We Got This Covered’s Blu-Ray Picks For Jan. 20 – Jan. 26

Apparently there’s no accounting for taste; The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 is leading the pack in Blu-Ray pre-sales this week, closely followed by Taken 2 and Skyfall. After a lengthy run, The Dark Knight Rises has fallen to number 12 on the bestselling Blu-Ray sales charts and it will be sorely missed (thankfully I already own the film and you should too).

This week, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña star as two boys in blue in End of Watch, a classic samurai film gets a reboot, and a little-known Sherlock Holmes film finally arrives on Blu-Ray.

Ready for this week’s picks? Then read on.

End of Watch

Release Date: January 22nd, 2013

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera, Frank Grillo, and Natalie Martinez.

Director: David Ayer

An American thriller drama film written and directed by David Ayer ( who also wrote Training Day and The Fast and the Furious) that was well-received by critics. Roger Ebert gave the film his highest rating of four stars and called it “one of the best police movies in recent years”. 

Plot: After confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel during a routine traffic stop, two young police officers are marked for death.

My Thoughts: I plan on watching it in the next few days and I can’t wait. I’ve heard great things about it and, to be honest, Training Day is one of my favorite films. Ayer’s work has a gritty visceral quality to it and I’m interested to see what Gyllenhaal does with the material. Although, I hear that his co-star in the film, Michael Peña, does an excellent job and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male for his role in the film. If you like your police films more grounded than Lethal Weapon, then you should give this a watch.

Check out our review of End of Watch 

The Paperboy

Release Date: January 22nd, 2013

Starring: Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack, David Oyelowo, and Scott Glenn.

Director: Lee Daniels

A thriller based on the 1995 novel of the same name by American author Pete Dexter. It competed for the Palme d’Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival but received mixed reviews from critics.

Plot: Lured by imploring letters from the beautiful siren Charlotte (Kidman), hard-nosed reporter Ward James (McConaughey) and his partner, Yardley Acheman (Oyelowo), return to Ward’s hometown of Lately, Florida, to investigate the seemingly unjust imprisonment of Charlotte’s lover,  alligator hunter Hillary Van Wetter (Cusack).

My Thoughts: I’m still on the fence about watching this one. It’s a decent enough cast and I love the ever-sensual Nicole Kidman (who still hasn’t responded to my ‘friend request’ on Facebook), but I’m a hard-sell on thrillers. However, while it did receive mixed reviews at Cannes, it also received the longest sustained standing ovation of the festival at 16 minutes. If you like thrillers you might want to add it to your collection or, at the least, give it a rental.

Read our review of The Paperboy over in our movie reviews section.

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Release Date: January 22nd, 2013

Starring: Koji Yakusho, Hikari Mitsushima, and Naoto Takenaka.

Director: Takashi Miike

A 3D remake of Masaki Kobayashi’s classic film Seppuku a.k.a Harakiri. The film was shown at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival to positive reviews but had only a limited theatrical release in the US.

Plot: A poverty-stricken samurai discovers the fate of his ronin son-in-law, setting in motion a tense showdown of vengeance against the house of a feudal lord.

My Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this film and recommend it to anyone whose taste in samurai films go beyond their love of action and gore. It touches on issues of loyalty and honor while not being dragged down by expansive dialogue. While some of the values of the samurai culture may seem alien to a western audience, the film makes them accessible. For your Useless Information Pile: the film is the first 3D title ever to be show in official selection at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution

Release Date: January 22nd, 2013

Starring: Nicol Williamson, Alan Arkin, Robert Duvall, Vanessa Redgrave, Laurence Olivier, and Joel Grey.

Director: Herbert Ross

A 1976 film based on the novel of the same by author Nicholas Meyer. A sort of tribute to/hodge-podge of a Sherlock Holmes adventure, both the novel and the film were critically-acclaimed.

Plot: When Dr. Watson (Duvall) discovers that Sherlock Holmes (Williamson) has become delusional as a result of his addiction to cocaine, he arranges for Holmes to journey to Vienna to be treated by none other than Sigmund Freud (Arkin). However, during the course of his treatment, Holmes becomes embroiled in investigating a kidnapping case with international implications, as Freud uncovers a large personal secret suppressed in Holmes’ subconscious.

My Thoughts: A great way to spend two hours. I’m a fan of Sherlock Holmes in general and gave this a watch under the mistaken impression that it was some sort of satire or comedy. While there are some comedic elements, it’s a mystery through and through, and I’d advise any mystery-lover to pick up a copy. The film received two Oscar nominations for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and Best Costume Design at the 49th annual Academy Awards.

The Quiet Man

Release Date: January 22nd, 2013

Starring: John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Ward Bond, and Victor McLaglen.

Director: John Ford

A 1952 Irish-American comedy-drama film that was well-received all-around and was a hit at the 1952 Venice Film Festival. It was nominated for a slew of awards and earned Ford the Academy Award for Best Director.

Plot: A retired American boxer returns to the village where he was born in Ireland, where he finds love.

My Thoughts: An excellent film and one that should be watched with your significant other. There’s a chemistry between the actors that’s almost palpable and you can’t help but cheer for a happy ending. Something to add to your Useless Information Pile: the kissing scene between John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara is actually shown in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. E.T. is touched by the scene while watching it on TV, causing Elliot to re-enact it while he’s at school as a result of their developing telepathic bond. In conclusion, if a fictional rubber alien can enjoy this film, then so can you.

The Men Who Built America

Release Date: January 22nd, 2013

Starring: Eric Rolland, Tim Getman, Adam Jonas Segaller, and Ray Reynolds.

Director: Various

An eight-hour, four-part miniseries docudrama produced by the History Channel.

Plot: A series that shines a spotlight on the influential builders, dreamers, and believers whose feats transformed the United States, a nation decaying from the inside after the Civil War.

My Thoughts: I’ve only seen the first episode of the series so far, but I’m committed to watching the rest. It’s informative and dramatizes the time period in a way that gives it a modern-day relevance. I couldn’t help but compare many of the influential historical figures that the series highlights to some of the powerful CEOs that navigate today’s business world. If you like historical television, or know someone who does, pick this one up off of the shelves.

That’s all for this week. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be getting some quality time in with my couch while watching Zombieland. Many people ask me how I manage to watch so many films; the truth is that I don’t sleep. I run on a combination of entertainment and sadness. That’s why to pull an all-nighter I have a Steven Seagal marathon.

Are you a fan of any of this week’s releases? Let us know in the comments below.