Freshly released from prison, Driver (Dwayne Johnson) runs several miles to reach his muscle car (a black 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS with white stripes), cached in a junk yard. He pilots the vehicle at top speed, and within minutes, it becomes clear that Driver will have his revenge against the double-crossers responsible for his brother's death, or die trying. Johnson's physicality is paramount for this action role, but the script makes use of his ability to convey Driver's deep hurt. Hot on his trail are Bakersfield, California, detectives, Cicero (Carla Gugino), and her burnout partner known only as Cop and outfitted with complex motives suiting Billy Bob Thornton to a tee. Killer (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), an assassin with a penchant for extreme sports, pursues Driver despite the objections of his beautiful girlfriend (Maggie Grace). Tersely written by Tony and Joe Gayton, "Driver" is a lean story, efficiently filmed to feature Driver's car as a supporting character. The film reveals each player through his actions, while tucking one final twist into its closing moments. DVD features: Alternate ending and deleted scenes with director's introductions, English language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: The cast, The Guns, Cars and Stunts, Animatics, MovieIQ+sync.
127 HOURS (2010/A/Directed by Danny Boyle/Starring James Franco, Kate Burton, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn, Clemence Poesy, Lizzy Caplan/Fox/Rated R/Drama/112 minutes): James Franco delivers a stunning, Oscar-nominated performance as real-life outdoorsman, Aron Ralston. While hiking alone, Ralston's hand becomes pinned by a boulder in a narrow, remote Utah canyon. Over the course of the next five days, Ralston first struggles valiantly to free himself, then to keep up his morale, and finally to make an unimaginable last ditch sacrifice in an effort to survive his ordeal. Franco's depiction lays bare Ralston's fears, regrets and strengths in a most affecting way. Even if you know how the story ends as I did when seeing this, the riveting drama is well-paced and benefits from tremendous camera work, and Franco's performance that never lets us down. DVD features: director, producer and co-screenwriter commentary, Deleted scenes, English, French and Spanish language tracks, widescreen. Blu-ray features: Blu-ray features same plus: Search and rescue: Actual events that aided the search and rescue of Aron Ralston, 127 Hours: An Extraordinary View a unique collaboration between the director and actor, God of Love: short film by Luke Matheny, Digital Copy of movie, Live extras: Go behind the scenes with new exclusive footage.
BURLESQUE (2010/C/Director Steven Antin/Starring Christina Aguilera, Cher, Cam Gigandet, Peter Gallagher, Stanley Tucci, Kristen Bell, Alan Cumming/Screen Gems/Rated PG-13/119 minutes): Once Director Steven Antin secured Christina Aguilera's participation, it fell to his friend, David Geffen (also Cher's close friend) to persuade the diva to play a diva. Since Cher insisted her role be filmed in just 20 days, Antin was frequently obliged to shoot around the absent actress. Aguilera portrays Ali, a naive, talented young performer mesmerized by Tess's (Cher) decaying burlesque theater. When given her shot, Ali wows 'em with her big voice, but the offstage action is poorly scripted and unsatisfying despite the presence of Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci and Alan Cumming.
LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS (2010/B-/Directed by Edward Zwick/Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Gabriel Macht, Josh Gad, Judy Greer, George Segal, Jill Clayburgh/Fox/Rated R/Drama/112 minutes/Available on: DVD and Blu-ray): Jamie Randall (Gyllenhaal) is a charming Viagra salesman who falls for Maggie Murdock (Hathaway), a free-spirited woman he meets when she is the doctor's office. Though both think they are looking for a casual hook up, fun in sack leads to falling in love despite 26-year-old Maggie's early-onset Parkinson's. The drama is kept light while the life of a pharmaceutical rep provides frequent comic respite. DVD features: Deleted Scenes, An Actor's Discussion: Relationship between Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, Beautifully Complex: Anne Hathaway Is Maggie, Reformed Womanizer: Jake Gyllenhaal Is Jamie, Selling Love & Other Drugs, English, French or Spanish language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen. Blu-ray features same plus: Go behind the scenes with new exclusive footage, Digital Copy, Live Lookup powered by IMDb.
