Armchair Cinephile

PICK OF THE WEEK: Reign Over Me (Blu-Ray) (Sony)
A 9/11 elegy starring Adam Sandler may sound like an awful idea, but (a few tiny missteps aside) it’s astoundingly effective. This is a touching, funny, finely balanced feature by Mike Binder, featuring a strong supporting role for Don Cheadle.

Mala Noche (Criterion)

Gus Van Sant’s debut feature, an adaptation of Walt Curtis’s eponymous novel, has long been a bootleg-only collector’s item. Skipping middle-stage existence as a bare-bones, big-studio disc, Mala Noche hits DVD in full Criterion glory this week. The disc offers a doc about Curtis and new interviews with the director.

Black Sheep (IFC Films)

Another in the bountiful new wave of horror/comedy flicks, this one concerns genetically-modified sheep on a bucolic New Zealand farm. The chuckles-to-gore ratio is roughly one-to-one, as the anonymous cast gets some anti-developer jabs in for good measure.

28 Weeks Later (Fox)

The sequel wasn’t near as fresh and thrilling as the brilliant original. At least its DVD release gives Fox an opportunity to reissue both titles on Blu-Ray.

Roots: The Next Generations (Warner Bros.)

The sequel to the lauded Alex Haley-based miniseries may not be as famous as its predecessor, but it featured a startlingly heavyweight cast (from Ossie Davis to Marlon Brando, with Andy Griffith thrown in for fun). Both films are now available standalone, or in a nifty “complete collection” gift set.

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