American Gangster
There's nothing quite as unsightly as smuggling your heroin into the country by hiding it with the slain soldiers returning from Vietnam. But what is quite slightly is a cast of excellent actors to tell the story -- namely Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Josh Brolin, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. From the directorial hands of Ridley Scott, the film follows the story of the infamous Frank Lucas -- a man who soared from lowly driver to huge drug kingpin -- one who controlled Manhattan's heroin trade. On the one side there's Frank, making boatloads of money and being a heroin powerhouse. On the other, there's the man (Crowe) who tries to bring him down.

And, in my continuing efforts to give Joe Morton as much props as I can, he pops up in the film as Charlie Williams.

As for the DVD, the main one looks pretty darned tempting. You've got both the original theatrical version and extended, unrated version on the first disc, plus a whole slew on the second: deleted scenes (inc. an alternate opening), a feature-length documentary on making the film, and "Case Files" -- 3 segments on how the film was brought to life.

However, there's also a super 3-Disc Edition: Aside from the above goodies, there's a booklet, and a whole third music-centric disc if you want to get down with guns, drugs, and tunes.

Check Out James' Review | Buy the DVD

Michael Clayton
It's already surprised many for scoring itself 7 Oscar nominations this year, including Best Motion Picture and Best Director, but while it may come as an awards surprise, it is still a solid film and a great alternative to George Clooney's Ocean's fare. This time around, Clooney stars as Clayton, the "fixer" at a big law firm who knows how to clean up the messes and avoid embarrassment at work, but not so much at home. When his colleague goes nuts, he is not only struggling with himself but also the fight to save the company's name. As James Rocchi described it in his review: "Michael Clayton is at its best when it sticks to hard-bitten, this-is-how-the-world-works scenes between employers and employees, fathers and sons, executives and lawyers. Gilroy (with the help of supremely talented cinematographer Robert Elswit) captures a chilly world of urban grandeur and decay where the light's as gray as the choices people make."

The DVD features aren't plentiful, but there are some additional scenes and a commentary that features writer/director Tony Gilroy and editor John Gilroy.

Check Out James' Review | Buy the DVD

Other New DVD Releases (February 19)

Lust, Caution
In the Valley of Elah
Rendition
Margot at the Wedding

Check out Peter Martin's Indies on DVD for even more new releases.