To start with, Kermit and Co’s first big screen outing in well over a decade is something of a marmite affair, teetering somewhere along that fine line between whimsical escapism and mawkish over-sentimentality.
Perhaps a man of my pitifully miserable disposition isn’t the best person to critique 90 minutes of relentless optimism, but amidst its charming brand of silliness and occasionally irksome musical set pieces, there’s still a lot to love. (DVD) (Blu Ray)
And at least The Muppets has soul. The same can hardly be said of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Stephen Daldry’s shameless exercise in Oscar baiting that inexplicably garnered a Best Picture nomination earlier this year. Well-intentioned as it might be, its feigned sensitivity dealing with the delicate issue of 9/11 is infuriatingly transparent, resulting in a film that begs its viewer for an emotional response it never deserves. (DVD) (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
At the other end of the spectrum, Clint Eastwood’s nth directorial outing, J. Edgar, is a much worthier endeavour, chronicling the career of the man responsible for spearheading the FBI in the 1930s.
Featuring a remarkable performance by Leonardo DiCaprio and compelling support from Armie Hammer, it’s a fascinating portrait of a complex historical figure sadly marred by a confusing narrative and a naggingly overlong runtime. (DVD) (Blu Ray/DVD Combo)
Meanwhile, in the action stakes, it’s left to Korea to offer up an officially sanctioned re-make of John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow, complete with its own violent persona and Woo’s glowing approval. (DVD) (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray Combo)
The far less impressive Man on a Ledge is perhaps the highest mainstream high concept we’ve seen since Snakes on a Plane, with its ludicrous plot that sees a bored Sam Worthington stage a suicide attempt in order to give his brother time to carry out a robbery. (DVD) (Blu Ray)
Perhaps the most intriguing release of the week comes in the form of Pawel Pawlikowski’s The Woman in the Fifth, a flawed thriller based on the novel of the same name, which sees a mentally unstable Ethan Hawke drawn in to the seedy Parisian underworld as he tries to make amends with his distant family. In a brisk 85 minutes Pawlikowski racks up a masterful sense of suspense only to disappoint with a frustrating diversion in to surreal territory at the last hurdle. (DVD) (Blu Ray)
If none of that floats your boat then there’s always a selection of far more interesting re-issues, which include the likes of Easy Rider, Dr Strangelove, The Evil Dead and Bad Lieutenant to name but a few. The latter, one of director Abel Ferrera’s best, remains particularly potent viewing even by today’s standards and features one of Harvey Keitel’s finest screen performances to boot. (DVD) (Blu Ray)