Super 8 (2011)
When I first heard that “Star Trek” director J.J. Abrams was attempting to harness the cinematic spirit of legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg with his own sci-fi adventure flick “Super 8”, I was pretty excited. 2011 has been a pretty good year for this sort of nostalgic, kid-oriented motion picture; both “Attack the Block” and “Rare Exports” managed to successfully invoke the magic of Spielberg by sticking a bunch of charismatic kids into insanely dangerous situations. Due to an extremely hectic schedule this summer, I somehow missed “Super 8” during its theatrical run, which is a damn shame. I bet this thing played incredibly well on the big screen, particularly during the picture’s spectacularly staged train wreck. When people say that this year has been a lousy year for movies, they obviously haven’t seen “Super 8”. No joke.
In regards to the Blu-ray, it’s not a bad package. The transfer is sharp, the sound is incredible — the train wreck is particularly impressive — and the special features are decently robust. If you love behind-the-scenes featurettes, the disc has quite a few to pick through, including a complete breakdown of the aforementioned sequence. The deleted scenes are interesting, though none of them left me wondering why they didn’t make the final cut. As nice as all this may sound, I have a sneaking suspicion there might be a so-called “special edition” somewhere down the line.
Read Nix’s complete review of the film by clicking right here.
The Devil’s Double (2011)
Director Lee Tamahori’s unnerving look into the exceedingly violent life of Uday Hussein is easily one of my favorite films of the year. It’s a frightening and frequently violent exploration of a madman drunk with power, a role that’s played with startling intensity by Dominic Cooper. The story is told from the perspective of Latif Yahia, an innocent bystander who is plucked from the streets and surgically altered to resemble the man everyone secretly hates. Cooper tackles both roles perfectly; you often forget he’s playing both parts, which is extremely important given that most of the dialogue is between Uday and Latif. “The Devil’s Double” is utterly fascinating, and is easily Tamahori’s best film to-date. I never would have expected something this visually exciting from the guy who directed “The Edge” and “XXX: State of the Union.”
Much to my surprise, the film is insanely colorful, which looks incredible on Blu-ray. In regards to the special features, there really isn’t anything overwhelmingly notable to speak of. The interview with the real life Latif Yahia is interesting, I suppose, but it just left me wanting more. Despite the lack of extras, “The Devil’s Double” is definitely worth picking up, especially in high definition. However, I’m still not a fan of “The Edge” or “XXX: State of the Union”. No way in hell.
Read Alyssa’s review of the film by taking a trip to this location.
30 Minutes or Less (2011)
Director Ruben Fleischer’s mildly entertaining action/comedy is, perhaps, one of the biggest misfires in recent memory. Jesse Eisenberg follows up his critically acclaimed performance in “The Social Network” by stepping into the shoes of Nick, a directionless pizza delivery guy who is kidnapped by a pair of foul-mouthed lowlifes armed with a bomb. Their proposition: Rob a bank or they’ll detonate the explosive device strapped to his chest. You’d think this scenario would generate plenty of laughs, but that’s simply not the case. The entire cast — including the impossibly annoying Aziz Ansari — looks beyond bored with the material, and you really can’t blame them. Even when Fleischer decides to toss an action sequence into the mix, the film just chugs along with the grace of someone who just stepped in dog crap. It’s a mess from top to bottom.
If, for some strange reason, you decide to pick this up on Blu-ray, you won’t be disappointed with the presentation. The film pops on-screen, and the sound is near-perfect, right down subtle ambient touches tucked into the background. The special features are pretty mundane, though this is coming from someone who didn’t enjoy the film. Were I fan, perhaps the extras would be somewhat appealing. A picture-in-picture video commentary is kind of cool, but only if you want to learn more about the movie you’re watching. In this case, I couldn’t care less.
Be sure to check out Brent’s review of the flick by strolling over here.