Chris Hicks: Blu-ray release ‘Trouble With the Curve’ puts Clint Eastwood back in front of the camera
Clint Eastwood was lured in front of the cameras again for the little baseball comedy “Trouble With the Curve,” which leads a bevy of recent films that have come to home video this week.
“Trouble With the Curve” (Warner/Blu-ray + DVD + Digital, 2012, PG-13, two discs, $35.99, featurettes). Eastwood is great as a curmudgeonly, aging baseball scout threatened with being put out to pasture. He’s also estranged from his lawyer daughter (Amy Adams), who tries to develop a relationship with him on the road.
Fairly amusing picture could be funnier and definitely has a been-there-done-that vibe, but it makes the wise decision of relying heavily on the seasoned cast, and everyone is fun to watch, including Justin Timberlake, likable as another scout attracted to Adams, and the always-reliable John Goodman as Eastwood’s longtime pal in the front office. (Also on DVD, $29.98)
“Premium Rush” (Columbia, 2012, PG-13, $30.99, featurettes). Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a cocky bicycle messenger in this sharply directed thriller, cutting in and out of Manhattan traffic to elude a corrupt cop (Michael Shannon) who tries to prevent an envelope from being delivered. Implausible as all get out but exciting and funny enough to get away with it. (Also on Blu-ray combo, $35.99)
“Arbitrage” (Lionsgate, 2012; R for language, violence, drugs; $19.98, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes). Richard Gere is terrific playing a hedge-fund magnate in over his head as he desperately tries to close a deal that could otherwise unveil his less-than-ethical behavior. But just as he’s getting close, a deadly car crash with his mistress throws him into an even more dicey situation. Susan Sarandon is also good as his wife, along with Tim Roth as the cop trying to nail him. (Also on Blu-ray, $24.99)
“Sleepwalk With Me” (IFC/Blu-ray, PG-13, $29.98, featurettes, bloopers, trailer). Comic Mike Birbiglia co-wrote, directed and stars in this fictionalized autobiographical comedy based on his one-man show that related his experiences doing stand-up comedy on the road and his battle with an exhausting sleep disorder that causes him to act out his dreams. Funny and moving. (Also on DVD, $24.98)
“Liberal Arts” (IFC/Blu-ray, 2012, PG-13, $29.98, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurette, trailer). Josh Radnor, star of the “How I Met Your Mother” sitcom, wrote, directed, co-produced and stars in this gentle comic look at a 35-year-old college admissions advisor who yearns to relive his own college days. When he’s invited to his alma mater to speak at the retirement of a mentor, he revels in the opportunity, especially after meeting a 19-year-old student (Elizabeth Olsen) who seems to get it. Sweet and light as a feather. (Also on DVD, $24.98)
“Total Recall” (Columbia/Blu-ray + Digital, 2012, PG-13, two discs, $35.99, both the PG-13 and extended/unrated versions, audio commentary, featurettes, bloopers, “God of War” video game demo). This remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi thriller tries a more intellectual bent with Colin Farrell in the lead, and there are some nicely done special-effects sequences. But the script is nowhere near as clever as it tries to be. (Also on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo, $40.99, and DVD/Digital, $30.99)
“Pitch Perfect” (Universal/Blu-ray + DVD + Digital, 2012, PG-13, two discs, $34.98, deleted/extended scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes). Anna Kendrick exhibits charisma as an alienated college student who reluctantly joins a snooty a cappella choir headed for the championships they blew the year before. What could have been a lot of fun goes downhill rapidly with vile sex jokes and disgusting vomit humor, apparently aiming to be “Bridesmaids”-lite. (Also on DVD, $29.98)
“The Words” (Sony/Blu-ray, 2012, PG-13, $35.99, both the PG-13 and extended/unrated versions, featurettes). Fascinating idea, based loosely on a real incident involving a lost manuscript by Ernest Hemingway, is unfortunately an emotionally inert film. A successful author (Dennis Quaid) reads to an audience from his latest book, which we see acted out with Bradley Cooper playing a failed writer who finds an old, never-published transcript, passes it off as his own first novel, then feels enormous guilt. Jeremy Irons, Olivia Wilde and Zoe Saldna co-star. (Also on DVD, $39.99)
“The Good Doctor” (Magnolia, 2012, PG-13, $26.98, featurettes, trailer). Orlando Bloom is an insecure young doctor who craves approval from his superior, self-centered colleagues. Eventually he gets what he needs from a grateful young patient with a kidney infection, but when his self-esteem turns to obsession, he doesn’t want her to be released from the hospital. Odd, off-putting melodrama. (Also on Blu-ray, $29.98)
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