New on DVD and Blu-ray: Spies, Sherlock and More
New on DVD and Blu-ray, Bring 'Holmes' Home, 'This Means War,' plus 'Red Tails' and the Bleakly Ballsy 'Breaking Bad: Season IV.' Not only does this week's round up of DVD's and Blu-rays include a re-booted 'Sherlock Holmes' and more thrills to love in 'This Means War,' but there's also wartime aerial action in 'Red Tails' and science gone bad in season four of 'Breaking Bad.'
A relationship spy-romance comedy from the director who made both 'Charlie's Angels' films -- this, perhaps, is all you need to know about 'This Means War,' which may play better on the small-screen at home than it did in theaters, where it will seem like the never-was pilot for a show we don't have to watch. C.I.A. guys Chris Pine ('Star Trek') and Tom Hardy ('Inception') both date career lady Reese Witherspoon, with her left in the dark as to them knowing each other and what they do for a living. There's wacky misunderstandings, broad fight scenes and the leaden thud of a film so genetically designed to be watched on date night that it has no life of its own.
Unlike the Robert Downey Jr. films -- which, let's be honest, say a lot more about Robert Downey Jr. than they do about Sherlock Holmes -- this brisk BBC reboot is snappy and smart and ironically more true to the spirit of Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes, even set in a here-and-now where brusque-but-brainy Holmes Benedict Cumberbatch has Iraq vet Martin Freeman ('The Office') as his Watson. More a string of mini-movies than an exhausting slog of 'episodes,' 'Sherlock Holmes' is one of the things your snob friends are talking about when they say TV is better than movies, and they may be right.
Decades in the making -- even with the deep-pockets backing of producer George Lucas -- this true story of aerial heroism in WWII is, ironically, a little lead-footed on the ground, but soars in the air. telling the true story of the Tuskeegee Airmen - the first African-American pilots to fly combat in WWII -- the film also features Terrence Howard, 'Breaking Bad''s Bryan Cranston, and many more, including Cuba Gooding Junior. Again, the script can get a little shout-y and 'inspirational,' but the aerial sequences, with a helping hand from the good folks at ILM, are truly amazing. Again, this is a film where the special effects and action -- especially seen on Blu-ray -- make the difference.
If you aren't watching Bryan Cranston's masterful acting work on 'Breaking Bad' -- the AMC show, yes, that one, no, not the zombie one, no, not you, 'The Killing,' yes, the one where the guy with cancer starts making meth -- then you're missing one of the most inventive and expressive performances of our time. Walt's cancer is now far more manageable; it's his work as a meth-maker he may not survive this time. Including a few startling performances and a couple final twists that'll have your hand at your throat, the fourth season of 'Breaking Bad' is well worth watching, and if you haven't been watching so far, seriously, drop us a line after you're caught up and you need to chat after that time that thing happens to that guy in season four, or that awful thing happens to that nice character in season three -- you're missing one of the performances of a lifetime.