New on DVD and Blu-Ray: ‘Knight and Day’ and ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’

Knight and Day

James Mangold is a fairly interesting director that really shaped up last decade with Identity, Walk the Line, and 3:10 to Yuma. This year treated him a little worse, as his latest effort is something of a run-of-the-mill actioner. Depressingly, the box office reception of said film confirms my belief that the power of the movie star is officially dead. This is a depressing thought. Unfortunately, it is not the only depressing thing about Knight and Day.

I distinctly recall the trailer for this film being attached to Avatar last year. I thought it looked pretty good. Most movies can’t make me laugh, even the best of comedies, but this trailer did. Despite the fact that it didn’t really separate itself from any other mistaken identity thrillers in recent memory, I was still interested. Mangold had proved reliable.

The story of Knight and Day is pretty simple: an experienced spy (Cruise) involves himself violently in an innocent bystanders life (Diaz). Diaz then ends up romantically and violently involved with Cruise in a Cat-and-Mouse game of international espionage. She is swept up in a very Hollywood-esque sexy adventure.

And I’m totally fine with that. The concept of creating a throwback to slapstick action adventures and true star-vehicles is a good one. But this film finds itself treading in the same waters that Duplicity tried last year. These waters are evidently shallow. Both films aren’t quite quirky enough to sustain the energy of their own ideas. Ultimately they then drift into the realm of indistinguishable blandness. In other words, these aren’t recreations of the Cary Grant-Katherine Hepburn days, they are generic action flicks.

That said, they aren’t so bad and they will certainly entertain any viewer for a few solid hours. But it isn’t something that I would ever anticipate adding to my collection. Kick-Ass is the superior action-comedy of this year.

The DVD, like the film itself, feels just a tad cold. It is has a perfectly respectable single-feature, plus excellent commentary from the very gifted James Mangold. But all in all both the film and the release will leave most buyers feeling cold.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

John Turtletaub struck box office gold when he first worked with Nicolas Cage in National Treasure. That film, while resting on cliché overblown ideas, had a genuine sense of adventure to it. Naturally Turtletaub sought to work with Cage again. This film is, I guess supposed to appeal to the same audience as the 2003 film, but in case you couldn’t tell, this one didn’t go so well.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice deals with a modern day wizard of sorts who fights “evil.” The film gives very little in giving way to what this “evil” actually is. I guess wizards are just by nature of their career assigned to be a part of an epic battle over, well whatever evil appears to be taking over Manhattan at the given moment. Unfortunately for Jay Baruchel, he is also in this film.

Both Baruchel and Cage are very talented actors, but like Turtletaub, they are stuck in a rut of rather weak mainstream films that are holding them from doing anything of substance. I guess we could say the same for Tom Cruise in Knight and Day. But the most disappointing wasted talent is Alfred Molina, who was also seen in Prince of Persia this year. I guess being the villain in Spider-man 2 (an excellent role) has resulted in unfortunate typecasting.

This DVD is basically empty. There are no special features. But to be perfectly honest, I was indifferent to that with this film. It is not worth watching for almost any reason other than to watch the dying career of the underrated talent that is Nicolas Cage.

I wait every year for Cage to make a solid turn. Last year he pulled off Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. He is a classy talent that has an unfortunate love of mainstream drab. I just wish he would rethink his career choices. And he apparently needs to rethink his finances as well, after his declaration of bankruptcy earlier this year. Such are the predicaments of Hollywood.

On the Art of DVDs:

Knight and Day dropped the rather stylish white on black silhouettes in favor of clearly photoshopped, almost blurry images. I guess as a star vehicle, one cannot expect much more than advertisements of the stars themselves.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice takes roughly the same advertising path. The poster, much like the film itself is a pretty pathetic excursion into CGI.

Other Ventures:

What a horrid week. I feel like I have almost nothing worth mentioning here. For whatever reason, Twilight: Eclipse was released on Saturday. Is there something significant about the date December 4? Does anyone care?

There is also Going the Distance and Vampires Suck. Fantasia gets Blu-ray coverage, and frankly, I don’t care. I apologize if this week feels rushed and uninspired; I can’t help but feel uninspired by this week’s selections.

FilmMisery Recommends:

Avoid this week’s releases unless you want to see a display of wasted talent. Check out the Christmas classics instead.

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  • Andrew R.

    Fantasia’s on Blu-Ray? Ooh!

  • Jose

    How can someone not get excited for Fantasia AND FANTASIA 2000?1!?

  • Well, being that I don’t own a Blu-ray player it is hard to get excited, but I suppose I should muster some excitement as I probably will catch it in hi-def this week.

    Oh, and does the Tourist look exactly like Knight and Day to anyone else?

  • Jose

    I don’t have blu-ray either, but the fact that its receiving attention does get me excited.

    As for Knight and Day, not really, it kind of reminded me of Killers.

  • ‘Knight and Day’ as directed by the guy behind ‘The Lives of Others’.

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