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The Fighter

Coolest extra: “The Warrior’s Code: Filming The Fighter” featurette (DVD/Blu-ray)

Complex says: No matter how many times Hollywood pitches another motivational, nothing-to-something sports drama our way, there’s always that little Little Leaguer inside of us ready to stand up and cheer. How else can you explain the box office homer that was the unimaginative and overrated The Blind Side?

With The Fighter, though, there’s no need for viewer guilt or second-guessing. Tightly directed by Academy Award nominee David O. Russell (Three Kings), it’s an underdog biopic packed with believable Massachusetts accents, legit in-ring boxing, and an extraordinary performance from Christian Bale as crackhead has-been boxer Dicky Ecklund.

The Fighter may be the adequate Mark Wahlberg’s leading man show (playing Ecklund’s half-brother Mickey Ward), but it’s owned by his supporting cast, including the usually sweet Amy Adams roughing it up as the kind of potty-mouthed cutie we’d keep away from mom. With its authentic Lowell, Massachusetts setting and druggie lean, Russell’s athletic crowd-pleaser is starker than most sports flicks, connecting with grit that’s even more palpable after watching the DVD/Blu-ray featurette “The Warrior’s Code: Filming The Fighter.”

This one’s definitely worth a look if you missed it in theaters; next to The Wrestler, it’s the best sports drama to come out in years. We’re looking at you, Sandra Bullock.

Buy it now: The Fighter


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Hereafter

Coolest extra: “The Eastwood Experience” featurette (DVD); “Clint on Casting” featurette (Blu-ray)

Complex says: It’s nearly impossible to not think of the recent devastation seen in Japan while watching Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, which has been yanked out of Japanese theaters this week. In an ironic twist of fate, the parallels between the film’s tsunami sequence and Japan’s nightmare has actually given its DVD release some unexpected steam; if not for that connection, Hereafter wouldn’t warrant much focus.

Eastwood’s latest suffers from a crawling pace that’s too melancholy for its own good, notably dragging whenever Damon’s storyline transpires. Usually charismatic and fun to watch, Damon strolls through Hereafter like he’s as bored by the overly schmaltzy script as we are—it’s never good when an Academy Award-nominated actor is bested by Jay Mohr (who plays his brother here).

We’re typically down with Eastwood the director, but Hereafter isn’t his finest hour. It’s even duller than his previous film, the rugby drama Invictus, and we thought that was a snooze. Should we comment on how Invictus was still better than The Blind Side? Nope, we’ll leave that one alone.

Buy it now: Hereafter


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The Switch

Coolest extra: “The Switch Conceived” making-of featurette (DVD); Alternate ending (Blu-ray)

Complex says: Making a romantic comedy that dudes will actually enjoy, even if only somewhat, isn’t rocket science. Yet Hollywood keeps fudging up, sticking guys like Ashton Kutcher and Josh Duhamel in lead roles and giving the more often than not lackluster scripts no chances to hide beneath strong actors.

Winners like Jason Bateman should just collect every rom-com check—just check out how he salvages the otherwise mundane The Switch. To be fair, Jennifer Aniston is also on-point in this paternity-themed flick, radiating with likability as a single 40-year-old woman who uses a turkey baster to unknowingly become pregnant by her best friend (Bateman).

That’s about as high-concept as rom-coms get, so the filmmakers deserve some points for creativity, even if the premise is a bit ridiculous. Replace Aniston with Jenna Haze and The Switch could’ve been a Thanksgiving porno.

But, again, the film’s mediocre jokes and predictability would’ve flat-lined the production if not for Bateman’s perfectly dry delivery, which is all the more effective paired next to little Thomas Robinson. Their chemistry is a low-grade equivalent to Tom Cruise and Jonathan Lipnicki in Jerry Maguire. Young Robinson is much better than the little kid from The Blind…OK, OK. We’ve made our point.

Buy it now: The Switch


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Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (Unrated Blu-ray)

Coolest extra: “ESPN SportsCenter Audition by Ron Burgundy” (Blu-ray)

Complex says: After several false reports and premature declarations from Anchorman’s cast and crew, all hopes of ever seeing Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 news team again in a sequel have pretty much evaporated. Seriously, even Ghostbusters 3 seems more realistic at this stage of the game.

How can the movie’s biggest fans—which should be anyone with a sense of humor and a pulse)—cope with such bad news? Other than sing “Afternoon Delight” for the hundredth time, we mean?

Here’s one option: Watch Will Ferrell’s greatest comedy in its most pristine small screen incarnation yet, this new unrated Blu-ray edition. The movie’s the same, as are the special features already found on the first unrated DVD release. We shouldn’t have to sell you on this one—the fact that Anchorman was crowned as the funniest of all funny movies twice by us should be all of the explanation you need. Seven years after its theatrical debut, the world of Sex Panther and Brick Tamland hasn’t lost a speck of hilarity.

Buy it now: Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy (Unrated Blu-ray)


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Who Do You Think You Are?: Season One

Coolest extra: None available

Complex says: Here’s a tough sell: a reality show that features heartfelt confessions and brave closet-cleaning instead of horny bimbos, uncoordinated ex-governors trying to dance, or horrible douchebag actors pretending to be sweet-talking bachelors. No wonder more people watched J-Woww’s fake boobs than NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?

It's a shame, because this Americanized version of the popular British series is the anti-trainwreck reality program. Executive producer Lisa Kudrow and company have whipped up a genuinely fascinating project, following random celebrities—Season One includes Spike Lee and elder beauties Susan Sarandon and Brooke Shields—as they delve into their respective family’s history.

Perhaps the biggest compliment we can bestow upon Who Do You Think You Are? is that it’s interesting to watch when the celeb of the hour is someone who’s boring as hell, i.e. Matthew Broderick. Catch up with the show now before it sells out with an investigation into Snooki’s non-Italian background. Stranger, and lamer, things have happened.

Buy it now: Who Do You Think You Are?: Season One