Three foreign films lead off these new movies that have found their way to DVD and Blu-ray this week.
"Jiro Dreams of Sushi" (Magnolia, 2011, PG, $26.98, in Japanese with English subtitles, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, trailer). "You have to love your job," Jiro says during this enchanting documentary. And the 85-year-old sushi chef certainly loves his, running a small — very small, just 10 seats — sushi bar in a Tokyo subway station.
And people come from all over the world to partake, making reservations months ahead and paying as much as $300 a plate.
When it's not making you hungry, this lean documentary is making you think about your own work, as well as your life, and especially your family.
Simple and elegant describes both the amazing level of perfection pursued by Jiro in the meals he prepares and this lovely film, which is highly entertaining as well as thought provoking. (Also on Blu-ray, $29.98.)
"Footnote" (Sony Classics/Blu-ray, 2011, PG, $35.99, in Hebrew with English subtitles, featurettes). This Israeli film is described on the box as a "wise and playful comedy." Wise and playful, yes (albeit with an occasionally irritating music soundtrack), but only half comedy.
Comedy-drama is a better description of this tale of a father and son who are rival Talmudic scholars, the son reveling in accolades and the father a purist, both driven to extremes by fateful events.
"The Monitor" (Lionsgate, 2011; R for violence; $26.98, in Norwegian with English subtitles, deleted scenes, trailers). Swedish actress Noomi Rapace ("Prometheus") stars in this supernatural story of a woman who escapes her abusive husband with their 8-year-old son and hides out in Oslo.
She buys a baby monitor to keep tabs on the boy but it seems to pick up violent screams. A neighbor elsewhere in the apartment building, perhaps? Or is she losing her mind? OK thriller gets a big boost from Rapace's compelling performance.
"Silent House" (Universal/Blu-ray + DVD + Digital, 2012; R for violence; two discs, $34.98, audio commentary). Seemingly shot in one long take by the folks who gave us "Open Water," this haunted-house yarn has Elizabeth Olsen (so good in "Martha Marcy May Marlene") playing a scream queen. A few jolts but you've seen it all before. (Also on single-disc DVD, $29.98.)
"Meeting Evil" (Sony, 2012; R for graphic violence, language; $26.99). Luke Wilson loses his job, finds his house is in foreclosure and then Samuel L. Jackson knocks on his door, looking for help with his stalled car.
Hapless Wilson offers assistance but soon finds himself in the company of a psychopath who kills for pleasure. Very dark satirical thriller, sort of cross between "Changing Lanes" and "God Bless America."Comment on this story
"Brake" (IFC/Blu-ray, 2012; R for violence, language; $29.98, audio commentary, featurettes, music video, trailer). Secret Service agent Stephen Dorff is kidnapped by terrorists who want information about the president in exchange for the safety of his family. Well paced but implausible and claustrophobic, with an annoying ending. (Also on DVD, $26.98.)
"My Way" (Well Go, 2011; R for graphic violence; $26.98, in Korean with English subtitles, featurettes, trailers). Supposedly about two young marathon runners during World War II, one Korean and the other Japanese, both taken prisoner by the Soviets and later forced to fight for Nazis. But it's really about the horrors of war, which is, sadly, undermined by shaky camera work and quick-cut editing. (Also on Blu-ray, $29.98.)
"Treasure Island" (Vivendi/Syfy, 2012, $19.97, audio commentary, featurettes, trailer). Two-part British TV miniseries adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel about pirates looking for buried treasure stars Eddie Izzard as Long John Silver, with Donald Sutherland as Flint and Elijah Wood as Ben Gunn. Weak production of the oft-filmed story will give you new respect for the Disney version. (Also on Blu-ray, $29.95.)