There's finally some action coming to home entertainment shelves this week: We're blessed with 'True Grit,' a Coen brothers film that breathes new life into the Western genre; Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston fans will welcome the rom-com 'Just Go With It'; drama buffs can commiserate with the unemployed guys of 'The Company Men'; adventurers can swim along with the action in 'Sanctum'; lovers of small, intimate and well-acted tales will appreciate Mike Leigh's 'Another Year'; and film cultists will revel in 'Rubber,' an indie film about a tire that comes to life and goes on a killing spree. And there's much more. Read on.
What It's About: The Coen brothers do justice to Charles Portis' novel about a 14-year-old girl who, along with an aging U.S. marshal and another lawman, tracks her father's killer in hostile Indian territory. Mattie Ross's (Hailee Steinfeld) father has been shot in cold blood by the coward Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), and she is determined to bring him to justice. Enlisting the help of trigger-happy, drunken U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges), she sets out with him -- over his objections -- to hunt down Chaney. Her father's blood demands that she pursue the criminal and find him before a Texas Ranger named LeBoeuf (Matt Damon) catches him and brings him back to Texas for the murder of another man.
It's Kinda Like: 'Hang 'Em High' meets 'Blood Simple'
What We Say: The Coen Brothers have made this Western their own, not doing a remake of the 1969 'True Grit,' which starred John Wayne, but adapting the book anew, retaining the flavor and language of the written word -- but on the big screen. Where the original film was a showcase for John Wayne (and starred Kim Darby as the teen, Wayne and Glen Campbell as the lawmen, Jeff Corey as the killer and featured Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper as fellow outlaws) and was decidedly tongue-in-check, the Coens here make their version literate and almost scholarly (though there are plenty of tongue-in-cheek moments, as well as homages to other Westerns). And this, of course, features an incredible bravura performance by Bridges, who melds his being into the role of Rooster Cogburn. An honest slice of the Old West.
• Extras: A host of behind-the-scenes featurettes, as well as interesting documentaries on Charles Portis, the film's costumes and weapons.
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Watch a clip from the 'True Grit' DVD
'Just Go With It'
What It's About: In this very light rom-com, Adam Sandler plays a fortysomething plastic surgeon who long ago figured out a unique way to score with women -- he wears a wedding band and professes that his marriage is on the rocks, his wife beats him, and that he's getting a divorce. But when he meets the girl of his dreams and wants to finally settle down, he has to actually live out his lie to win her hand: She demands to see his "soon-to-be-divorced" wife, so he enlists the help of his long-time nurse/assistant (Jennifer Aniston) and her kids to create a fake family.
It's Kinda Like: 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' meets 'Along Came Polly'
What We Say: This is typical Sandler fare: The comedian has made a career of playing boy-men who just want to have fun. Aniston, for her part, keeps up her good girl image, here as a level-headed, single-mother working girl. This, of course, means that the comedy -- loosely based on 1969's 'Cactus Flower' -- is pat, predicable and fairly empty-headed, devolving at times into potty humor but mostly looking everywhere for a real joke. The nadir of the film: a totally sexless hula contest between Aniston and guest star Nicole Kidman.
• Extras: Plenty of featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel.
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Watch a trailer for 'Just Go With It':
Other New June 7 DVD Releases:
'Another Year': Director Mike Leigh adds a bit of a light touch to his generally bleak-outlook ouvre as he focuses his camera on a happily married couple, Tom (Jim Broadbent) and Gerri (Ruth Sheen), who act as a steady anchor to their unmarried circle of family and friends, including their son, a male friend from Hull, and single, unhappy, middle-aged Mary (Lesley Manville).But true to his form, don't expect Leigh to give us a bubbly, happy ending -- sometimes life just gives us endings. Period.
'Carancho': Argentinean thriller about an ambulance-chasing personal injury attorney with questionable ethics who makes his living in the flourishing, barely legal Argentinean industry founded on insurance payouts from traffic accidents -- either real or setup. With the aid of an idealistic young doctor, he plans one last score.
