A film designed to get under your skin leads new movies on Blu-ray and DVD this week.
"Contagion" (Warner/Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy, 2011, PG-13, two discs, $35.99). The idea isn't original — think "The Andromeda Strain" or "Outbreak" — but this yarn about a lethal virus that travels quickly and internationally is very well directed by Steven Soderbergh as it unfolds primarily through the eyes of Matt Damon's character.
This is a horror movie wrapped up in a medical procedural and it's generally an ensemble piece, with Damon's wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) as the first carrier we see. Then a parade of familiar faces (Laurence Fishburne, Kate Winslet, Elliott Gould, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard) appear as the film takes on an almost documentary-style narrative to connect the dots about deceptively simple human acts causing the disease to spread.
The film is as cold as the chills felt by the victims but it's also gripping. You'll be washing your hands a lot after watching this one.
Extras: widescreen; Blu-ray, DVD and digital versions; featurettes (also on single-disc DVD, $28.98)
"The Guard" (Sony Classics/Blu-ray, 2011; R for language, violence, sex; $35.99). Profane (and a bit hard to understand at times, given the thick accents) but this comedy-mystery-thriller is also very funny as a bombastic, bigoted Irish cop (Brendan Gleason) in a small village finds his territory invaded by an uptight American FBI agent (Don Cheadle), and they are, of course, forced to work together.
Extras: widescreen, deleted/extended scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, outtakes, short film: "The Second Death" (also on DVD, $30.99)
"Brighton Rock" (IFC, 2010; R for violence, language, sex; $24.98). A good cast (including Helen Mirren, John Hurt and Andy Serkis) tries to lift this convoluted English gangster picture set in the mid-1960s about a young tough (Sam Riley) set on silencing an innocent witness (Andrea Riseborough) until he falls for her. Based on a Graham Greene novel.
Extras: widescreen, featurettes, trailer
"Shark Night" (Fox/Blu-ray + Digital Copy, PG-13, two discs, $39.99). Attractive college kids become chum in this sleazy, dopey horror flick from the director of "Snakes on a Plane." Ferocious computer-animated sharks attack when jocks and co-eds vacation on an island in the middle of an infested Louisiana lake.
Extras: widescreen, Blu-ray and digital versions, featurettes (also on DVD, $29.99)