depp and Jolie play their individual roles well, there is no chemistry between the two actors.

Special features include: commentary by director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck; outtake reel; alternate animated title sequence; “A Gala Affair”; “Bringing Glamour Back”; “Action in Venice”’; “Tourist Destination”; “Canal Chats”; and movieIQ. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

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