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New on DVD: Ryan Gosling in 'Drive'

Also: 'The Big Year,' 'In Time' and 'The Thing'

January 29, 2012|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Ryan Gosling in "Drive."
Ryan Gosling in "Drive." (FilmDistrict )

Drive

Sony, $26.99; Blu-ray, $30.99

Director Nicolas Winding Refn and writer Hossein Amini deliver a pitch-perfect evocation of '80s noir with their adaptation of James Sallis' novel "Drive," about a Hollywood stuntman who offers his expert driving skills to any crook who wants to pay him to help them get away. Ryan Gosling plays the driver — all aloof and quiet — while Carey Mulligan plays the neighbor who gets him into trouble, and Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman and the fantastic Albert Brooks play the criminals who make life more difficult after some money goes missing. Refn and Amini could've done a little more to make "Drive's" plot more central to the film, but as a stylish mood piece — with a great soundtrack — this movie is super-cool. The DVD and Blu-ray add featurettes, including a thoughtful half-hour interview with Refn.

The Big Year

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Mark Obmascik's beloved nonfiction book "The Big Year" — about birders who compete informally to see who can spot the most species — becomes a not-so-beloved movie, written by Howard Franklin and directed by David Frankel, and starring the unlikely trio of Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black as the bird-obsessed protagonists. Though the premise is offbeat, the outcome is frustratingly generic, with each of the leads dealing with stock domestic and career crises while they bond over birding. "The Big Year" is sweet-natured and watchable, but given the subject matter it should leave a lot more of an impression than it does. The DVD and Blu-ray come with deleted scenes, a featurette and the requisite gag reel.

In Time

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Andrew Niccol, the writer-director behind such brainy sci-fi actioners as "Gattaca" and "S1m0ne," attempts to bend more minds with his thriller "In Time," about a futuristic society where everyone dies at 26 unless they earn more time — thus making life-expectancy a kind of currency. Justin Timberlake plays a poor man who gets gifted more than 100 years of time from a suicidal aristocrat, and subsequently finds himself on the run from the law. "In Time" is better when it's laying out the rules of this world than when it's trying to be a chase movie, but Timberlake makes a charismatic lead and the pastiche of other sci-fi plots is imaginative in its own way. The DVD and Blu-ray include deleted scenes and a featurette.

The Thing

Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

In a clear case of over-thinking a can't-miss idea, the new version of "The Thing" forgoes the "remake and modernize" method that's been so successful for recent horror cash-ins (and which John Carpenter did well with his 1982 version of "The Thing," itself a remake of a '50s B-movie, "The Thing From Another World") in favor of serving as a "prequel" to the Carpenter film. The problem is that in plot and tone, the latest version of John W. Campbell's novel — about a shape-shifting alien monster terrorizing a group of scientists and workmen at a remote arctic outpost — is so like the '82 rendition that it feels superfluous. It's effective enough in its depiction of colleagues torn apart by suspicion (and beasties); it's just way too familiar. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes, featurettes and a commentary track by director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. and producer Eric Newman.

And…

The Double

Image, $27.97; Blu-ray, $29.97

Dream House

Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

Malcolm X

Warner Bros. Blu-ray, $34.95

The Other F Word

Oscilloscope, $29.99

Texas Killing Fields

Anchor Bay, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.99

Thunder Soul

Miramax/Lionsgate, $19.98

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