RT on DVD: Bank Job, Step Up 2, and a Bat-Marathon
Host your own Batman movie marathon with our DVD guide, plus the week's new releases.
The Bank Job
Brit action star Jason Statham (The Transporter) makes a solid career choice in this riveting, well-paced heist flick based on actual events. Toning down his proclivity for fast-paced action roles with an actual drama, Statham exercises his acting chops as the leader of a gang of robbers who stumble upon the scandalous secrets of London's underworld -- and, yes, he does get a few roundhouse kicks in to boot.
Here's a DVD that extends your enjoyment of the film with only a handful of extra features. Director Roger Donaldson (Cocktail) is joined by actress Saffron Burrows and his composer, J. Peter Robinson, in a feature-length commentary that should be interesting to those curious about the real-life events that inspired the film. When the robbery occurred in 1971 London, a government-issued media blackout silenced news coverage, ostensibly to protect the scandalous young royal whose indiscretions may have been uncovered by the contents of stolen safety deposit boxes -- a turn of events indeed stranger than fiction.
Step Up 2 The Streets
If our culture's current So You Think You Can Be America's Best Dancing With The Stars' Crew obsession is any indication, we loves us some dancing. And if you know the names Comfort, Twitch, and Kherington, then here is a DVD that was made for you. In the sequel to 2006's Step Up (the movie that bestowed upon womankind the gift that is Channing Tatum) first-time director Jon M. Chu gives America what they want: namely, another star-crossed romance with much, much more hipping and hopping. Where Step Up remained largely in the contemporary dance world (yawn), its sequel, introducing the impressive booty-shaking talents of Briana Evigan and Robert Hoffman, takes us where we really want to go: the streets!
In addition to deleted scenes and music videos, director Jon Chu takes you backstage on the very first day of his very first feature film, as well as rehearsals with the cast's very talented dancers. In the disc's best feature, watch America's Best Dance Crew, the JabbaWockeez, in an amazing full dance scene that is only glimpsed in the film -- it's one of the best routines you'll ever see. Just be prepared to hear a LOT of "Apple bottom jeans, boots with the furrrrr," because Flo-Rida's "Low" plays over and over throughout the DVD. .
College Road Trip
Road trip, or train wreck? Martin Lawrence makes another journey into dumb hijinks territory as an overprotective dad taking his eager-to-leave-home daughter (Raven-Symone) on a cross-country trip to visit colleges. Note to Lawrence: When Donny Osmond is your co-star -- and he gets bigger laughs then you -- it's time to reconsider your career choices.
Two featurettes (one with Raven-Symone and director Roger Kumble, the other with the two screenwriters) are probably two too many for this lame G-rated affair. A gag reel dominated by Donny Osmond outtakes might just be the best extra of the bunch.
Christina Ricci is back playing another quirky chick in Penelope, a modern-day fairytale about a high-society girl cursed with the snout of a pig. Can James McAvoy's roguish gambler cure her affliction...with love? Despite a solid supporting cast (Catherine O'Hara, actor-producer Reese Witherspoon), muddled directing by Mark Palansky and a script that turns out a notch below magical divided critics.
A spare DVD menu doesn't say much for Summit Entertainment's enthusiasm for the flick, although the disc does feature a tantalizing (and completely unrelated) sneak peek at the upcoming teen vampire flick, Twilight (based on the uber-popular novels by Stephanie Meyer).
The original 2004 Thai version scored well with critics (79%), but Hollywood hasn't yet learned how to avoid making much crappier versions of Asian horror films. Behold, the latest tired remake to hit DVD: Shutter, starring Dawson's Creek alum Joshua Jackson and Transformers hottie Rachael Taylor. You won't find anything new here; rent the Thai version instead. Sometimes reading subtitles are worth the trouble.
You'll find a three-minutes longer unrated cut (plus featurettes, deleted scenes, and commentary), which just might prove better than the theatrical PG-13 version. But probably not.
'Til next week, happy viewing!