As if it’s not hard enough for kids to break into the entertainment business, along comes this dazzling showcase to prove that Hollywood fortune favors triple threats more and more these days. Essentially a victory lap for the cast of the bitterly divisive Fox TV musical drama, it’s hard not to enjoy watching the show’s ragtag crew of bullied theater geeks and what their real-life counterparts can do when provided a supersized stage. Feel-good schmaltz involving diehard Glee fans’ own stories aside, it’s worth a rental to watch Heather Morris, who plays ditzy cheerleader Brittany, out-sing (and way out-dance) that other famous Britney on “I’m a Slave 4 U” to the rapturous delight of thousands. (available now)
Special Features: Deleted performances, backstage featurettes
Here’s an example of a good film hitting at exactly the right time – namely, during the Occupy Wall Street protests. Although J.C. Chandor’s claustrophobic character piece set on the eve of the 2008 financial collapse doesn’t exactly share DNA with the OWS crowd – if anything, Chandor’s wise exploration of the guys just under the guys largely responsible for “too big to fail” politics is sympathetic – it felt like the after-hours nightcap companion to Inside Job that many sensed was needed at that crucial moment. After all, there’s more to this moment in time than violent outrage; may we suggest Margin Call’s creeping terror, clammy anxiety and free-fall panic as well? (available now)
Special Features: Audio commentary, deleted scenes, featurette
If only there weren’t so many good movies rushed into theaters in December, this September gem would have cracked my year’s Top 10 list. Writer-director Gavin O’Connor works wonders with well-worn material of the Rocky kind by positioning a recovering alcoholic father (Nick Nolte), a cash-starved teacher (Joel Edgerton) and a military vet whose star has long since faded (Tom Hardy) in a mixed martial arts ring and have them duke it out for catharsis. Although certain plot points (brother vs. brother) hit harder than others (a melodramatic relapse), Warrior is most at home in the death cage where O’Connor’s balletic camera and unerring sense of geography brings to life a sport long thought of as the territory of aggro bros. (available now)
Special Features: Audio commentary, deleted scene, gag reel, featurettes
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