DVD/Blu-ray Releases — 5/17/2011

New options for your home viewing this week:


The Mechanic, an amped-up remake of the 1972 movie of the same name (starring Charles Bronson), is full of contradictions.  At once, it’s a quiet, introspective look into the life of a solitary contract killer Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) who is filled with either regret or the fear of being killed over the murder of his mentor (Donald Sutherland) and the closest thing he’s ever had to genuine human contact, and then, it’s an all-out (well shot and kinetically choreographed) orgy of carnage and destruction.  The dichotomy of the two tones is personified in the assassin and his own student Steve (Ben Foster), a feral kind of killer who has reason to go after his teacher but doesn’t know it, and while Arthur tries to instill an awareness of the futility of revenge in his pupil (either out of professional development or in an attempt to protect himself or both), the movie’s unfortunately cheating final shot negates that thought.  My review is here.  Available on DVD  and Blu-ray.

For a movie that hinges on its protagonist’s doubt, The Rite has very little of it.  From his freaky dreams to witnessing a young girl undergo the physically improbable effects of demonic possession to receiving a phone call from someone who’s been dead for hours, Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donoghue) just comes across as dense for constantly questioning the existence of spiritual forces working upon humanity in the world, considering everything that he endures throughout the movie.  Here again is the odd argument that, if the Devil and his minions exist, there must be a counterforce to them.  It’s a hollow kind of theology, especially in light of how it’s only used to build the usual exorcism tropes.  At least Anthony Hopkins appears as Kovak’s guide with methods that are–you guessed it–a bit unorthodox, in a performance that shifts unpredictably from subdued to berserk.  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and DVD/Blu-ray Combo.


About Mark Dujsik

Film critic since 2001. Writer/editor/publisher of Mark Reviews Movies, and contributor for RogerEbert.com and Magill's Cinema Annual. Member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society.
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