This Week In DVD & Blu-Ray: The Fighter, Hereafter, The Switch, And More

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This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry's.Rent ItTHE FIGHTER

[*Warning: Obvious spoiler ahead*]

Great care was paid to ensure that The Fighter be as authentic a true story as possible, which is also why its ending feels a tad misguided. Was it necessary to close the film on a note of uplifting triumph? That's the expected conclusion, certainly, and it's not as though there's ever a moment where The Fighter seems like it might be veering down a path that hasn't already been laid out for it in countless other sports films. But the humanity of the picture stems from its acrid family dynamics, and it's in those moments that the film transcends the genre in which it's forced to reside. In fact, so much time is dedicated to observing and developing the raw, complex relationships between the film's central band of characters that when the pat, encouraging conclusion finally comes, it feels largely unearned. This is not a story with an easy resolution, and it's a shame that The Fighter feels the need to provide it with one. The rest of the movie, thankfully, is good enough to overcome it. Christian Bale is mesmerizing as the jovial junkie who's always the center of attention, and Mark Wahlberg is appropriately understated as the passive brother who's continuously overshadowed by him. Their relationship is the driving force behind the film, and it's also the narrative thread that satisfies most by the film's end. While Bale steals the show early on, there comes a time when the character's constant self-adulation grows (deliberately) tiresome, gracefully affording Wahlberg's Micky the opportunity to step up and show his mettle—not merely in the ring, but amongst his controlling family. At that point, I was resolutely invested in the ensuing drama, and against better judgment, awaited a denouement that wouldn't let an unwarranted "inspirational" finale undermine the complicated history of this combative lower class family. If only the film had the conviction to see all of its relationships through, rather than put the focus on the need to win a boxing match.

Available on Blu-ray? Yes.Notable Extras: DVD – A commentary by director David O. Russell, and a Warriors Code: Filming The Fighter featurette. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as deleted scenes, a Keeping the Faith featurette, and a digital copy of the film.

BEST DVD PRICE Target Best Buy Fry's $16.99 $15.99 $14.99 Amazon – $14.99
BEST BLU-RAY PRICE Target Best Buy Fry's $22.99 $22.99 $17.99 Amazon – $19.99


There's a heartfelt connection at the core of The Switch that almost salvages the movie, and it's most definitely not the one between Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston. While that portion of the film is almost entirely devoid of chemistry and really only serves to facilitate its frustrating need to adhere to rom-com conventions, it's the growing bond between Bateman and his son (played by Thomas Robinson) that truly charms. Had the movie spent more time on their scenes together—many of which are handled with an unexpected honesty and poignancy—then the movie might've been something special. Alas, the majority of the running time consists of stock sitcom-esque complications and an unconvincing budding romance—both impressively carried by Jason Bateman, effortlessly bringing to the proceedings his wry charm and the occasional moment of surprisingly affecting introspection. Meanwhile, Jennifer Aniston is left to flounder with a thankless role that's part oblivious friend, part lousy mother, and part idiot girlfriend. When the glaringly undeserved ending arrives, it's as though the film is scrambling desperately to return itself to a state of innocuous inertia, forgoing what pathos it might've otherwise had as a touching father/son story.

Available on Blu-ray? Yes.Notable Extras: DVD – Deleted scenes and a behind the scenes featurette. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as an alternate ending, additional deleted scenes, and bloopers.

BEST DVD PRICE Target Best Buy Fry's $14.99 $14.99 N/A Amazon – $14.99
BEST BLU-RAY PRICE Target Best Buy Fry's $19.99 $17.99 $19.99 Amazon – $17.99

Skip ItHEREAFTER(Blu-ray available as single-disc and DVD+Blu-ray+digital copy)

[*Warning: Vague spoiler ahead*]

Few filmmakers are as widely revered as Clint Eastwood, and far fewer have earned that reputation through churning out so much hokey crap. (Paul Haggis shares that honor, but then, they also share a number of the same films on their filmographies.) Hereafter is only his latest offense—another technically well crafted, intellectually hamfisted attempt at profundity and emotional enlightenment, this time exploring LIFE'S BIG QUESTIONS, any insights into which it has none. It's so contrived; so maudlin; so coyly manipulative. The existential drama follows the lives of three individuals who have been affected by death, and seeks only to repetitively highlight their saddened, solemn attempts to find solace. They do find solace, too, but only because Hereafter exists in a fantasy world where the unknowable is perfectly attainable, and so, conveniently, they come to attain it. Good for them. Unfortunately for us, we exist in reality, where one can only find peace in death by either (a.) accepting that they will never have the answers, or (b.) lying to themselves. The long and short of it: Hereafter has nothing of any value to say, and takes an unbearably long time saying it. It's meandering, dramatically stilted nonsense, sternly posturing as MEANINGFUL CINEMA. I didn't like it one bit. (Side note: The movie debuted in Japan a few weeks ago. It opens with a tsunami. Rather unfortunate release timing, no?)

Available on Blu-ray? Yes.Notable Extras: DVD – 3 focus points ("Tsunami! Recreating a Disaster", "Hereafter's Locations – Casting the Silent Characters", "The Eastwood Experience"). Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as 6 additional focus points ("Is There Life After Death?", "Clint on Casting", "Delving into the Hereafter", "Twin Bonding", "French Speaking French", "Why The White Light?"), and a 90-minute "The Eastwood Factor" documentary.

BEST DVD PRICE Target Best Buy Fry's $14.99 $14.99 N/A Amazon – $13.99
BEST BLU-RAY PRICE* Target Best Buy Fry's $24.99 $24.99 N/A Amazon – $18.49

*Does not include single disc Blu-ray, which costs $19.99 at Target, Best Buy, and Amazon.

Other noteworthy DVD (and Blu-ray) releases this week...Waste LandA Shine of RainbowsHemingway's Garden of EdenBatman: The Brave and the Bold (Season 1, Part 2)Noteworthy Blu-ray-specific releases this week...Yi Yi (Criterion Collection)Au revoir les enfants (Criterion Collection)The SpecialsNOTES: Some deals may vary by store. Some deals may be in-store only. All deals are for DVDs unless otherwise noted.$10 – Blu-ray sale: Reservoir Dogs, Transporter 3, The Taking of Pelham 123, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen$8.99 – Blu-ray sale: Angels & Demons, Armored, Bad Boys, Black Hawk Down, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Fifth Element (Remastered), Glory, Hellboy, and more...$4.99 – Easy Rider, Groundhog Day, Kung Fu Hustle, The Last Dragon, Lawrence of Arabia, Not Easily Broken, The Pursuit of Happyness, Rudy, and more...