You do NOT want to step on Clint Eastwood's lawn in 'Gran Torino,' a vigilante drama that proved one of 2008's biggest surprise hits. Meanwhile, Clive Owen fulfills many a current fantasy by taking on a global network of evil bankers in 'The International.' Get the full scoop on this week's DVD and Blu-ray releases, plus our recommendations from weeks' past. 'Gran Torino'
What It's About: Grumpy Korean war vet Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) -- a man so angry at life he's literally prone to growl like a dog -- decides to come to the defense of his Hmong neighbors when a local gang tries to force initiation on the quiet teenage boy. (Just so long as they stay off his lawn...)
It's Kind of Like: 'Dirty Harry' in retirement
What We Say: Eastwood fans ate this one up at the box office to the tune of $148 million, making it one of the year's biggest surprise hits. And Eastwood makes for a reliably intriguing hero (growling aside); the film packs a punch, too. But there's something so disconcerting about the relentlessness with which Walt drops ethnic and racial slurs, even once he's befriended his immigrant neighbors, and often for comedic effect. If Eastwood's the hero, what's his moniker, Super Bigot?
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What It's About: It's Clive Owen against the world as an Interpol agent who, along with the help of a US assistant district attorney (Naomi Watts), attempts to bring down a arms-dealing, globe-ruling, omnipresent network of villains otherwise known as -- you guessed it? -- bankers.
It's Kind of Like: Clive Owen finally playing James Bond
What We Say: Talk about a topical thriller. Who's not ready to root against bankers right now? Of course here they're not just execs taking fat bonuses while driving the economy into a recession, but murderous corporate thugs bent on global domination. So yes, 'The International' takes a bit of suspension of belief, but it's still a riveting and high-voltage thriller worth the watch.
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Special Edition Spotlight: 'Woodstock': 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition
It took a whole one year for 'Woodstock' the film to hit theaters after Woodstock the landmark 1969 event, and revelers were certainly still in the mood for love, peace and music: The documentary made $50 million, an astounding take for a concert movie in 1970 (that's, like, bigger than 'Miley Cyrus' money). This new three-disc edition includes a newly remastered Director's Cut that runs four hours and features never-seen-before performances by the Grateful Dead, The Who, Jefferson Airplane and more. Not enough? The box set also includes a commemorative reprint from Life Magazine, an iron-on Woodstock patch, and reproductions of festival tickets. This one comes with about everything but the grass.
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Other New Releases:
'Spinning Into Butter'
New on Blu-ray:
The Weinstein Company