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Warrior (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy)





(OUT OF 10)

Here's a movie that virtually nobody went to see—and what a shame that is. Hopefully it will get some respect on home video.

Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy play Brendan and Tommy Conlon, two brothers in totally different situations. Joel has a family and teaches science in high school, and his salary isn't quite cutting it. Tom did a stint in the military, and has fallen on hard and confusing times. Both of them can throw a punch and kick, and they are monsters in the cage. They both have fighting backgrounds, and both start fighting again, working their way through a big-money tournament—up to a surprising conclusion.

You don't need to be a mixed-martial-arts fan to appreciate this movie. It's drawn comparisons to the original Rocky, and for good reason: This is a rousing, floor-stomper of a movie, and the two leads give great emotional and physical performances. They did much of their own fighting in this film, which must've involved supreme levels of pain.

I haven't even gotten to the best part: Nick Nolte gives what I believe to be his best performance as Brendan and Tommy's father. Nolte tore my heart out in this thing, and he is a viable contender for an Oscar. He has a scene in a hotel room that is without a doubt one of the best-acted scenes of the year.

Don't let the sports theme turn you off if you aren't into sports movies. This one goes deep to deliver something altogether exciting and heartwarming.

SPECIAL FEATURES: There's a filmmaker commentary that also features Edgerton, and it's fun to hear what he went through during the filming. There are plenty of documentaries and behind-the-scenes features depicting how they pulled this one off. You also get a gag reel and deleted scenes.

The Expendables: Extended Director's Cut (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

Sylvester Stallone has been talking about a director's cut for this movie for quite some time—and he has finally delivered it.

Is it a better movie? Not really.

This cut puts about 11 minutes of footage back into the film—footage that helps with character development. Problem is, the things that made this film less than spectacular had little to do with character development, and more to do with a crappy cast and bad CGI gore. You will find some cute new banter between Sly and Jason Statham, and a few other chances for cast members to shine. Unfortunately, you'll still find the shitty special effects and Dolph Lundgren trying to act. The best thing about the movie is still Terry Crews' gun.

Since the release of the first Blu-ray, a sequel has been green-lit. Things look a lot more promising this time: Arnold Schwarzenegger gets to fire a gun; Bruce Willis has an expanded role; and new cast members include Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris. Now we are getting somewhere! Rumor had it that Taylor Lautner almost got into the film. Bummer! No Lautner abs!

SPECIAL FEATURES: With this Blu-ray, you can't simply get rid of the previous edition. Stallone's commentary is on the previously released Blu-ray, but is nowhere to be found here. You do get a couple of Stallone intros, with him insisting that he likes this version of the film better. You also get a behind-the-scenes doc that was included on the first release—but little else.

Midnight in Paris (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

Say hello to the most overrated film of 2011!

For the first chunk of its running time, Woody Allen's latest looks like it could be up there with his charming, magical best. By the time the movie ends, it's just another subpar Allen film with no real direction and an unsatisfactory conclusion.

Owen Wilson turns in a good performance as Gil, a Hollywood writer vacationing in Paris with his wife-to-be (an inconsistent Rachel McAdams). When he goes for midnight strolls, he ends up hobnobbing with the likes of Ernest Hemingway (a funny Corey Stoll), Pablo Picasso (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo) and Salvador Dali (Adrien Brody in a brief yet amusing turn).

He winds up giving his novel to Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) for a critique, romancing a 1920s "art groupie" (Marion Cotillard) and losing interest in his real life. What could have been a grand statement about the complexities of the artistic life winds up being an excuse to show McAdams' butt a lot. (Allen lets the camera linger on her butt for many minutes. I'm not complaining; I'm just sayin'.)

The ending feels tacked on, and a film idea that rivals the wonders of Allen's own The Purple Rose of Cairo sort of fizzles. Great premise; tired execution.

SPECIAL FEATURES: You get a featurette and a photo gallery. That's it.

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