'The Company Men': John Wells (of 'ER,' 'The West Wing' and 'Southland' fame) brings us this rather low-key tale that follows the unraveling lives of three men cut loose from their upper-middle class white collar lives as the 2008 recession forces their company to layoff its workforce -- workers and executives alike. Though the emotions and situations ring true, the bleak situations and self-pity distance us from having any empathy for these guys and from having any real anger at the culprits and bad guys at he heart of the matter: the greedy bankers, Wall Street exploiters and corporate raiders who have messed up our economy
'The Housemaid': (2010 -- South Korea) is a thriller about a man's affair with his family's housemaid -- an innocent beauty -- that leads to dark consequences.
'In Her Skin': (2009 -- Australia) Guy Pearce, Sam Neill, Miranda Otto, Ruth Bradley and Kate Bell star in this ripped from the headlines tale of a 15-year-old Australian girl who failed to come home from school one day and was found to have been murdered by her babysitter.
'Night Flight': (1933) Unseen since it was pulled from circulation in 1942. Stars Clark Gable, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Helen Hayes, Myrna Loy, Robert Montgomery. One of the most authentic flying movies to grace the silver screen; an adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's ("The Little Prince") best-selling "Vol de Nuit," based on his harrowing experiences as an airmail pilot and director of the Aeroposta Argentina airline. The story: Polio breaks out in Rio de Janeiro, the serum is in Santiago, and there's only one way to get the medicine where it's desperately needed: flown in by daring pilots who risk the treacherous weather and forbidding peaks of the Andes.
'Pros and Ex-Cons': (2005 -- Australia) Two ex-cons sent on a hit discover that they've assassinated the wrong person, and must quickly correct their mistake before their covers are blown and more innocent lives are lost. Stars Sam Worthington, Steve Bastoni and Jonathan Sweet.
'Rubber': Cult-fave indie is the story of Robert, a tire that has been abandoned in the desert and that suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams the bleak landscape, he discovers that he possesses terrifying telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything he wishes without having to move. At first content to prey on small desert creatures and various discarded objects, his attention soon turns to humans. Though he leaves a swath of destruction across the desert landscape and is pursued by state troopers, Robert takes the time to go swimming and watch TV in a motel room. He's a nasty movie villain in this original film that's certainly not a retread.
Watch a trailer for 'Rubber':
'Sanctum': Conceived and shot in 3D -- from executive producer James Cameron -- this lifeless underwater adventure (based on true events) follows a team of divers who attempt to explore the largest, most beautiful and least accessible cave system on Earth. But when a tropical storm cuts off their only escape route, the team must find their way through an uncharted and dangerous underwater labyrinth to make it out alive.
'Shadows and Lies': An eccentric drifter returns to New York and helps out a young woman being threatened by a hood -- who used to be the young man's boss. Stars James Franco, Julianne Nicholson, Josh Lucas and Martin Donovan.
June 7 Blu-ray Debuts:
'The Outlaw Josey Wales': (1976) This critically acclaimed revisionist Western (directed by and starring Clint Eastwood) gets the Blu-ray treatment, giving us a hi-deaf look at the dusty post-Civil War West with vibrant colors and zingy sound. Bonus features include an introduction by Clint Eastwood, commentary by film historian Richard Schickel, 'Clint Eastwood's West' documentary, 'Hell Hath No Fury: The Making of The Outlaw Josey Wales,' 'Eastwood in Action.' Packaged in a premium 32-page Blu-ray book filled with new bonus features, photos and production notes.
'The Superman Motion Picture Anthology': If you're looking for a high-end Father's Day gift, here's one you can add to your list. The first two Superman movies were self-reflexive gems that didn't quite take themselves seriously, relying on Christopher Reeve to anchor the film as the man of steel; by the time Superman III and IV arrived, the series had fallen into self-parody. 'Superman Returns,' with Brandon Routh, was an attempt at resuscitating the franchise -- but we'll have to wait til 2013 for Zack Snyder's 'Man of Steel' for a real reboot. Still, this glorious looking and sounding hi-def set will be a delight for Superman fans the world over. The eight-disc set includes 'Superman the Movie,' "'Superman the Movie Expanded Edition,' 'Superman II,' 'Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut,' 'Superman III,' 'Superman IV: The Quest for Peace,' 'Superman Returns' and a bonus disc. Bonus features clock in at over 20 hours, with documentaries, commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, and more. $129.95.
Watch an exclusive clip from the 'The Superman Motion Picture Anthology':
Check out other new June 7 DVD releases at OnVideo.