[caption id="attachment_182712" align="alignleft" width="300"] Sony[/caption]
This week: Halle Berry goes above and beyond the call of duty as a 911 operator trying to save a kidnapped teenage girl from a serial killer in the thriller "The Call."
Also new this week is Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey in the Vegas magician comedy "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," David Duchovny and Ed Harris in "Phantom" and the Blu-ray debut of The Beatles' "Help!"
[caption id="attachment_182717" align="alignright" width="220"] Sony[/caption]
Box Office: $52 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 41% Rotten
Storyline: Halle Berry plays Jordan Turner, a veteran 911 operator who gets an emergency call from a teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) being abducted. Jordan must confront a killer (Michael Eklund) from her past in order to save the girl's life in this thriller directed by Brad Anderson ("The Machinist").
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a commentary track and an extensive making-of feature. The Blu-ray adds an alternate ending, deleted and extended scenes, Michael Eklund's audition tape, a set tour of the call center "The Hive" and the killer's lair and a featurette on the movie's stunts.
We Say: A decent amount of suspense is built in the first two-thirds of this thriller as Berry is shown trying to cope with the murder of one girl she was trying to help only to be faced with another kidnapped girl in the same situation. When Berry bolts from the call center and starts poking around in a dark field to find her "white whale," the movie takes a sharp turn into unbelievable-behavior land.
'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone'
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Box Office: $23 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 37% Rotten
Storyline: Magicians Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have ruled the Las Vegas Strip for years, but the childhood friends have grown to loathe each other and their act has gone stale thanks to Burt's ballooning ego. Now guerilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) threatens to render them obsolete with his popular shock tactics unless Burt can get back in touch with what made him love magic in the first place. Olivia Wilde appears as a magician's apprentice, Alan Arkin plays the retired magician who inspires Burt and the late James Gandolfini plays the demanding hotel owner ready to boot the veteran illusionists.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain deleted scenes and alternate takes, "Making Movie Magic with David Copperfield" (who also appears in a cameo in the movie), "Best of the Brain Rapist" (the stage name of Carrey's character) and a gag reel.
We Say: You'll wish more laughs could have been pulled out of a magic hat in this stale PG-13 comedy that screams "in-flight entertainment option." Carrey's self-mutilating Brain Rapist antics are the movie's best moments, but what could have been an edgy comedy about what happens behind the scenes on the Vegas Strip ends up coming off as surprisingly earnest as broken-down Burt tries to get his groove back.
[caption id="attachment_182716" align="alignright" width="220"] Fox[/caption]
Box Office: $1 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 25% Rotten
Storyline: Set on a Soviet submarine during the Cold War in the 1960s, "Phantom" stars Ed Harris as a troubled Soviet Navy captain who becomes concerned about the covert intentions of his mission and a bullish KGB agent (David Duchovny) on board his sub. This story of one captain's attempt to prevent a global nuclear war is loosely based on the real-life K-129 crisis of 1968.
Extras!: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain "Facing the Apocalypse," "The Real Phantom," "Jeff Rona: Scoring 'Phantom,'" a commentary and the "Ocean Away" music video.
We Say: This soggy, slow-moving submarine adventure features some great actors we would prefer to see in other projects— anything besides this murky mess about cloaking technology that also cloaks most of its entertainment value under layers of melodrama several fathoms deep.
[caption id="attachment_182714" align="alignright" width="220"] Universal[/caption]
Box Office: $12 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 91% Fresh
Storyline: Richard Lester, who also directed the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night," returns with this 1965 musical comedy-adventure that follows the Fab Four from London to the Austrian Alps to the Bahamas. Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are pursued by religious cult members, a mad scientist and the police, all of whom are after a sacrificial ring that Ringo can't remove from his finger.
Extras!: This Blu-ray debut features a 30-minute documentary about the making of the film, a "Missing Scene," an in-depth look at the film's restoration, cast-and-crew memories, theatrical trailers and some U.S. radio spots hidden in the disc menus.
We Say: Featuring a witty script and a cast of British character actors in addition to the Beatles, "Help!" is a must-own Blu-ray for fans of the Fab Four. The movie features performances of seven classic Beatles tracks, including "Ticket to Ride," "I Need You" and, of course, "Help!"
Also New This Week:
"In the Family"
"Into the White"
"Shoah" Criterion Collection Blu-ray