Video Minefield: DVD & Blu-Ray releases for May 29

Video Minefield: New on DVD & Blu-RayThere are five new options for home viewing this week. We’ve got you covered…

CoriolanusCoriolanus, actor Ralph Fiennes’ directorial debut, is a post-modern treatment of Shakespeare, but those hoping for the exuberance of Baz Lurhman’s Romeo + Juliet had best stay far away. Here, Fiennes and writer John Logan transplant the Bard of Avon’s dialogue–largely word-for-word–into a contemporary setting in order to make the story even bloodier, more tragic. AK-47s replace swords and CNN covers the proceedings, which find the the titular general (Fiennes) embroiled in conflict and banished from his kingdom. The movie is unique and its juxtaposition of its source with modern institutions provides food for thought, but it does little to make Shakespeare accessible. If not for the forceful performances of Fiennes, Gerard Butler, Vanessa Redgrave, and Jessica Chastain, I would have checked out at the first “doth.” C   –Danny Baldwin   (Buy on Amazon)

GoneGone is the best Lifetime Original Movie that Lifetime never made. If that sounds wretched to you, then you’re probably not the target audience. But if you have a penchant for cheese-ball ‘90s thrillers featuring female protagonists who may or may not be crazy (I do), this one hits the spot. The lovely Amanda Seyfried stars as Jill, who is confident that the man who once kidnapped her has now nabbed her adult sister, despite the cops’ insistence otherwise. Taking matters into her own hands ensues. Portland greenery makes for a picturesque backdrop and scene-chewing supporting performances (especially from Avatar’s Joel David Moore) are great fun. Gone is grease-laden junk-food, but sometimes, grease-laden junk-food is what you want. B-   –D.B.   (Buy on Amazon)

GoonGoon stars Seann William Scott in a textured performance as a bouncer-turned-professional-hockey player who revels in the sport’s violent theatrics. But for as much as Scott commits to the role, Michael Dowse’s direction and Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg’s screenplay tell us very little about how to read the character. Is he a Travis Bickle-esque sociopath, a lovable loser, or just white-trash? A movie shouldn’t force-feed its audience all the answers, but it needs to provide a clear tone and some sense of direction. Goon is completely aimless and, as a result, the viewer is left wondering what, if anything, it has to say. Scott’s brilliant turn is essentially wasted, as is a nice supporting bit from Allison Pill as the love interest — those two would do well together in a full-fledged rom-com. C-   -D.B.   (Buy on Amazon)

Man on a LedgeMan on a Ledge is thoroughly unremarkable, but it hits the expected beats with such precision that there’s no reason to take the movie’s lack of ambition to task. It delivers exactly what it promises — A fugitive threatening to commit suicide by jumping off a hotel ledge as part of an elaborate plan to prove his innocence. There is never any doubt that he’ll be able to pull the scheme off in the end, but it’s still an exhilarating ride getting there — the cinematography is enough to make anyone with even the slightest case of Acrophobia squirm, Sam Worthington makes for a likable lead, and magnetic newcomer Genesis Rodriguez looks really good in tight jumpsuits. It’s also refreshing that the third-act completely goes for broke, realizing that being overly preposterous should be the last concern of a movie with this premise. Make sure to watch it with popcorn. B-   –D.B.   (Buy on Amazon)

We Need to Talk About KevinWe Need to Talk About Kevin is a bitter antidote to two types of films: those that present horror as an invulnerable killer with a knife, and those that depict motherhood as the greatest conceivable joy. Its labeling as a killer child film is inevitable but misleading, as the tension springs from the ceaseless torture wrought by the eponymous Kevin (Ezra Miller) on his mother Eva (Tilda Swinton) over 17 years. Director Lynne Ramsay, working off Lionel Shriver’s novel, gives us a question to ponder: is Kevin’s psychopathic antagonism innate, or the result of his mother’s own resentment for the ruin he brought to her previously adventurous life? The plot is shuffled so that we see Kevin’s demonic development alongside the aftermath of a school massacre. Swinton wonderfully portrays Eva as a study in ruin, a woman so cowed by the evil of her spawn that she’s unable to even flee. Ramsay fumbles when stepping outside the mother/son war, such as with the handling of Kevin’s father, played by John C. Reilly as a study in willing cluelessness. His own idiocy defies believability, as do the actions and reactions of the others surrounding the two leads. The story falters under the strain of examination, but as a depiction of the worst-case-scenario destruction wrought upon a parent by their child, the movie proves enduringly horrifying. B-   –James Frazier   (Buy on Amazon)