Whether you're building a Blu-ray library or just looking for something cool to watch, here are our top 10 picks for February 2012.
1 February, Warner Home Video, AU$44.95
OK, just bear with us here. So you have Steve Carell and Julianne Moore. They're married. It's not working so well. They separate. Carell meets womanising pick-up artist Ryan Gosling. He learns how to get with the ladeez. Then Ryan Gosling falls in love, and Carell can't stop thinking about his wife. It sounds sappy, but love, man ... love changes everything.
It's the 1920s in Atlantic City. Prohibition — that is, the US ban on alcohol in the United States — has just come into effect. Corrupt county treasurer Enoch Thompson (Steve Buscemi) is seizing the opportunity to take control of the city amidst a massive uprising of organised crime and rebellious venality. Boardwalk Empire, written by The Sopranos screenwriter Terence Winter and executive produced by Martin Scorcese, is a bit slow to get going, but once it gets there, it burns.
When a young musician's wife is murdered, he's convicted of the crime ... but it's David Lynch, and even before you're five minutes into Lost Highway, things grow tense and atmospheric and weird. Things twist and spiral and morph and nothing is what it seems and, in classic Lynch style, you are left at the end wracked and confused. It's one of those amazing films that stay with you, and every time you watch it, it seems to mean something else. What it does mean is entirely up to you.
Filmed in the Tasmanian wilds, The Hunter is the story of a hunter hired by a biotech company to follow up on Tasmanian tiger sightings and retrieve samples of the animals. But he's not counting on the hostility of the landscape, the strange eco-politics of the town, or the heartbreak of a family whose father and husband never came home. It's a good film, but also, we'd watch Willem Dafoe dance the Morris. Actually, that would be really entertaining...
It's a pretty quiet month for Blu-ray, so please do forgive the Lynch double-up, but because he's so great, we figured you wouldn't mind. The finale of Twin Peaks in 1991 left a lot of unanswered questions. The prequel film, Fire Walk With Me (1992), went some way to addressing some of those questions, but raised a few more in the process — either way, it offered some fascinating insight into the characters and their backgrounds and gave hungry viewers new material to chew.
We really wish this one hadn't been based on a true story. Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz), working as head of the department of gender affairs for the UN, uncovers a massive sex-slavery and human-trafficking ring ... but the UN wants to keep it covered up. Creepy stuff, indeed.
It has kind of a goofy name and not much substance, but we had to include at least one eye-candy film on our Blu-ray list. There is a story here — something about a white snake spirit turning into a beautiful woman and Jet Li being badass — but it takes second place to the spectacular CGI and wuxia fight scenes it ties together. If you like the fight scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, Hero, et al, this is worth checking out — just don't expect too much depth.
Two brothers, one an ex-Marine, the other a physics teacher, enter the mixed martial arts arena, taking their broken family conflict into a winner-takes-all tournament. Even if it wasn't explicitly stated in the trailer below, you could probably guess what happens; but this isn't a film about Rocky-style cliches — it's about family tension and a rift between brothers and father. With some sweet mixed martial arts for good measure.
What if time were literally wealth? That seems to be the basic premise behind In Time, penned by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, The Truman Show, S1m0ne). Factory worker Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) has his world turned on its head when he simultaneously receives 116 years and is taken for a murderer. Obviously the best course of action is to go on the lam and try to completely destroy the class system. There's some ace action scenes, some really cool and interesting ideas, and Timberlake. Say what you will, that guy's got some acting chops.