Most-seen Bond, underseen ‘Perks’ debut
“Skyfall” – The best James Bond films deftly balance an assortment of ingredients – action, seduction, sophistication and a playful outrageousness. “Skyfall” belongs in the top tier of Bond films. It easily is the best of the films starring Daniel Craig as 007, and it’s the most commercially successful film in the franchise’s history.
Director Sam Mendes keeps the action firmly rooted in the real world, one where intelligence agencies have to battle political whims as well as potential terrorists, while at the same time adding some of the grand theatrical flourishes that used to make a Bond movie distinctive from anything else. Javier Bardem brings that quality to “Skyfall” as the villain Silva.
Extras include two commentary tracks, one by director Sam Mendes and a second one by producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson joined by production designer Dennis Gassner. There’s also a 14-part look at the making of the latest Bond film. (20th Century Fox/MGM, $29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray/ DVD/digital copy combo)
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” – Some movies benefit from a slow platform release (the strategy certainly didn’t hurt “The Silver Linings Playbook”). But it really feels like Lionsgate botched the distribution of this film, which never played on more than 750 screens and should have grossed at least three times its $17 million theatrical haul. This is an enchanting, crowd-pleasing coming-of-age tale about an emotionally troubled high school freshman (Logan Lerman) who is befriended by a rebellious stepbrother / stepsister combo (Ezra Miller, Emma Watson). Stephen Chbosky, who wrote the novel on which the movie is based, both adapted his book and made his directing debut here. “Perks” didn’t make my top 10 list, but it would have been in my top dozen.
Chbosky does two commentary tracks, one solo and a second with cast members Lerman, Miller, Watson, Johnny Simmons, Mae Whitman and Erin Wilhelmi. Chbosky provides optional commentary for the deleted scenes, and the disc also includes the featurette “Best Summer Ever.” (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, $29.95 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray)
“The Sessions” – John Hawkes plays a writer, who spends most of his time in an iron lung after contracting polio as a child, who hires a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) in a film loosely based on a true story. The performances are strong (Helen Hunt received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination and Hawkes surprisingly was passed over for a Best Actor nod) and the story is humorous and uplifting. But the movie overall is likable without being particularly memorable.
Bonus features includes deleted scenes and multiple featurettes. (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, $22.98 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray)
“The Man with the Iron Fists” – Wu Tang Clansman RZA directed this martial arts epic starring Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu and Rick Yune. Discs include both the theatrical release and an unrated extended cut. DVD extras include the featurettes “A Look Inside the Man with the Iron Fists,” “A Path to the East” and “On the Set with RZA.” Blu-ray buyers get a digital copy of the unrated version. (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, $29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo)
“Silent Hill: Revelation” – In this 3D sequel to the horror series inspired by a video game, Sean Bean plays a father trying to protect his daughter (Adelaide Clemens) from the evil forces pursuing her. And it only gets worse as her 18th birthday nears. (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, $29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray)
“Robot and Frank” -Frank Langella stars as a retired cat burglar whose children, instead of putting him in a nursing home, buy him a robot to care for his mental and physical health in a film co-starring James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Jeremy Strong, Jeremy Sisto and Susan Sarandon.
Director Jake Schreier and screenwriter Christopher Ford team up for a commentary track. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, $30.99 DVD)
“A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman” – Chapman, who died in 1989, provides the narration (through his audio recording of his book “A Liar’s Autobiography” before his death) for this animated (and fabulistic) account of the Monty Python troupe member’s life. (Virgil Films and Entertainment, $24.99 DVD)
“Bully” – This documentary explores the issue of bullying by focusing on five students and their families. Extras include deleted scenes and the featurettes “The Bully Project at Work” and “Communities in Motion.” (Starz/Anchor Bay, $24.98 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray)
- “Kill for Me” Two women (Katie Cassidy, Tracy Spiridakos) both coming from abusive pasts become roommates but are unable to leave their pasts behind in a thriller co-starring Donal Logue and Ryan Robbins. The only extra is a making-of featurette. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, $22.99 DVD)