It’s interesting to reflect that Ryan Reynolds built his career largely on comedic work, since he gave one of last year’s most harrowing big-screen performances in director Rodrigo Cortes’ drama about an American contractee kidnapped and buried alive in Iraq. Any viewer is guaranteed to feel the character’s claustrophobia as he struggles to keep his wits in his way-too-compact prison, with a lighter and a cell phone his only available tools for survival. Samantha Mathis is among the members of the voice cast, but this is Reynolds’ show, and his impact here is undeniable. DVD extra: “making-of” documentary. (Rated R; available on Blu-Ray)
Robert De Niro has top billing in this drama, but Edward Norton plays the title character, a convict who is up for early parole. Trying to ensure he’ll get it, he dispatches his wife (Milla Jovovich) to appeal to the better nature of the parole officer (De Niro) in charge of his case. The effects are surprising for all concerned, including the officer’s wife (Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under). DVD extras: theatrical trailer; “making-of” documentary. (Rated R; available on Blu-Ray)
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A stylish, well-organized bank-robbery gang makes the mistake of staging one heist too many — and drawing the attention of a police detective (Matt Dillon) determined to bring down their operation — in this fast-paced melodrama. Idris Elba plays the ringleader of the criminals who also include Hayden Christensen, Paul Walker (The Fast and the Furious), Michael Ealy (The Good Wife), and music’s Chris Brown and Tip “T.I.” Harris. A highlight is a terrific chase sequence involving most of Los Angeles’ means of transportation. DVD extras: audio commentary by cast and crews; music video. (Rated PG-13; available on Blu-Ray)