This week's new DVD's, Blu-rays and Video On Demand offerings include solid suspense with 'Man on a Ledge,' the hilarious sleeper hit 'Goon,' and two amazing dramas in 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' and 'Take this Waltz.'
Starring Sam Worthington, 'Man on a Ledge' opens with our hero climbing out the top-floor window of a Manhattan hotel -- and the cops, dispatched to the scene, soon realize that for a man with nowhere to go but down, Worthington's somehow got enough room to be pulling everyone's strings in a caper that's far more complicated than one guy clinging to a building for dear life. Worthington's good in the lead role, and the cast around him is impressive, including Elizabeth Banks, Anthony Mackie, Jamie Bell and Ed Harris as the bad guy, and the direction both makes New York -- excuse me, 'Noo Yawk' -- a character and keeps things at the pitch-perfect tone for a bit of well-made diversion as the cops, and us, learn what Worthington's really up to, and how his being out in the wind means he's risking much more than his life.
One of the biggest surprises of the year, 'Goon' is a truly hilarious comedy and a superb chance for Seann William Scott to show that he's far better than his re-heated servings of "American Pie" would suggest. Co-written by Evan Goldberg ('Superbad') and Jay Baruchel ('The Sorcerer's Apprentice,') 'Goon' stars Scott as Doug Glatt, a good-hearted, hard-headed tough-but-fair nice guy who, after a bar brawl, gets recruited to be an enforcer -- a goon -- for a local B-level hockey team. With Baruchel as his Doug's best friend, Alison Pill as a girl who sees the nice side of 'Doug the Thug' and Liev Schrieber as the hard-hitting hockey legend headed for an inevitable -- and spectacular -- showdown with Doug, the supporting cast is impressive -- and the film, while raunchy and two-fisted and raucous, also has a great sense of heart that makes it far better than you might think; even if you don't care about hockey, 'Goon' works as a great story of a man finding joy in what he does. Even if what he does is 'beat people up.'
Lots of people were convinced that Tilda Swinton was going to get an Oscar Nomination for her work in this film; the fact she didn't is really the Academy's fault, not hers. Swinton delivers the performance of a lifetime in this haunting, gorgeous mix of drama and thrills, playing a woman shattered after her son (Ezra Miller, reptilian and charismatically creepy) goes on a killing spree at his high school; in flashback, we see the events and errors and moments that may or may not have led to that unexplainable moment of rage. Director Lynne Ramsay has given Swinton the role of a lifetime in this film, but also creates a all-too-real and terrifying world for the characters with camerawork as beautiful as it is creepy, and Miller and John C. Reilly also give great performances. A film as smart as it is tense, 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' is one of last year's most tragically overlooked films. ...
On video-on-demand before it comes to theaters, 'Take this Waltz' is one of the most real-but-wrenching, smart-and-soulful looks at the challenges of marriage we've seen in a long time -- and one of the best films of 2012 so far, a funny-tough examination of love, fidelity, temptation and desire. Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen star as a happy-but-unhappy couple whose marital problems get intensified when WIlliams meets -- and starts to fall for -- Luke Kirby. 'Take this Waltz' is written and directed by Sarah Polley -- best-known for her lead role in 'Dawn of the Dead,' but also the filmmaker behind the impressive 'Away from Her' -- and she gives Williams, Kirby and Rogen the kinds of scenes and moments that bring out their best work. Hilarious and, at the same time, heartbreaking, 'Take this Waltz' is a rare pleasure -- a movie that talks about love and sex like we do, with all the fights and fears and joy that can involve.
Next week: 'John Carter' comes home, and 'Safe House' in your house...