Digital Week – August 1st

Blu-rays of the Week

Going in Style (Warner Bros)

This remake of the 1979 oldster heist movie with George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg is an innocuous but entertaining vehicle for Michael Caine, Alan Arkin and Morgan Freeman, who play octogenarians planning to rob a bank. Director Zach Braff consistently takes the obvious route to every lame old age joke or schmaltzy twist, but his cast—which includes a still gorgeous Ann-Margret as Arkin’s love interest and an hilarious John Ortiz as a crook who gives our trio some robbery tips—is ingratiating enough to make this a smooth 95-minute ride. The hi-def transfer sparkles; extras are Braff’s commentary and deleted scenes.

Crashing—Complete 1st Season (HBO)

Too bad Pete Holmes is so dull and unfunny: not that this lackluster Judd Apatow would have succeeded anyway, but a better lead might have given the series a chance to be amusing, pointed and even poignant. Whenever someone with superior comic smarts appears—like Artie Lange or Sarah Silverman—Crashing sporadically turns into something humorous, but that’s not often enough. The series looks fine on Blu; extras are featurettes and Holmes’ HBO stand-up special.

The Sea Chase / Blood Alley (Warner Archive)

Two lesser John Wayne films showcase his passable acting in two wartime roles. In John Farrow’s barely adequate water-logged actioner, 1955’s Sea Chase, the Duke is a German U-boat pilot who loathes his Fuhrer and falls for Lana Turner. In William Wellman’s nearly embarrassing Blood Alley (1948), Wayne is a merchant marine who ferries Chinese refugees with China’s navy hot on his tail, as white performers (unsurprisingly but eye-rollingly) play several Asian characters. Both films—shot in Cinemascope—look terrific on Blu-ray; Alley extras are newsreels and featurettes.

Where the Boys Are (Warner Archive)

This mildly cautionary 1960 tale follows horny college kids to Ft. Lauderdale for spring break, where it’s suggested that they’re having sex, losing their virginity and even (in one shocking instance of honesty) being raped. The attractive and charming cast is led by the gals, especially Dolores Hart, Yvette Mimieux and Connie Francis. The Cinemascope compositions look superb in hi-def; extras include Prentiss’s audio commentary and two featurettes.

DVDs of the Week

Amnesia / Inseparables (Film Movement)

Barbet Schroeder’s latest, Amnesia—a slow-boiling drama about an German woman whose isolated existence is disturbed by a young man whose appearance leads to terrible revelations—is anchored by Marthe Keller’s lovely, understated performance in the lead. Based on the 2011 treacly smash-hit French comedy The Intouchables, the Argentine version, Inseparables, is even more sentimental and crude in its story of a wealthy paraplegic and the working-class assistant who brings excitement into his life. The lone Amnesia extra is Your Mother and I, a fine short by British-Canadian director Anna Maguire.