This week’s releases include: a true story extrapolated; a first-person point of view tale of speed; a twist on a classic love story of star-crossed lovers; a powerful look at a soldier’s life in 1967; and a contrasting glimpse of life in one of the toughest army training camps.

All Good Things on blu-rayAll Good Things (Blu-ray & DVD combo pack)
Inspired by the most notorious missing person’s case in New York history, All Good Things is a love story and murder mystery set against the backdrop of a New York real estate dynasty in the 1980s. This psychological thriller was inspired by the story of Robert Durst, who was suspected, but never tried for killing his wife Kathie, who disappeared in 1982 and was never found.

Court documents are not that interesting, but that is the source of this story’s narrative which means it also lacks a level of interest. This is the tragic tale of a horrible marriage and several murders. However, it’s a little lacklustre as we watch David/Robert (Ryan Gosling) make the choices that will inevitably make him unhappy and destroy his once happy relationship with Katie/Kathie (Kirsten Dunst). In addition, although based on a true story there seem to be many liberties taken to imply David/Robert’s guilt as details are shown that he’d never have admitted and can’t be corroborated because the participants are dead.

Special features include: commentary by director/producer Andrew Jarecki, co-writer/co-producer Marcus Hinchey and co-writer/producer Marc Smerling; commentary by Jarecki and Robert Durst; deleted scenes; “All Good Things: Truth in fiction”; “Back in time: Researching the original case”; “Wrinkles in time: Ryan ages”; and an interview with Jarecki. (Alliance Films)
Gnomeo & Juliet on blu-rayGnomeo and Juliet (Blu-ray)
The greatest love story ever told, starring garden gnomes… Gnomeo and Juliet (voices of James McAvoy and Emily Blunt) have as many obstacles to overcome as their quasi namesakes when they are caught up in a feud between neighbours. But with plastic pink flamingos and thrilling lawnmower races in the mix, the young couple try to avoid tragedy and find a happy ending.

The similarities to Shakespeare’s play are quite few for the name. The feuding families have turned up in stories without a relation to the classic couple, which may have been a better choice here. It feels as if the original dialogue is too changed to really claim this name. The narrative has some amusing moments, but it’s not wholly entertaining. Fortunately, it doesn’t last longer than it should. It’s amazing how captivating Blunt and Jason Statham remain even as just a voice.

Special features include: alternative endings with filmmaker introductions; and deleted and alternative scenes with filmmaker introductions. (Entertainment One)

Grand Prix on blu-rayGrand Prix (Blu-ray)
Formula 1 drivers compete to be the best in this tale of speed, spectacle and intertwined personal lives. American Grand Prix driver Pete Aron is fired by his Jordan-BRM racing team after a crash at Monaco that injures his British teammate, Scott Stoddard. While Stoddard struggles to recover, Aron begins to drive for the Japanese Yamura team, and becomes romantically involved with Stoddard’s estranged wife.

Special features include: “Pushing the limit: The making of Grand Prix”; “Flat out: Formula 1 in the sixties”; “The style and sound of speed”; “Brands hatch: Behind the checkered flag”; “Grand Prix: Challenge of the champions”; and theatrical trailer. (Warner Home Entertainment)

Platoon on blu-rayPlatoon (Blu-ray & DVD combo pack)
The film tells the extraordinary journey of Private Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen), a young, naive American who arrives in Vietnam and quickly discovers he must battle the Viet Cong alongside the gnawing fear, physical exhaustion and intense anger growing within him. His two commanding officers (Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe) draw a fine line between the war they wage against the enemy and the one they fight with each other. Meanwhile, the conflict, chaos and hatred permeate Taylor, suffocating his realities and numbing his feelings to man’s highest value: life.

Platoon is director Oliver Stone’s protest against the Vietnam War. It features all the negative elements of that war as soldiers kill each other, pillage villages and murder innocent people. In addition, the body counts are high on both sides. One of the surreal elements of the film is the number of recognizable faces, including Johnny Depp, Keith David, Forest Whitaker, Kevin Dillon, John C. McGinley, as well as those already mentioned. This film is incredibly intense between the firefights in the jungle and rising tension within the squad. Despite the obvious condemnation and political commentary, this is a well-made film with many striking performances. Berenger and Dafoe are particularly exceptional.

Special features include: commentary by Stone; commentary by military advisor Dale Dye; deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary by Stone; “Flashback to Platoon”; “Snapshot in time: 1967-1968”; “Creating the ‘Nam”; “Raw wounds: The legacy of Platoon”; documentaries: “One war, many stories” and “Preparing for ‘Nam”; vignettes: “Caputo & the 7th fleet”, “Dye training method” and “Gordon Gekko”; and theatrical trailer. (Fox Home Entertainment)

Tigerland on blu-rayTigerland (Blu-ray)
Just released from the base stockade, recruit Roland Bozz (Colin Farrell) joins a platoon of young soldiers preparing to ship out to Vietnam. Bozz’s independence and outright defiance draws fire from his own men as well as commanding officers. But when the platoon is sent to Tigerland, a helish training ground that is the last stop before Vietnam, Bozz’s leadership and loyalty bring his men together, triggering extraordinary consequences.

This film is a slightly less horrifying version of Full Metal Jacket as the men battle each other and themselves in training camp before heading to Vietnam. This was Farrell’s big break and it’s easy to see why the performance gained such acclaim. As Bozz, he is a wisecracking grunt just biding his time until he can get out of the military before being sent to ‘Nam. In the meantime, Bozz uses the knowledge he’s gained trying to find his own loophole to help some of his friends get out. The other performances are good, but Farrell truly stands above them in this role.

Special features include: commentary by director Joel Schumacher; casting session with Farrell; “The real Tigerland” documentary; “Joel Schumacher: Journey to Tigerland” documentary; “Ross Klavan: Ode to Tigerland” documentary; and theatrical trailer. (Fox Home Entertainment)

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