Tuesday, February 22, 2011;
The following is a list of soon-to-be released DVDs. All capsule reviews have been taken from The Washington Post's Weekend section.
"127 Hours" (R, 90 minutes): "127 Hours" tells the true story of Aron Ralston, a climber who in 2003 became trapped in a slot canyon in Utah, his right arm pinned under a falling boulder. Most of the buzz about the movie, which stars James Franco as Ralston, centers on the film's climax, when Ralston breaks and then amputates his own arm in order to escape certain death. Although Ralston's act of desperation is difficult to watch, viewers who might avoid the film out of squeamishness would be depriving themselves of a most exhilarating cinematic experiences. British filmmaker Danny Boyle is helped enormously in his endeavor by Franco, who as Ralston embodies the intrepid outdoorsman's exuberance and charm, but also his darker flip side of isolation and arrogance. When Ralston sets out for Utah's Blue John Canyon, he's told no one where he's going; his belief in his own physical and mental superiority makes him feel above safety rules. That exceptionalism will prove pivotal once he's trapped in a narrow sandstone crevice for five days. Contains profanity and some disturbing violent content and bloody images.
"Burlesque" (PG-13, 100 minutes): The first genuine showstopper in the musical "Burlesque" is a brassy, bawdy anthem called "Welcome to Burlesque," a valentine to pure camp made all the more exhilarating in that it marks Cher's return to the big screen after a too-long seven-year hiatus. Granted, this uneven but infectiously cheery movie is clearly designed around Cher's co-star, pop star Christina Aguilera, who in her feature film debut bumps and grinds and shimmies and belts her way to certain stardom. But "Burlesque" also offers a case study in what has made the 64-year-old Cher such a captivating and enduring presence, a star of the glitzy old school. This corny guilty pleasure of a movie is a fitting two-hander for these seasoned pros. Aguilera plays the young, ambitious singer-dancer Ali Rose, who teeters out of her Iowa trailer park to make it big in Hollywood. While roaming the Sunset Strip, she comes under the wise tutelage of Cher's Tess, who runs the Burlesque Lounge, a fading temple of rococo excess and tatty retro glamour. Contains sexual content, including several suggestive dance routines, partial nudity, profanity and thematic material.
"Love & Other Drugs" (R, 113 minutes): Give Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway this much: They have the best eyes in the business. That's the most cheering takeaway from "Love & Other Drugs," a jagged little pill of a movie from Edward Zwick. Here, Zwick turns his attention to millennials riding the financial bubble at the turn of the 21st century. The film plays like a grotesque group portrait of pigs at the trough. And none of those pigs is feeding more blithely than Jamie Randall (Gyllenhaal), a charming rake and underachiever who becomes a pharmaceutical salesman for Pfizer; during his rounds he meets Maggie (Hathaway), a spiky bohemian whose elbows-out demeanor belies a meltingly soft center inside. As a couple with deep commitment issues, Gyllenhaal and Hathaway generate a simmering erotic heat, and when the story takes a serious turn, she especially keeps things tartly crisp and safely out of "Love Story" melodrama. Contains strong sexual content, nudity, pervasive profanity and drug material.
Also on DVD and Blu-ray: "Bambi: Diamond Edtion"; "Faster"; "Troubadors: The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter."