Kevin Costner and some mothers in need of a break are among those coming to Blu-Ray the week of Sept. 1.
Draft Day – Kevin Costner plays the general manager of the Cleveland Browns, tasked with putting together a viable team. He’s pressured by the team’s owner (Frank Langella) to pick a highly sought-after, Heisman-winning quarterback. Costner isn’t so sure this kid is the real deal, though.
The best sports movies aren’t really about sports, and Draft Day is no exception. It’s actually about psychology, and the way Costner reads and manipulates both prospective players and opposing coaches in order to assemble the best team he can. A romantic subplot involving his romance with Jennifer Garner doesn’t quite work, but by and large, this is an enjoyable and engaging examination of a man working in a pressure cooker.
Blu-Ray bonus features are an hour-long making-of documentary, a ten-minute explanation of the real NFL draft, nine minutes of deleted scenes, audio commentary from the screenwriters, and the theatrical trailer.
Moms’ Night Out – A harried mommy blogger (Sarah Drew) and her church friends (Patricia Heaton and Andrea Logan White) get a night out while their husbands watch the kids in this Christian-themed comedy. What’s supposed to be a fun evening turns into a series of comic disasters. Country singer Trace Adkins co-stars.
While somewhat less sermonizing than other recent religious films, Moms’ Night Out does have a nice message suggesting that faith inspires many women to be the best mothers they can be. Unfortunately, that message is wrapped up in obvious, predictable slapstick and farce. An obnoxious over-use of cutesy graphics popping up on screen to emphasize jokes doesn’t help.
Extras are filmmaker commentary, several behind-the-scenes shorts, deleted scenes, and a blooper reel.
They Came Together – Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler star in this spoof of romantic comedies, directed by David Wain (Role Models, Wet Hot American Summer). They play a couple relating the story of their romance to friends, which gives the movie a chance to satirize rom-com clichés. Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper are among the notable actors popping up in supporting roles.
Whereas most recent spoofs simply make visual reference to other, better films, They Came Together is more in the vein of the classic 1970’s Mel Brooks comedies. It mocks the conventions of the genre it’s taking on, often hilariously. This is one of the year’s funniest films.
The supplements are audio commentary from Wain and co-writer Michael Showalter, 35 minutes of deleted scenes, a 24-minute making-of feature, and a table read of the original screenplay that took place at the San Francisco Sketchfest comedy festival. It runs an hour and 45 minutes, and is at times different from what ended up on screen. The theatrical trailer is here, too.
Cabin Fever: Patient Zero – The third installment of the popular flesh-eating virus horror series finds a group of partiers getting drunk — and infected — on an island. Meanwhile, on the other side, a man (Sean Astin) is held captive by scientists searching for a cure.
Fans of the first two Cabin Fever movies may be disappointed that this one has almost none of the dark humor that has marked the franchise. Also, the story is muddled and the characters are bland. A few effectively gross moments are scattered throughout, but they can’t compensate for all the tedium.
As of press time, no bonus features had been announced for this release.
Also hitting Blu-Ray this week are Wes Craven’s 1991 chiller The People Under the Stairs, the Jesse Eisenberg/Dakota Fanning drama Night Moves, and the Johnny Depp-directed documentary For No Good Reason, which focuses on artist Ralph Steadman.
What are you planning to get on Blu-Ray this week? Let us know your choices in the comments section.