DVD/Blu-ray Releases — 12/20/2011

New options for your home viewing this week:

The Parisian fantasy is typically rife with shots of famous landmarks in the City of Lights, and Midnight in Paris gets that out of the way immediately.  He has an even dreamier concept of escaping the everyday in mind.  His surrogate is Gil Pender (Owen Wilson), a Hollywood screenwriter with plans to do something more substantial.  He travels to Paris with his wife-to-be (Rachel McAdams) and, while on a midnight stroll, finds himself transported to the 1920s, surrounded by some of his favorite artists.  This is an inspired comedy that manages to cull some truth from its time-travel gimmick.  My review is here.  Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

The start of the 2008 financial crisis is seen from the inside in Margin Call.  After a string of layoffs, a stock trader (Zachary Quinto) discovers that his firm’s already precarious bubble is about to burst, sending the executives into an overnight panic.  Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Demi Moore, Simon Baker, and Jeremy Irons plays some of those higher-ups, all coming to realize that there’s blood in the water, while Quinto’s character is the only one to wonder if they might be the sharks.  It’s a smartly written drama with finely tuned characters.  Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Two brothers take to the MMA ring to work out their issues within themselves and with each other in Warrior, a movie that has all the archetypes down but can’t follow through when it comes time to do something with them.  Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy play the brothers–one a high school science teacher with financial woes and the other an enigma.  Nick Nolte personifies the family’s wounded heart as the patriarch, struggling to stay on the wagon as he realizes no one wants anything to do with him–drunk or sober.  Some good fights follow, because the emotions are apparently too messy.  My review is here.  Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

A remake of Sam Peckinpah’s controversial 1971 movie, Rod Lurie’s version of Straw Dogs is a more literal take on the material–probably the last thing needed for this story of a mild-mannered, principled man pushed so many times that he erupts into violence.  David Sumner (James Marsden) and his new wife Amy (Kate Bosworth) return to her family home in the South, where the locals are bullies and love hunting and pray that the high school football team will win.  No matter what one’s opinion of the original might be, the remake should certainly make one appreciate it more.  My review is here.  Available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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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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