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Small Screen (Blu-ray/DVD): “Phillip Morris,” “Casino Jack,” “Taxi Driver” on Blu-ray & More

Small Screen (Blu-ray/DVD): "Phillip Morris," "Casino Jack," "Taxi Driver" on Blu-ray & More

This week on DVD and Blu-ray Jim Carrey falls for Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey gets greedy, two film titans meld on Blu-ray and more.

This Week’s Top Pick:

“I Love You Phillip Morris” Offers a Big Sunny Sugar Rush

The Deal: Originally screened at the Sundance Film Festival back in 2009, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s (co-writers of “Bad Santa”) “I Love You Phillip Morris,” finally landed in North American theaters last winter. Usually this type of lengthy delay would signal the film is a dud. Not in this case. (Blame some shady distributors.)

Jim Carrey stars as family man Steven Russell. When a car accident forces him to reconsider his life, Russell comes out to his friends and family and embarks on a grand lifestyle that also lands him in the slammer. Locked up, he meets Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor), and falls hard. (It’s based on a true story.)

“”Phillip Morris” offers a clean sugar rush,” wrote Eric Kohn in his indieWIRE review. “It’s also a busy movie, but that’s part of its shrewdness. The writer-directors economically set up multiple strands in the brilliantly arranged opening scenes: Steven was abandoned as a child, grew up as a Jesus freak, cheated on his wife with other men, and eventually became habitually addicted to conning other people out of their money.”

Extras: Audio commentary with producer Andrew Lazar and Requa/Ficarra, a featurette that goes into the making of the film and the theatrical trailer. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.


Other Hot Picks:

“The Taqwacores” Rock On

The Deal: A breakout at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival where it had its world premiere, Eyad Zahra’s feature directorial debut follows a straitlaced Pakistani-American college student who moves into a house with a group of Muslim misfits – all of whom live for Taqwacore, the hardcore Muslin punk-rock scene.

Available on DVD.


Kevin Spacey is Hell-Bent in “Casino Jack”

The Deal: Kevin Spacey turns in a big, brash turn as Jack Abramoff, the real-life Washington power player in George Hickenlooper’s last film, “Casino Jack.” Boasting a script by Norman Snider (“Dead Ringers”), “Casino Jack” tracks Abramoff’s wild rise to fortune and fame by any means necessary.

Extras: George Hicknlooper’s photo journal taken on the set, a gag reel and some deleted scenes. Available on DVD and Blu-ray.


“Taxi Driver” Restored for Blu-ray (Finally!)

The Deal: The film that made certifiable legends out of Robert De Niro and a young Jodie Foster gets a brand new restoration for its highly anticipated Blu-ray debut. The film still packs a punch.

Extras: An audio commentary recorded in 1986 with director Martin Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader, a slew of featurettes including “Producing Taxi Driver,” “Taxi Driver Stories” and “Travis’ New York Locations,” animated photo galleries and more. Best of all? A 70-minute documentary, “Making Taxi Driver,” carried over from the Criterion Collection. Available on Blu-ray.


Spielberg and Kubrick’s Love Child Remastered for a New Age

The Deal: One of the best and most enduring sci-fi tales to hit the screens in the past decade finally hits Blu-ray this week in a gleaming transfer sure to make fans happy. “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” was Stanley Kubrick’s famous pet project for a number of years before being taken up by Steven Spielberg following Kubrick’s death. The result pairs Kubrick’s coldness with Spielberg’s childlike awe to make for a chilling, heartwarming and ultimately heartbreaking parable about what the future might hold.

Extras: All of the extras included on the original DVD release are included here, but they’re a nice comprehensive bunch of featurettes that go into the story behind the production and how Spielberg pulled it off. Available on Blu-ray.


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