Today's DVDs: The Adjustment Bureau, Kiss Me Deadly, and Charlie Sheen: Born to Be Wild

The Adjustment Bureau

stars Matt Damon, Emily Blunt and Anthony Mackie, screenwriter George Nolfi also directs.

The set-up: Matt Damon plays David, a golden-boy congressman that's lost his bid for a senate seat. He meets Elise, who might be the woman of his dreams. Almost immediately, some creepy guys in hats warn him to stay away from her because their relationship "isn't part of the plan." David and Elise spend the rest of the movie running away from the creepy guys, who it seems, are in charge of the whole world.

Here's what our critic Karina Longworth thought of the movie: "Writer-director Nolfi never shows much interest in probing paranoia or in revealing the construction of reality in any sort of practical way."

Here's our take: The Adjustment Bureau is a romance with a sci-fi bent and a world-wide conspiracy background. The message here is that free will is a fallacy. We like watching Matt Damon in action flicks, running, jumping, fighting for his life, saving the girl - even if he doesn't know exactly who and what he's saving her from. But we already saw Bourne Identity and all its sequels. There's nothing new here.

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DVD extras: The DVD version includes three behind-the-scenes featurettes, director commentary, extended and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray version also includes a digital copy.

Availability: You can buy The Adjustment Bureau here or rent it on YouTube movies and Netflix (DVD and Blu-ray).

 

Kiss Me Deadly

stars Ralph Meeker, Cloris Leachman and Maxine Cooper (both in their first roles), producer Robert Aldrich also directs.

The set-up: Kiss Me Deadly is dripping naughty noir. The 1955 film is based on a Mickey Spillane novel with Meeker as Spillane's famous private detective Mike Hammer. Cloris Leachman plays Christina, a beautiful and troubled woman (she just escaped from a mental hospital). Hammer gives her a lift on a dark, lonely road (are there ever any other kind in these kinds of films?), the two of them get kidnapped and thrown off the side of a cliff. Hammer wakes up in the hospital, but Christina is gone, so Hammer dutifully sets out to rescue her.

Here's what our critic thought of the movie: Actually, most of our critics weren't born when this film was first released.

Here's our take: We weren't born either, but as the Ralph Meeker Museum was once located here in Houston, we've been hip to Meeker for years. The film is considered a film noir classic, mostly because it captures the panic and paranoia of the Cold War era so well. There are spies, thugs, double-crossing friends and a nuclear holocaust - not to mention Cold War boogie men around every corner. If you consider yourself a film fan, this is a must-see.

DVD extras: The film has been restored and is being released on DVD as part of The Criterion Collection. Extras include audio commentary by two film noir experts, excerpts from documentaries on the screenwriter and the author, a look at the film's locations, theatrical trailer and an alternate ending.

Availability: Buy Kiss Me Deadly here or rent it on Netflix (DVD only).

 

Really? You thought we were going to review Charlie Sheen: Born to Be Wild?


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