A tightly wound thriller that keeps the twists coming, State of Play stars Russell Crowe as a scruffy, shoe-leather investigative journalist whose ethics conflict with his friendship with a married congressman (Ben Affleck) who's caught in a sex scandal made worse when the mistress turns up dead. As the coincidences pile up, things become more and more confusing, and Crowe unwillingly finds himself hooked up with the paper's new star blogger-cum-reporter to get to the bottom of it. Keep an eye out for a terrific Jason Bateman as a sleazy PR hack and Helen Mirren as a tough-as-nails newspaper editor.
Also new this week:
Earth Stunning visuals set this wildlife documentary sky-high above others (yes you, March of the Penguins) that tells the beautiful if often sad circle-of-life story starring lions and birds and elephants, oh my. The only drawback is James Earl Jones's lame narration.
Sin Nombre A young girl traveling from Honduras to the States with family hoping for a better life meets a tattooed gangster on the run from his own homies. Far from being a meet-cute romance, it's a brutal, unforgiving look at the danger and poverty involved in illegal immigration.
New on Blu:
Two Oscar-winning epics make their way to high-def this week, Gladiator and Braveheart, the debut releases in Paramount Home Entertainment's new Sapphire Series highlighting award-winning films. Mel Gibson's Scottish war tale offers all-new interviews with cast and crew, and a cool 3-D interactive featurette showing two real-life military battlefields. Ridley Scott's Gladiator has a great making-of documentary including the HBO First Look special and a Learning Channel special about the real-life bloodsport, among other features.