New to DVD and Blu-ray: ‘The Expendables 2′ and the Best of Quentin Tarantino
New on DVD, Blu-ray and streaming this week, old-pro action with 'The Expendables 2,' Quentin Tarantino goes over-the-top, and some gret overlooked movies arrive on streaming.
I know it sounds insane to say this, but believe me: I was actually very, very surprised by how much better 'The Expendables 2' was than 'The Expendables.' True, there's less Jet Li -- always a negative -- but hiring director Simon West gave Sylvester Stallone the room to just concentrate on "acting" and action. Dolph Lundgren gets some choice lines off, and the fight choreography -- showing off Jean-Claude Van Damme as the bad guy among other choice moments -- is excellent as well. Add in a supporting cast of neck-breakers and scene-stealers like Jason Statham and Terry Crews (who is, in and of himself, extraordinary) and you'll find 'The Expendables 2' a perfect diversion for any '80s action fan stuck inside on a rainy day.
Sure, you probably own all or some of the eight films presented on Blu-ray in this box set celebrating Quentin Tarantino's 20-year career as a writer and director. (For the record, the set includes 'Pulp Fiction,' 'Reservoir Dogs,' 'Jackie Brown,' 'Kill Bill, Vol 1' and 'Vol. 2,' 'Death Proof,' 'True Romance' and 'Inglorious Basterds' -- sorry, 'Destiny Turns on the Radio' fans...) But it's the previously unreleased extras -- like critical panel discussions, recordings of live Q&As with Tarantino and all-new material featuring his stars and collaborators talking about his methods and his madness -- that total five hours and make this big, blood-splattered filmography worth picking up in one box.
Starring Anton Yelchin ('Star Trek,' 'Fright Night') and British import Felicity Jones, this Sundance 2011 hit works thanks to great writing and direction from Drake Doremus -- and thanks to an honest, messy look at how truly messy love can be. Yelchin and Jones play lovers who meet, break up, re-unite, try again -- and go through the messy life-cycle (and death-cycle) of their relationship through Doremus' real, superbly-written scenes. With a small part for Jennifer Lawrence and outstanding dramatic acting from Yelchin and Jones, 'Like Crazy' is a movie whose honesty about relationships somehow makes it more romantic.
One of the most exciting documentary-makers of our time, Kirby Dick isn't interested in gimmicky showmanship or syrup-slow explorations of the distant past; he's an instigator, a provocateur, a hell-raiser looking at the concerns of the here-and-now with the skill and will to make his films stick. His 'This Film is Not Yet Rated' took on the anonymous raters of the MPAA; with 'The Invisible War,' Dick risks even more -- and succeeds. A portrait not only of the epidemic of sexual assault destroying the careers and lives of young women serving in the military but also of the culture of complicity, silence and cover-up that lets those kind of assaults continue, 'The Invisible War' can be tough to take -- and it should be. Mixing personal stories with a unblinking look at the big picture, 'The Invisible War' doesn't have Ken Burns' showmanship or Michael Moore's razzle-dazzle... and it's all the better for it. Wrenching, disturbing, fascinating and blunt, 'The Invisible War' deserves to be seen.