This week’s releases include: a war ignored by the world; an unusual bank robbery; a sci-fi art film; a teen reconsiders his rebellion; a collection of bad movies; an interesting love story; a free-spirit sticks to his ideals; a legendary detective takes on challenging mysteries; and a misunderstanding leads to awkward bloodshed.

5 Days of War on blu-ray5 Days of War (Blu-ray)
Inspired by the real events of the swift—but devastating—five-day war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, this film centres on an American journalist (Rupert Friend) and his cameraman (Richard Coyle) caught in the combat zone during the first Russian airstrikes against Georgia. Rescuing Tatia (Emmanuelle Chriqui), a young Georgian schoolteacher from the attack, the two reporters agree to help reunite her with her family when she loses them in the chaos in exchange for serving as their interpreter. As the three attempt to escape to safety, they witness—and document—the devastation from the full-scale crossfire and cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians.

This film is attempting to highlight two aspects of this event: the atrocities committed in Georgia and the world’s refusal to acknowledge it. It does the former with brutal force, not censoring the bloody carnage that occurred. The latter point, however, is not emphasized enough. This isn’t the first time a “more interesting” story has taken precedence over more meaningful ones in the media (the O.J. Simpson trial over the Rwandan genocide) and it should have been underscored more. The narrative used to convey these messages is relatively simple, creating a bond with the characters while drawing attention to the film’s core. That said, the characters’ stories usually feel contrived and predictable.

Special features include: commentary by producer/director Renny Harlin; and deleted scenes. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

30 Minutes or Less on blu-ray30 Minutes or Less (Blu-ray)
The dull life of a small town pizza delivery guy, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) collides with the big plans of two wanna-be criminal masterminds (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson). The duo kidnaps Nick, forcing him to rob a bank. With only mere hours to pull off this near impossible task, Nick enlists the help of his ex-best friend and grade school teacher, Chet (Aziz Ansari). As the clock keeps ticking, the two must deal with the police, hired assassins, flamethrowers and their own tumultuous relationship.

This is definitely a film audiences don’t need to work for to be entertained – just sit back and enjoy. The film’s cast is a group of guys who have all proved funny in the past (even if not in every movie). Eisenberg has a flat delivery that is becoming his trademark and works well in darker comedies. Ansari is the more energetic of the pair, bringing balance and a different style of comedy to their scenes. In addition, Michael Peña has a small role as a hit man, though it would have been more than acceptable if they’d extended his part a little. Director Ruben Fleischer made a hilarious splash into cinemas two years ago with Zombieland. He recaptures some of that magic with simple dialogue, a lot of references to films such as Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, and one screwball stunt after another.

Special features include: deleted scenes; picture-in-picture visual commentary with actors Eisenberg, Ansari, McBride, Swardson and director Ruben Fleischer; “Blowing Up with the Cast & Crew of 30 Minutes or Less” featurette; “The Perfect Crime:  Action and Comedy in 30 Minutes or Less” featurette; outtakes; and 30 Minutes or Less SP3 theme/wallpaper. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Another Earth on blu-rayAnother Earth (Blu-ray & DVD combo pack)
Rhoda (Brit Marling) and John (William Mapother) are two people whose worlds collide after a tragic accident.  Their intimate drama plays out against the astounding discovery of Earth 2, a parallel world that poses provocative and fascinating possibilities.  Does a new Earth mean a chance at another life?  Another destiny?  Another self?

Special features include: deleted scenes; “The sciences behind another Earth”; “Creating another Earth”; music video for “The First Time I Saw Jupiter” by Fall On Your Sword; and Fox Movie Channel presents “Direct Effect with Mike Cahill,” “In Character with Brit Marling,” and “In Character with William Mapother.” (Fox Home Entertainment)

The Art of Getting By on blu-rayThe Art of Getting By (Blu-ray)
George (Freddie Highmore), a lonely and fatalistic teen who’s made it all the way to his senior year without ever having done a real day of work, is befriended by Sally (Emma Roberts), a popular but complicated girl who recognizes in him a kindred spirit.

Highmore is a teen now; no longer the sweet little boy who captured Johnny Depp’s heart. It seems fitting he’d portray a young man who’s rather awkward, but quietly brilliant; artistic, but strange. Roberts is slightly more experienced as an on-screen teen and she manipulates the shy boy out of his shell. Unfortunately the angst doesn’t feel as dramatic as it’s supposed to; maybe because they’re too old for these occurrences to be world ending and the gentle push into adulthood isn’t that captivating.

Special features include: commentary by director Gavin Wiesen; “New York Slice of Life”; “On Young Love”; Fox Movie Channel presents “In Character with Freddie Highmore”; HBO First Look, “The Making of The Art Of Getting By”; and the theatrical trailer. (Fox Home Entertainment)

Chillerama on blu-rayChillerama (Blu-ray)
It’s the closing night at the last drive-in theater in America and Cecil B. Kaufman (Richard Riehle) has planned the ultimate marathon of lost film prints to unleash upon his faithful cinephile patrons – four films so rare that they have never been exhibited publicly on American soil until this very night. In the spirit of classic anthology films like Creepshow and Twilight Zone: The Movie, Chillerama contains films that not only celebrate the golden age of drive-in B horror shlock but also span over four decades of cinema, offering something for every bad taste. Titles include: “Wadzilla,” “I Was a Teenage Werebear,” “The Diary of Anne Frankenstein,” and “Zom-B-Movie.”

