DVDs of the Week: 'The Bank Job'; 'Cuckoo's Nest' on BD

From Stacie Hougland: If you're a fan of Brit actor Jason Statham, like I am, you've forgiven his last few filmic transgressions (read: In the Name of the King, War, the dreadful Crank) and will still give the guy a chance.

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If you missed him on the big screen in The Bank Job, you won't be disappointed with the DVD. In fact, you'll likely be thrilled to see Statham doing what he does best: glower and grimace in true Brit fashion as a hardcore criminal with a heart of somewhat tarnished gold. This particular film tells the negligibly true story of the famed 1971 "walkie-talkie" robbery of Lloyd's Bank in London, committed by one Terry Leather (Statham) and his band of motley thieves at the behest of Terry's former flame Martine (Saffron Burrows), who has engineered the heist with help from a high-up politico. Meanwhile, a low-rent porn king, some dirty cops, a black radical and the British government all want to get their hands on certain items in the bank's safe deposit boxes, for different reasons that connect in the end.

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Tense and compelling, The Bank Job moves at a brisk speed without being confusing, as these movies with all-British casts can be. Statham endears as the reluctant criminal, torn between the thrill of the game and his attraction to Martine, and his love for his family. Director Roger Donaldson (No Way Out) whips up an intricate, if believability-straining, tale that works especially well thanks to superb set and costume design reflecting the gritty '70s London streets.

Extras: Both the 2-disc DVD and Blu-ray offer the obligatory making-of video, and audio commentary by the director and Saffron Burrows--but where's Statham? Those curious for more about this decades-old (and unresolved) case will find "The Baker Street Bank Raid" featurette the most worthwhile, with on-the-scene observations and anecdotes from former policemen and historians.

Overview: Definitely a strong entry in the British crime-caper category, The Bank Job is a don't-miss for fans of the genre and Jason Statham, even if the extras are a bit flimsy.

Also New and Noteworthy: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
One of my all-time favorite films makes its debut on Blu-ray Disc this week, accompanied by a 36-page collectible book containing rare photos, cast bios and behind-the-scenes trivia about the production.

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If you somehow missed this classic, snap it up NOW. Jack Nicholson's tour de force performance as a convict who mistakenly thinks time in a mental ward beats time behind bars, and fakes insanity to avoid prison. Rebellious and wild, the chaos he causes among the real patients brings on the wrath of one of screendom's nastiest villains ever, Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher). The film swept the 1976 Oscars, winning five major categories including Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director, and Adapted Screenplay.

Overview: The Blu-ray contains all the extras released on a 2-disc edition a few years ago. The aforementioned full-color collectible book is very well done, and makes for some nice packaging (albeit sans the blue casing that identify it as a BD). Definitely check out the eight deleted scenes--for once, they're worth watching. Although the film doesn't necessarily benefit from the high-def format (it's still a little grainy and the sound isn't great, but that's due to the source material), it's a terrific addition to your BD collection.
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