Ben Stiller’s THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, which I wasn’t too impressed by last December, leads the line-up of new releases on Blu ray and DVD today. Stiller’s adaptation of the James Thurber short story, which felt to me and many others (it has a 49% rating on the Rotten Tomatometer) to resemble a feature length commercial, comes with a slew of Special Features including Deleted, Extended, and Alternate Scenes (equaling around 15 minutes), a bunch of Behind the Scenes featurettes, Gallery: Reference Photography, "Stay Alive" music video (Jose Gonzales), and the Theatrical Trailer.
A movie I liked a little bit better, Stephen Frears’ PHILOMENA, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, also hits home video today. Although the fine film, about a cynical journalist (Coogan, of course) aiding an elderly Irishwoman (Dench) in her search for the son she was forced to give up for adoption, didn’t win any of the four Oscars (surprisingly, it was up for Best Picture) it was nominated for, its Blu ray and DVD release boasts a bevy of high-end bonus material. First up, there’s a commentary with writer/actorpProducer Steve Coogan and Screenwriter Jeff Pope, “A Conversation With Judi Dench” (8:54), a short (under 3 minutes) featurette “The Real Philomena Lee,” and a almost 25-minute Q & A With Steve Coogan from the film’s Guild Screening in Los Angeles last December.
Next up, a film that I thought was just released theatrically (actually it was in January – the year is flying by) also releases this week: Tim Story’s poorly reviewed but crowd pleasing action comedy RIDE ALONG, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. I skipped the film because I’ve not yet found Hart to be funny, but for those of you who do here’s what Special Features are included: Director’s commentary with Story, Gag Reel, Locations Tour, alternate ending, deleted scenes, and various featurettes.
Also out today: Peter Lepeniotis' animated squirrel comedy THE NUT JOB, Chris Nelson's high school sex comedy DATE AND SWITCH, Ralph Fiennes' Charles Dickens drama THE INVISIBLE WOMAN (read my review), Deborah Chow's adaptation of V.C. Andrews' 1979 bestseller FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC (starring Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn), Steven Rosenbaum's 2002 9/11 documentary 7 DAYS IN SEPTEMBER, Kasi Lemmons' musical drama BLACK NATIVITY, and Geoff Moore and David Posamentier's comedy drama BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY.
On the older films out this week in fancy new Blu ray editions front there's Orson Welles' undisputed 1958 classic TOUCH OF EVIL, Billy Wilder's 1944 thriller DOUBLE INDEMNITY (another undisputed classic), Anthony Mann’s 1957 Korean War film MEN IN WAR, Douglas Sirk’s 1948 film noir thriller SLEEP, MY LOVE, and the Criterion Collection deluxe edition of Lars Von Trier's heated 1996 drama BREAKING THE WAVES.