This week: Andrew Garfield stars as the new Peter Parker alongside Emma Stone in "The Amazing Spider-Man," a reboot of the "Spider-Man" franchise Sam Raimi first helmed in 2002 with Tobey Maguire as the webslinger.
Also new this week is indie romantic dramedy "Your Sister's Sister," a huge collection celebrating Universal's 100th anniversary and the Blu-ray debut of "Sunset Blvd."
'The Amazing Spider-Man'
Box Office: $262 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 73% Fresh
Storyline: The Spider-Man franchise gets a reboot with Andrew Garfield as a teenage Peter Parker, a brainy outcast who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and transforms into the eponymous superhero and takes on the mutant Lizard terrorizing the city. Emma Stone plays sweetie Gwen Stacy, Sally Field is Aunt May, Martin Sheen is Uncle Ben, Denis Leary is Captain Stacy and Rhys Ifans is the Lizard/Dr. Curt Connors. "The Amazing Spider-Man" swings onto DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on a special Friday release of November 9.
Extras! Even if you don't buy one of the sets packaged with collectible Spidey and Lizard figurines, the discs still contain deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes documentaries, 16 pre-visualization sequences and a featurette on developing the video game. The Blu-ray 3D also has "3D 101" with director Marc Webb.
We Say: Did we need another Spider-Man origin story only ten years after Sam Raimi's version and a mere five years after his "Spider-Man 3?" No, we absolutely did not. But even though there is a "been there, done that" feeling to this reboot, there is no argument that Garfield makes a perfect Peter Parker and Stone complements him wonderfully as Gwen. The exciting battle sequences between Spidey and the Lizard pop, especially in the 3D version. With the origin story out of the way, this movie sets the stage for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" to cover new territory.
'Your Sister's Sister'
Box Office: $1.6 million
Rotten Tomatoes: 84% Fresh
Storyline: Jack (Mark Duplass) is still struggling emotionally a year after his brother's death and takes up the offer of his brother's best friend, Iris (Emily Blunt), to use her family's remote island cabin in the Pacific Northwest to seek catharsis. There he runs into Iris' sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt), who is reeling from the end of her seven-year relationship. A night of drinking and an awkward sexual incident leads to complications when Iris arrives the next morning.
Extras! Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain a commentary track with Duplass and writer-director Lynn Shelton.
We Say: Indie film fans will love the unconventional screenplay and earthy performances that offer a change of pace from the usual rom-com. Just prepare yourself for never-ending heart-to-heart talks about feelings.
Universal 100th Anniversary Collection
Box Office: N/A
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A
Storyline: This massive 25-film Blu-ray collection celebrates the movies that helped shaped Universal's legacy over the past century. Included are "All Quiet on the Western Front," "Dracula," "Spartacus," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "The Birds," "American Graffiti," "The Sting," "Jaws," "National Lampoon's Animal House," "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," "Scarface," "Back to the Future," "The Breakfast Club," "Out of Africa," "Jurassic Park," "Apollo 13," "The Bourne Identity" and more.
Extras! The set is packaged with a 72-page collector's book with rare photos and memorabilia that chronicles the history of the studio over the past 100 years. Also included is a 15-track music CD featuring the most memorable scores from Universal films. There is also a bonus disc with eight "100 Years of Universal" featurettes featuring vintage cartoons and rarely seen shorts from the Universal archives.
We Say: Although the merit of some of the included movies is questionable ("The Fast and the Furious"? Mamma Mia"?), there is no question that this handsome set is an impressive anniversary gift from Universal to its fans.
'Sunset Blvd.' Blu-ray
Box Office: $5 million worldwide
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% Fresh
Storyline: Billy Wilder's immortal 1950 drama tells the story of struggling writer Joe Gillis (William Holden) who shacks up with fading silent movie star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) in her dusty mansion while he polishes up her self-indulgent screenplay that she believes will lead to her big comeback in this strange new era of "talkies." As Norma becomes increasingly delusional and more attached to the much-younger Joe, the writer wishes he could pen a happier ending for himself than winding up face-down in a pool.
Extras! The only new bonus for "Sunset Blvd."'s Blu-ray debut is a deleted scene, but the BD ports over a lot of the supplemental material from the previous DVD releases, including vintage interviews, classic archive material, a Hollywood location map, a look at Paramount's '50s releases and much more.
We Say: When Norma Desmond — wild-eyed and completely out of touch with reality — descends those stairs in the film's ending moments for her final close-up before she is whisked off to prison for murder, you can't help but think how much it still resonates today in our celebrity-obsessed culture. This high-def presentation brings the black-and-white film to life like never before, which would make Norma "I had the eyes of the whole world" Desmond happy.
Also New This Week:
"They Live" Collector's Edition Blu-ray
"Fire with Fire"
"Planes, Trains & Automobiles" Blu-ray