Directed by Roger Donaldson
Starring Nicolas Cage, Guy Pearce, Harold Perrineau, January Jones
Anchor Bay//Rated R//Thriller//105 minutes
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, on demand, digital download
This conspiracy thriller is surprisingly credible and features the best Nicolas Cage performance in years. Following his wife's (Jones) brutal rape, English teacher Will Gerard (Cage), accepts the sort of offer you can't refuse from a stranger named Simon, played by Guy Pearce who talks softly and sports a shaved head. In return for a favor from Gerard at some future date, Simon's organization will kill the culprit. The next day Gerard receives proof the perpetrator is dead. Six months later, Gerard and his wife are beginning to put the attack behind them when Simon comes a calling. Gerard is ready to pass clandestine messages, but he isn't prepared to carry out a revenge killing. When Gerard is caught in the crossfire, he's obliged to run from both Simon and the cops. Well-acted and exquisitely paced, the film's impact depends upon whether or not you buy into Gerard's actions. Kicking his usually crazy mode to the curb, Cage made me believe. DVD or Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack features: Making of featurette, English or Spanish language tracks and subtitles.
MAN ON A LEDGE
* * * (B)
Directed by Asger Leth
Starring Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, Edward Burns, Anthony Mackie, Kyra Sedgwick
Summit Entertainment//Rated PG-13//Thriller//102 minutes
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, on demand, digital download
This sleeper thriller benefits from a sneaky plot and excellent performances by Sam Worthington and Elizabeth Burns. Worthington appears as Nick Cassidy, a cop framed for stealing a $40 million diamond from cutthroat businessman David Englander (Ed Harris). Aware Englander has half the NYPD in his pocket, Cassidy takes to a 21-story ledge and threatens to jump unless the cops produce the only negotiator he feels he can trust -- played by Banks. As she attempts to talk Nick down, we see a parallel plot unfold in the building next door. Putting this jigsaw puzzle together is fun, and infuriating because the film vacillates between the reality of Nick's predicament, but are assaulted by a "Mission Impossible" meets hip-hop, hyper-reality of the film's secondary plotline. Nick's persuasive ledge scenes make you want to give yourself over, however imperfect the story may be. The included "Ledge" feature is not to be missed. It details the three sets necessary to shoot these scenes, including an actual 21-story ledge where Worthington, who suffers from a fear of heights, shot some of his scenes. Don't even think about it. DVD or Blu-ray features: "The Ledge" Featurette, trailer with Elizabeth Banks's commentary, English or Spanish language tracks, and subtitles, widescreen.
GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE