Blu Tuesday: Gran Torino, The International and Fired Up

It may be another slow week in the world of Blu-ray, but while you won’t find too many titles worth owning on the New Release shelf, there are a few movies that are at least worth a rental. Today’s catalog selection is also pretty lackluster (“Predator 2,” really?), so just consider this week another welcome opportunity to save up for the months to come.

“Gran Torino” (Warner Bros.)

Of course, one movie definitely worth purchasing is Clint Eastwood’s no-frills drama about a Korean War veteran whose neighborhood has become overrun by a community of Asian refugees called Hmong. Easily one of the best films of 2008, “Gran Torino” also managed to become a surprise hit at the box office. I’m not sure how (it’s a great movie, but it doesn’t exactly scream “mainstream”), but it’s just nice to see audiences embrace such a low-key drama. The movie also features Eastwood in one of his best performances to date – somehow making an unapologetic racist seem remarkably charming – but is biggest contribution is in casting of Bee Vang and Ahney Her, two relative unknowns who do an incredible job standing toe-to-toe with the acting veteran. The Blu-ray is pretty low-key itself, but fans will enjoy “The Eastwood Way,” an exclusive featurette about the making of the movie.

“The International” (Sony Pictures)

Though I still have yet to actually see the lukewarmly received crime thriller, it’s hard not to recommend “The International” based solely on the involvement of Clive Owen and Tom Tykwer, director of the cult film “Run Lola Run” and the hugely underrated “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.” Though it’s been called anti-climactic by many, it’s hard to deny the appeal of both men, not to mention the inclusion of Naomi Watts as Owen’s partner in crime. Still, movies don’t just get delayed or divide critics for any old reason, so you might want to approach “The International” with caution. If nothing else, at least you’ll get a decent collection of extras to browse through including a director/writer commentary, a making-of featurette and a look at recreating the Guggenheim for the film’s climactic shootout.

null“Fired Up” (Sony Pictures)

As a film critic, you’re taught to approach every film unbiased, but that’s complete and utter bullshit. For instance, I know that most movies starring Eddie Murphy are probably going to suck, and the same holds true for teen comedies like “Fired Up.” But here’s the kicker: “Fired Up” actually isn’t half bad. Sure, it’s formulaic and incredibly juvenile, but stars Nicholas D’Agosto and Eric Christian Olsen pile on the charm as a pair of high school seniors who decide to skip football camp in order to chase tail at cheerleading camp instead. It might sound stupid, but the writing is just good enough that there are just enough laughs (including some playful jabs at films like “Bring It On”) to keep you from checking your watch or rolling your eyes. The movie is still a fairly mindless teenage comedy when all is said and done, but you might be pleasantly surprised. Plus, there’s a nice collection of extras for Blu-ray owners including an unrated cut of the film, a making-of featurette, and a rather entertaining gag reel.

Also Out This Week:

“Predator 2” (20th Century Fox)
“Fatal Attraction” (Paramount)
“The Siege” (20th Century Fox)

  

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