Kate Winslet once joked during a guest appearance on HBO's 'Extras' that she needed to find a Holocaust movie to win an Oscar. Well, maybe it wasn't so much of a joke. Winslet walked home with her first Academy Award for playing a rather sexy (and oftentimes disrobed) ex-Nazi in 'The Reader,' which hits DVD today.
Meanwhile, the villainous Samuel L. Jackson dresses up as a Nazi for no good reason in one scene of the ultra-dud 'The Spirit,' which is about the most this week's two major releases have in common.
Get the full scoop on this week's DVD and Blu-ray releases, plus our recommendations from weeks' past.
What It's About: A middle-aged lawyer (Ralph Fiennes) recalls the days of his post-WWII youth (played by David Kross) he spent having hot and heavy sexytime with an older woman (Kate Winslet), only to discover later she's a Nazi accused of war crimes.
It's Kind of Like: 'The Graduate' meets 'Schindler's List'
What We Say: In a year where "sympathetic Nazi" films were amazingly abundant (see also 'Good' and 'Boy in the Striped Pajamas'), 'The Reader' was the most high-profile, the most controversial ... and the most superior. Far from a black-and-white portrait, it's intriguing and deeply thought-provoking. Once we get past all the flesh, that is. (We will say: It's harder to enjoy sex scenes when you know one's a Nazi.)
Award Tour: Stephen Daldry's drama generally divided critics but still snuck its way into the Oscar race, gaining momentum in the final weeks and stealing a Best Picture nomination. It lost there, but Kate Winslet finally took home the gold (after five previous noms) for her powerful age-spanning performance.
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What It's About: The titular masked crimefighter (Gabriel Macht) returns from the dead to battle the evildoing Octopus (Samuel L. Jackson). That's about it.
It's Kind of Like: 'Sin City' meets the worst superhero movie ever made
What We Say: A disaster of epic proportions, this all style, no-substance train wreck from comic book god-turned-movie director Frank Miller (who co-made 'Sin City' with Robert Rodriguez) grows tiresome within the first five minutes ... and goes on for 98 more. It's hard not to feel embarrassed for everyone involved.
On the Other Hand: USA Today's Claudia Puig thinks "its campy adventure provides some amusing, escapist fun." (The movie registered a 14 percent approval rating on RottenTomatoes.)
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Other New Releases This Week:
New on Blu-ray: