Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) - Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane
Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) is caught in the middle of a race to find the Fountain of Youth between Britain and Spain. But when it comes to choosing between his own life and that of others, which side of his personality will win out? On Stranger Tides became available for download a couple of weeks ago so read the full recap here.
In Home Viewing Recommendation: If you liked the first three Pirates films, there's enough in this installment to make your DVD rental worthwhile. Just don't expect a lot.
Larry Crowne (2011) - Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Roxana Ortega
When he is fired from his longtime job at a discount superstore because of a lack of education, Larry (Hanks) enrolls in classes at community college where he learns a lot about life, love, and most of all, himself. There's a stretch of approximately eight minutes somewhere within the third act of Larry Crowne that is somewhat good. The rest of the 90 minute runtime is an atrocity, making this one of the more obnoxious and poorly made films of the year. I did not think it was possible to make Tom Hanks unappealing but Larry Crowne does its best.
IHVR: Please do not see this movie. I'm begging you.
Beginners (2011) - Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent
An aging father (Plummer) shocks his son (McGregor) by telling him that he has terminal cancer and simultaneously revealing his homosexuality. Most reviews for Beginners were overwhelmingly positive and in a down year for award-caliber films, I think you can count this as a dark horse for some award show attention.
IHVR: High scores on Rotten Tomatoes and what looks to be an outstanding performance by Plummer could make this a viable viewing.
Bellflower (2011) - Evan Glodell, Tyler Dawson, Jessie Wiseman
Two friends (Glodell and Dawson) have their plans of preparing for the coming apocalypse (by developing WMDs) thrown off by the introduction of a woman (Wiseman) into their lives. As with most concept films, the idea probably sounds more interesting than the movie actually is but reviews have been good and many have pegged Glodell as a director to watch in the future.
IHVR: I'm hoping Bellflower makes its way to Netflix Instant before too long.
Griff the Invisible (2010) - Ryan Kwanten, Maeve Dermody, Marshall Napier
A wannabe superhero (Kwanten) finds his life changed when he meets a scientist (Dermody) who aids him in his noble quest. Very few people saw this film (and probably for good reason) but I'd say there's a slight chance Griff has some quirky goodness to it.
IHVR: Netflix, Netflix, Netflix.
New to Blu Pick of the Week
Tom Cruise Blu-Ray Collection - Collateral, Days of Thunder, Minority Report, Top Gun, War of the Worlds
Okay, so most of these movies are already available on Blu Ray but come on, that's a solid collection of blockbuster awesomeness, right? Unlike many of you, I haven't soured on ol' Tom Cruise. Sure, the guy's a nutbag but his movies are smashing fun and really that's all I'm looking for in a movie star. I've never seen all of Days of Thunder and War of the Worlds is somewhat disappointing but the rest of this collection is great. Collateral gets better with every viewing, Minority Report is the rare piece of sci-fi that actually feels significant, and Top Gun is...well...Top Gun, the ultimate popcorn flick.
West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition (1961) - Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, George Chakiris (Blu-Ray)
I haven't seen West Side Story for two reason: 1.) I dislike musicals and 2.) I feel like I have seen it since it gets parodied and referenced all the time. But hey, you can't go wrong with a film that won ten Oscars, right?
My Fair Lady (1964) - Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison (Blu-Ray)
Evil Dead 2 (1987) - Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks (Blu-Ray)
Farscape: The Complete Series (1999-2003) - Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Anthony Simcoe (Blu-Ray)
The Prophecy (1995) - Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Viggo Mortensen (Blu-Ray)
Lion King (1994) - Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones (DVD Edition)
Being Human: Season 1 (2011) - Sam Witwer, Meaghan Rath, Sam Huntington
Main Street (2011) - Colin Firth, Ellen Burstyn, Patricia ClarksonTurtle: The Incredible Journey (2009) - Miranda Richardson