New on DVD
05/23/2014 12:00 AM
05/21/2014 3:08 PM
“About Last Night” (R, 100 minutes, Sony): In the 1980s, when “About Last Night ...” came out, it quickly became a cinematic signifier for its era, the ultimate chronicle of youthful romantic anxiety and gamesmanship, starring the avatars of their generation, Demi Moore and Rob Lowe. Nearly 30 years on, the year-in-the-life rom-com has been spruced up and given some timely punch, even though its clichés – of commitment-phobic men and needy women – are hoarier than ever. The action has been transported from Chicago to Los Angeles, where Daniel (Michael Ealy) and Debbie (Joy Bryant) meet after their respective best friends drag them along on a drunken double date. But those friends are the film’s biggest surprise: Kevin Hart and Regina Hall steal the movie whenever they’re on screen. Contains sexual situations, obscenity and brief drug use. Extras include “An Un-Romantic Comedy” featurette. Also, on Blu-ray: three more featurettes, including “About Last Night Advice.”
“The Monuments Men” (PG-13, 119 minutes, Sony): Writer-director George Clooney looks to the grammar of World War II thrillers, caper comedies and standard sentimental uplift to tell the story of the U.S. Army’s Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives program, wherein a group of art historians, architects and artists sought to save and preserve artworks looted by the Nazis during the war. Rather than a ragtag team of misfits and rejects, these were gentlemen and scholars tasked with preventing Adolf Hitler from amassing the masterpieces of Western art for his planned Fuhrer Museum; as the war came to a close, their mission shifted to saving those works from destruction – or confiscation by the Soviet army, which intended to abscond with them as early reparations. It’s a pip of a story, and Clooney cuts a dashing, Gable-esque figure as the group’s leader, Frank Stokes (based on real-life Monuments Man George Stout), who rounds up a group of bookish, out-of-shape academics and professionals, sends them to basic training and sets them loose amid the wreckage of Normandy, St. Lo and the Bulge. Contains images of smoking and wartime violence. Extras include behind-the-scenes featurettes “George Clooney’s Mission” and “Marshaling the Cast.” Also, on Blu-ray: Deleted scenes, “The Real Monuments Men” and “A Woman Amongst the Monuments Men” shorts.
“3 Days to Kill” (PG-13, 113 minutes, Fox): Can ex-CIA operative Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) repair his relationship with his estranged teenage daughter, Zoey (Hailee Steinfeld), while maintaining his commitment to his old employer, who has pulled him out of retirement for one last round of targeted killing, extraordinary rendition and enhanced interrogation? That narrative predicament is precisely echoed by the challenges faced by the film’s director, McG. Best known as the director of “Charlie’s Angels” and the producer of numerous television shows, including “The O.C.” and “Chuck,” the filmmaker born Joseph McGinty Nichol attempts to negotiate a middle path between the loud action thriller that the film’s DVD cover implies and the sappy drama of father-daughter bonding that the movie really is. Contains violence, obscenity and sensuality. Extras include “Covert Operation” featurette. Also, on Blu-ray: an extended cut, making-of and “McG’s Method” featurette.
“Pompeii” (PG-13, 105 minutes, Sony) : The similarities to “Gladiator” are hard to overstate. In both cases you have a warrior who’s enslaved after his family is murdered. In both cases he befriends an African gladiator and falls in love with a woman leagues above his social standing. But only in “Pompeii” does the protagonist talk to horses. Milo (Kit Harington from “Game of Thrones”) is the last member of a Celtic tribe of equestrians who are massacred by Roman soldiers led by Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland). Milo escapes his parents’ fate, but he’s scooped up and enslaved and, years later, becomes a killing machine who can enter an arena unarmed and take out three sword-wielding opponents. Contains intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content. Extra include filmmakers’ commentary and featurettes on the cast and characters and the volcanic eruption special effects. Also, on Blu-ray: deleted and alternate scenes, making-of shorts covering stunts, production design and costume design, and a “Pompeii: Buried in Time: Behind the Scenes of Ancient History’s Greatest Disaster” featurette.
“McCanick” (R, 96 minutes, Well Go USA): In his last film, “Glee” star Cory Monteith plays a supporting role as a troubled homeless junkie. That Monteith died in July 2013 of a heroin and alcohol overdose makes this choice a troubling undertone. But the film belongs to David Morse, who does his gritty best to overcome a script that does neither star justice. The mystery follows a narcotics detective (Morse) who has an over-the-top reason for hunting down the seemingly harmless Monteith, who knows a damaging truth about the cop’s past. Blu-ray extras include a making-of featurette, deleted and extended scenes. Contains profane, language, some strong violence and brief drug content. Extras include a making-of featurette, deleted and extended scenes.
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