‘Grosse Pointe Blank’ in Blu-ray
NEW THIS WEEK
GROSSE POINTE BLANK: BLU-RAY DEBUT
★ ★ ★
Rated: R for strong violence, language and some drug content
Stars: John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Dan Aykroyd, Alan Arkin, Minnie Driver
A surprisingly light and charming black comedy (well, perhaps not so surprising considering the cast) about a former CIA agent turned assassin (Cusack) taking time-off from a hit to attend his 10th high-school reunion. Cusack (who co-wrote the script with old-friends and New Crime theater co-founders D.V. DeVincentis and Steve Pink) is perfect as the yuppie contract killer having an early mid-life crisis, while attempting to reconnect with his high-school sweetheart (Driver) and elude a competitor (Aykroyd) who wants him to join an assassin’s union. But Arkin steals the show as Cusack’s extremely nervous psychiatrist: “Why don’t you try not killing somebody for a few days? Just to see how it feels.”
★ ★ ★
Rated: PG for brief mild language
Stars: Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Betty White, Ed Helms
The “Despicable Me” team takes Dr. Seuss’s environmentalist fable “The Lorax” (tediously adapted for TV in 1972) and manages to turn a fairly heavy-handed moral lesson about greed, consumerism and runaway capitalism into thoroughly enjoyable entertainment. DeVito is ideal voicing the feisty guardian of a forest being systematically destroyed by the young, blinded-by-ambition Once-ler (Helms). Extras include a “Let it Grow” sing-along, a “Seuss it Up!” drawing tutorial and a deleted scene.
ALL ABOUT STEVE: BLU-RAY DEBUT
★ ★ ★
Rated: PG-13 for sexual content including innuendos
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Thomas Hayden Church, Bradley Cooper
Bullock seems to be enjoying herself thoroughly as Mary, a professional crossword puzzle constructor who knows the meaning of every word except no. It’s a little unclear at first whether Mary is borderline unhinged or admirably upbeat in the face of an unappreciative world. But Bullock eventually comes down on the side of likable eccentricity after falling ultra-passionately in love with a cable TV cameraman (Cooper) and pursuing him cross-country from one absurd news scene to another. Things go slightly awry near the end when “All about Steve” threatens to get overly sentimental, but for the most part it’s smart and surprising and consistently funny.
THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH: BLU-RAY DEBUT
★ ★ ★
Rated: No MPAA rating
Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes
Monroe’s character isn’t even given a name (she’s simply referred to as The Girl), which says a lot about the thinness of the scenario in this Broadway comedy adapted and directed by Billy Wilder in 1955. Nonetheless, she makes a vivid impression as the pure-of-heart sex bomb who tempts lonely hubby Tom Ewell (nervously torn between lust and trepidation) while his wife and kid are away on vacation. The ’50s sex farce is seriously dated but Ewell (who won a Golden Globe) is occasionally funny and, of course, the iconic shot of Monroe’s skirt shwooshing upward while standing on a subway grating makes it a must-see. “Itch” is also featured in the four-disc “Marilyn Forever” blu-ray box set along with “How to Marry a Millionaire,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “Some Like it Hot.”
ALSO NEW THIS WEEK
BLUE LIKE JAZZ
A devout young Baptist (Marshall Allman) attempts to step outside of his bible-belt upbringing by attending a party school for college. Steve Taylor (“The Second Chance”) wrote and directed the drama based on the best-selling memoir by Donald Miller. Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexuality, drug and alcohol content and some language.
FULL METAL JACKET 25TH ANNIVERSARY BLUE-RAY BOOK
Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 film about the Vietnam War gets a deluxe re-issue, complete with a 44-page book including a letter and personal reflections from star Matthew Modine. Extras include commentary by co-stars Adam Baldwin, Vincent D’Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey and screenwriter jack cocks, plus a bonus disc with the documentary “Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes.”
HIGH FIDELITY: BLU-RAY DEBUT
Director Stephen Frears’ adaptation of the novel by Nick Hornby about a record-store owner (John Cusack) with growing pains recounting his top-five breakups, including the one taking place at the moment. Rated R for language and some sexuality. Extras include conversations with Cusack and Frears plus deleted scenes.
This 2011 horror film from Thailand about a family that discovers their upscale gated community is seriously spooked won five top prizes at the National Film Awards including best picture — and was the year’s biggest domestic hit. No MPAA rating.
Ken Russell (“The Devils”) directed this lurid 1976 biopic about the composer Franz Liszt, featuring Roger Daltrey of “The Who.” Rated R.
The life story of the reggae superstar, featuring unreleased performances and rare behind-the-scenes footage. Kevin Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland”) directed the documentary.
SPACEBALLS: 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION BLU-RAY
Mel Brooks’ 1987 sci-fi movie parody (featuring Rick Moranis as a very short Darth Vader) gets the golden-anniversary treatment. Extras include commentary by Brooks, numerous featurettes, a stills gallery, film flubs and a storyboard-to-film comparison.
AVAILABLE NEXT WEEK:
“Jaws,” “Shaft” and “The Royal Tenenbaums” make their Blu-ray debut and “Master Qi and the Monkey King” documents a life devoted to Chinese opera in the United States.