The Sting (Universal)
The greatest con job this 1973 Oscar winner for Best Picture pulls isn’t the one Paul Newman and Robert Redford reveal onscreen. It’s the one the movie pulls on the audience. This Depression-era buddy pic – about two swindlers looking to get even with the mobster who killed their pal – never shows its hand, even though you think it has. It’s a neat trick, and it hasn’t lost any of its sting over the past 40 years. The Blu-ray debut, part of Universal’s 100th Anniversary Collector’s Series, includes an hour-long documentary carried over from the old DVD and a new look back at the studio’s classic movies from the period. This is one of the very best.
Act of Valor (Twentieth Century Fox)
Real Navy SEALs star in a movie about real Navy SEALs on a mission to rescue a kidnapped CIA agent in Mexico. It’s based on a true story, and it’s total propaganda, no doubt about it. It’s like watching someone play Call of Duty, and just as much fun.
Machine Gun Preacher (Twentieth Century Fox)
Don’t be fooled by the grindhouse title. This pious true story about a former drug dealer who found God and helped save Sudanese children from Joseph Kony’s murderous army has more in common with The English Patient than Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Safe House (Universal)
Denzel Washington plays a rogue spy whom everybody wants a piece of; Ryan Reynolds is the rookie charged with keeping him alive. Twists, turns, and lots of action keep this thriller on its toes. It’s minor-league Bourne with some major-league performances.