This week: The movie everyone thought they would hate.
Blood Diamond (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Spawning well-deserved Oscar nods for Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou, this latest from Glory and Last Samurai maestro Ed Zwick centers on the horrors of the diamond trade in 1990s Sierra Leone. The first studio feature I've seen that deals graphically with the child armies created during this time, Diamond actually ups the ante on the brutality of the previous year's Africa expose The Constant Gardner, if not achieving that film's lyricism. Extras include a doc that follows a diamond from the ground to the store.
Late last year, Razzie founder John Wilson confessed "“At the first of the year, you could not have convinced me [Rocky Balboa] wasn’t going to be a Razzie contender,” but like the eponymous pugilist, the film defied expectations and actually got some good reviews. Still, without a talking robot (a la Rocky IV), I don't know if it will truly find a place in my heart. Extras include commentary by Stallone.
Eragon (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Those of you waiting for Jeremy Irons to star in another bad movie about dragons so you could have that double feature in your library, but were disappointed when he did not appear in Dungeons and Dragons 2, need wait no longer. I think you'll be happier if you just rent Dragonslayer again. You have to hand it to them for fully tricking out the second disc, however. It even has a pronunciation guide.
The Nativity Story
Disappointing narrative from Thirteen helmer Catherine Hardwicke who, even with the uber-talented Keisha Castle-Hughes as Mary, doesn't find the same emotional rawness that made Thirteen so memorable. Also manages to squander the talents of Ciaran Hinds and Alexander Siddig. The disc boasts no extras but, then again, I'm not sure what extras I'd want.
When a movie has a talking baseball bat voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, you pretty much know right then and there whether or not you want to venture further. One of the less successful animated features of 2006, this film has the distinction of being the only theatrical release on which Christopher Reeve has a directing credit. As the flick went into production after Reeve's tragic death, his involvement gets a little murky, but the extras feature a tribute to the man of steel, so his influence is certainly felt.