It's the last week of summer, so how is Hollywood celebrating? By releasing a home video slate of some of the most under-appreciated films of the year. From bickering spies to reluctant amusement park workers, August 25th brings together indie darlings and big-budget gems, and we're breaking it all down in today's DVD Report.
Let's kick it off with one of my favorite films of the year, Tony Gilroy's "Duplicity." The director's sophomore follow-up to "Michael Clayton," the Julia Roberts-Clive Owen spy yarn brings together two of the brightest and most expressive voices working today for a crafty globe-trotting adventure. Filled with twists and turns and superb acting, "Duplicity" wasn't exactly a smash hit at the cineplex, but it's more than worth your time. Sadly, if there's one thing worth griping about here, it's the rather lackluster bonus features...or should we say bonus feature. Both the Blu-ray and DVD feature a lone extra: audio commentary from Gilroy and his brother, who co-produced the pic. Come on Universal, you couldn't dig up any deleted scenes?
Next up is "Adventureland," the 80s-themed coming-of-age dramedy starring Jessie Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Ryan Reynolds (among a host of other bit players like Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig and Martin Starr). The flick drops its cast into the Adventureland amusement park, where Eisenberg begrudgingly works following his college graduation. The flick rated on many's Top 10 lists but didn't see a ton of box office play, probably in large part due to an ad campaign that painted it as the second coming of "Superbad," when in fact it's something much more subversive and romantic. Unlike "Duplicity," Disney's "Adventureland" comes loaded with an assortment of extras, including audio commentary from director Greg Mottola and Eisenberg, a bevy of featurettes, faux Adventureland commercials, deleted scenes and soundtrack highlights.
Also hitting store shelves this week is "Sunshine Cleaning," a Sundance fave which finds Amy Adams and Emily Blunt as struggling sisters who launch a crime scene clean-up business to make ends meet. Both actresses are excellent in this black comedy, which also features another home run supporting performance from Alan Arkin.
"Fighting," starring "Twilight" baddie Cam Gigandet as an underground fighter, battles its way onto DVD and Blu-ray, as does "Rudy y Cursi," another circuit highlight that reunites "Y tu Mamá También" stars Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna as budding soccer star brothers. "The Informers," an emotionally spiraling Sundance alum with Mickey Rourke and Billy Bob Thorton, also hits.
On the television front, a whole mess of box sets drop this week. They are: season two of "Samantha Who," season eight of "Smallville," season two of "Californication," season eight of "Scrubs," season five of "House," season six of "One Tree Hills" and the first season of "Thirtysomething."
As reported last week, mega-blockbuster "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" battles for Earth all over again on October 20, the same day Sam Raimi's "Drag Me To Hell" sees release. All six "Rocky" movies step into the Blu-ray ring on November 3, and Kevin Smith's "Clerks" and "Chasing Amy" hit Blu-ray on November 17, the same day cult fave "Galaxy Quest" gets released.
"Family Guy" fans should mark their calendar for December 22, when "Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side," the follow-up to the wildly popular "Star Wars" parody, lands in stores on DVD and Blu-ray.
In a rather slow week, we'll be looking forward to "State of Play," and Blu-ray editions of "Gladiator," "Braveheart" and "Girl Next Door," among other releases.