It was difficult to know what to expect as the quality of B-movies varies significantly, though an anthology of “bad” pictures was attractive. But now what has been seen can never be unseen. “Wadzilla” is a disgusting send up to films like Killer Condom, in which sex is made grossly absurd. The battle between cringe and grin has no clear victor. “Attack of the Teenage Werebear” is an amusing combination of Beach Blanket Bingo, Teen Wolf and a bizarre encounter with “bears.” The most enjoyable episode is “The Diary of Anne Frankenstein,” which is owed entirely to the presence of Joel David Moore and his portrayal of Hitler. Luckily, not much is seen of “Deathication” as the connecting story, “Zom-B-Movie.” interrupts the screening. A sexual zombie has inadvertently infected most of the drive-in patrons and they are now attacking everyone, attempting to eat and/or hump them. It’s impossible to really come out on one side of the fence or the other; Chillerama simply is what it is and it makes no apologies.

Special features include: directors’ video commentary; “Wadzilla” deleted scenes and trailer; the making of “Diary of Anne Frankenstein”; “I was a Teenage Werebear” trailer, behind-the-scenes and deleted scenes; “Zom-B-Movie” deleted scenes; directors’ interviews; and Chillerama trailer. (Entertainment One)

One Day on DVDOne Day (DVD)
After one day together – July 15th, 1988, their college graduation – Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) begin a friendship that lasts a lifetime. She’s a working-class girl who dreams of making the world a better place. He’s a wealthy charmer who thinks the world is his playground. Somewhere over the next two decades, these two very different people realize that the love they’ve been hoping for has been there for them all along.

This is an unconventional telling of a pretty conventional love story. It’s conventional because the characters are “just friends” even though they are in love with each other. What makes it different is the story spans 20 years. It’s sort of like When Harry Met Sally, but more consistent and less volatile. Hathaway’s English accent comes and goes before nearly disappearing altogether, which is fortunate since its inadequacy is distracting. On the other hand, she has good chemistry with Sturgess and the two are a convincing pair in every respect.

Special features include: commentary with director Lone Scherfig; deleted scenes; “Em and Dex, through the years”; “Anne Hathaway: Bringing Emma to life”; and “The Look of One Day.” (Alliance Films)

Our Idiot Brother on DVDOur Idiot Brother (DVD)
Ned (Paul Rudd), an organic farmer whose willingness to rely on the honesty and goodwill of humankind is a less-than-optimal strategy for a tidy, trouble-free existence, is that one family member who is always just a little bit behind the curve. For sisters Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), Natalie (Zooey Deschanel) and Liz (Emily Mortimer), Ned may be utterly lacking in common sense, but he is their brother. After his girlfriend dumps him and boots him off the farm, his sisters must once again come to his rescue. As Miranda, Natalie and Liz each take turns at housing Ned, their brother’s unfailing commitment to honesty creates more than a few messes in their comfortable routines. But after seeing life through Ned’s optimistic perspective, his family comes to realize that maybe Ned isn’t such an idiot after all.

It’s funny, sarcastic and sometimes unexpected. This is a family that doesn’t spend much of its time bickering; in fact, they enjoy each other’s company and talk like friends at their mother’s (Shirley Knight) house every week for dinner. It’s not laugh-out-loud slapstick, but it’s amusing while remaining touching. Ned is the narrative’s linchpin and Rudd holds it all together very well. He embodies Ned’s easy going nature and appears genuinely naive in most situations. In addition, his scenes with Liz’s son are a brilliant reflection of his own childlike approach to life. In the end it stays pretty safe and even key, but doesn’t suffer as much as one would expect from that decision.

Special features include: commentary by director Jesse Peretz; deleted and extended scenes; and a making-of featurette. (Alliance Films)

Sherlock Holmes Collection on DVDSherlock Holmes Collection (DVD)
Master detective Sherlock Holmes’ (Matt Frewer) powers of deduction are as legendary as his opponents are formidable. Holmes and Dr. Watson (Kenneth Walsh) tackle cases that baffle, surprise and frighten, with equal resolve. Theirs is an arena of duplicitous princes, deadly treasures and seemingly superhuman killers. They move through a world of mysterious pearls, poisoned darts and state-threatening espionage using the power of the human mind to set things right.

Four DVD set includes: ‘The Hounds of the Baskervilles’, ‘The Royal Scandal’, ‘Sign of Four’ and ‘The Case of the Whitechaple Vampire’.

There are no special features. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil on DVDTucker & Dale vs. Evil (DVD)
Dale (Tyler Labine) and Tucker (Alan Tudyk) are checking out their newly acquired “summer home” (read: dilapidated cabin) when they save the life of a gorgeous college student (Katrina Bowden) who’s camping in the woods with some friends. When a series of misunderstandings leads to Dale and Tucker being labeled psycho killers by the vacationing students, the situation takes a sudden and ghastly turn for the worst.

They do things a little different in this movie, turning slasher stereotypes on their heads. Moreover, they have a lot of fun doing it. It’s bloody, but the deaths are so comedic it’s impossible not to laugh at their misfortune. The narrative doesn’t make a lot of sense, but the idiocy of their actions makes up for it.

Special features include: commentary by director Eli Craig and actors Labine and Tudyk; a making-of featurette; “Tucker & Dale are evil: The college kids POV”; and outtakes. (Alliance Films)

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