After a couple of stacked weeks of Blu-ray and DVD releases, it’s kind of nice to sit back and enjoy just a few movies this week. From magicians to high stakes car chases, this week’s new releases are full of a bunch of oddball films that have made their way through theaters and festivals earlier this year. Read on to learn about some of June 25th’s best releases, and maybe even a few that may have slipped under your radar.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Blu-ray
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is the tale of a partnership gone awry, of magic and spectacle versus crazy and dangerous antics. The tale pokes fun at some of Las Vegas’ finest while still managing to be a film about how a person handles the big moments in his or her life, including dealing with work partnerships and maintaining lifelong friendships.
Though its trailers make the film seem like a balls-to-the-wall comedy, Burt Wonderstone is often a really thoughtful film. Early on we get to see two young kids engage with magic and invest in a partnership because of it. Years later, Burt (Steve Carell) and Anton (Steve Buscemi) are a wildly successful Vegas magician team who barely speak to one another offstage. When a new and dangerous street magician named Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) comes to town, Burt and Anton’s show is threatened for the first time.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’s comedy is, for the most part, character-based, rather than focused on quick dialogue or ridiculous situations. Carell’s Wonderstone has a typical superstar mentality, but he’s living in the past and has trouble with change. There’s plenty of humorous affect in the character, but other than one instance in a hotbox, it's never so over-the-top that wild shenanigans occur. Steve Buscemi is especially great in this movie, playing the quiet and wry straight man to Buscemi’s more vibrant personality. It’s nice to see him take a huge step away from his Boardwalk Empire character and play a man with less violent tendencies. Additionally, Alan Arkin pops up in the film, playing a character far removed from last year’s Argo performance. Arkin plays Rance Holloway, a man devoted to magic who helps the dynamic duo to get back on track.
However, it’s sort of hard to see James Gandolfini in this movie, as he is underutilized as the corporate casino owner pulling the strings when Burt and Anton’s gig is on the line. After news broke that Gandolfini had died of a heart attack earlier this week, I hoped this last big theatrical gig would feature the man going out with a bang. Instead, like Olivia Wilde’s Jane, we don’t get to see enough of Gandolfini’s character, even though he pops up frequently throughout the flick.
All in all, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone won’t keep audiences in a fit of giggle. Additionally, Don Scardino’s film isn’t breaking any barriers in comedy and it doesn’t off the best performance we’ve seen from its lead actor. However, the magician-based tale is a good story, and it’s an enjoyable and easy movie to watch—especially from the comfort of your own couch.
You can order The Incredible Burt Wonderstone over at Amazon.
Best Special Feature: The deleted and alternate scenes are usually pretty good when they are a bonus feature with comedy films. However, these scenes are especially interesting this time around, thanks to how many scenes that seem to have been shot and re-shot. Improv is a big part of comedy, but the amount of content in this bonus feature shows how much extra footage was shot for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, which may mean the film had some trouble finding a direction to go. More importantly, it gives fans some extra time with the characters in the film.
Other Special Features:
“Steve Gray UNCUT”
“Making Movie Magic with David Copperfield”