S.W.A.T.: FIRE FIGHT (2011/C-/Directed by Benny Boom/Starring Robert Patrick, Gabriel Macht, Giancarlo Esposito, Kristanna Loken, Carly Pope/Sony/Rated R/Action/89 minutes/Available on: DVD and Blu-ray): Top Los Angeles S.W.A.T. operator Paul Cutler (Macht) agrees to help Detroit's S.W.A.T. team become certified, but tension soon divides Detroit's members as they attempt to adjust to an outsider as well as to the team's first female member. Robert Patrick appears as a crazed government assassin intent upon executing Cutler and anyone standing in his way. Lacking well-choregraphed action sequences, and saddled with a tired script, "Fire fight" is awash in stereotypes and predictable turns. DVD or Blu-ray features: Behind-the-Scenes featurette: Sharp Shooting: On the Set, English or French language tracks, Spanish subtitles, widescreen.
DINOSAURS 3D: GIANTS OF PATAGONIA (2007/B-/Directed by Marc Fafard/Narrated by Donald Sutherland/Image/Not Rated/Documentary/40 minutes/Available on: DVD and Blu-ray/Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack): Produced for IMAX and released on a single Blu-ray disc to accommodate both 2D and 3D consumers, "Giants Of Patagonia" contains several inspired moments. Giant herbivores are filmed from below, a prehistoric landscape is seen from a flying pterodactyl's eye-view, and a breathtaking shot depicts humans dwarfed by the skeletons of these massive creatures. Yet the film lacks both new information and compelling action. Its narrative, delivered conversationally by Donald Sutherland, simply drones on. Rodolfo Coria, an Argentinian paleontologist whose team unearthed the bones of both the largest carnivores and their oversized prey, is a self-serving documentary subject who wastes far too much of the film's short runtime extolling his own virtues. DVD or Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features: Making of feature, English or French language tracks, widescreen.
BAMBI (1942/B/Directed by David D. Hand/Voiced by Hardie Albright, Peter Behn, Stan Alexander/Sterling Holloway, Cammie King, Ann Gillis, Hardie Albright, Peter Behn, Donnie Dunagan, Sam Edwards, Bobby Stewart, John Sutherland, Paula Winslowe/Disney/Rated G/Animated-Family/70 minutes/Available on: Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack): Disney's wide-eyed fawn is a far reaching symbol of vulnerability and innocence when his childhood is shattered because hunters kill his mother. Bambi's horrific upset is darkly portrayed, but eventually gives way to his delightful friendships with Thumper and Flower (a rabbit and a skunk) who take Bambi under their paws and help him grow into a strapping buck. 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features: film on both DVD and Blu-ray in a Remastered Special Edition, Introduction by Diane Disney Miller, 2 never-before-seen deleted scenes, Deleted song, Inside Walt's Story Meetings - enhanced edition, Disney big book of knowledge game, Interactive blu-ray galleries, Classic DVD bonus features, English, French or Spanish English language tracks, full-screen.
Also Out This Week
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: TRIANGLE FIRE (2011/Directed by Jamila Wignot/Narrator Michael Murphy/PBS Video/Not Rated/Documentary/60 minutes/Available on: DVD): Many lives were lost before worker safety received the attention it deserves. This documentary, produced for PBS, depicts the unsafe conditions contributing to the tragic deaths of garment workers toiling in New York's Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. In 1911, a raging fire trapped workers on the ninth floor with no escape. Many women leapt to their deaths rather than burn, shaking New Yorkers to the core. Afterwards, union organizers, reformers and politicians crafted and enacted more than 36 safety laws. DVD features: English language tracks, widescreen.
IMAX: THE ULTIMATE WAVE - TAHITI 3D (2009/Directed by Stephen Low/Narrated by Michael Hanrahan/Hosted by Kelly Slater, Raimana Van Bastolaer/Image/Not Rated/Documentary/45 minutes/Available on: DVD and Blu-ray): World champion Kelly Slater and Tahitian surfer Raimana Van Bastolaer are joined by other surfers in pursuit of the best waves at Tahiti's Teahupo'o. Amidst the surf action, the camera dives into the heart of a storm and beneath the breakers, exploring the coral reefs in search of the source of wave energy. DVD or Blu-ray features: Vignettes: Board Design, Kelly, Raimana, Tahiti, Wave Science, About Tahiti, Trailers, English, French or Spanish language tracks, widescreen.