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Superman box set, John Wayne Westerns among new home entertainment titles 

THE COMPANY MEN (2010). The topic tackled in The Company Men — the alarming rate of downsizing in corporate America — was already handled perfectly in 2009's best film, Up in the Air. This lackluster drama, on the other hand, is a superficial look at this contemporary crisis, following a group of polished suits — shallow Bobby (Ben Affleck), panicky Phil (Chris Cooper) and introspective Gene (Tommy Lee Jones) — who find themselves shown the door at the conglomerate for which they've long toiled. Humbled and humiliated, the men are forced to make sacrifices like giving up their country-club golf memberships and trading in their Porsches — and, in the movie's most cringe-worthy moment, Bobby's son discards his Xbox for no discernible reason other than to bloodily claw at viewers' heartstrings. Luckily, Bobby's brother-in-law Jack (Kevin Costner), a salt-of-the-earth construction worker, is on hand to remind everyone that it's better to dance with wolves than finagle with stockholders, or something like that. With its unconvincing stabs at real-world misery and a contrived ending that's one degree removed from a deus ex machina, The Company Men can easily be ignored for more pressing business.

Blu-ray extras include audio-commentary by writer-director John Wells; a 15-minute making-of featurette; six deleted scenes totaling seven minutes; and an alternate ending.

Movie: **

Extras: **

JUST GO WITH IT (2011). Adam Sandler's most recent catnip for knuckleheads is based on Cactus Flower, a farce that's been the basis for a French play, a Broadway hit, and a middling 1969 film starring Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman and Goldie Hawn in her Oscar-winning role. The base story — the usual formula about a man (in this case, Sandler's plastic surgeon) who spends all his time chasing the wrong woman (Brooklyn Decker's school teacher) before realizing that the Right One (Jennifer Aniston's office assistant) was by his side all along — is workable; there are a few genuine chuckles; and the child actors (Bailee Madison and Griffin Gluck) have more personality than the usual plastic moppets. But any potential is negated by bad casting choices — not Charlotte-raised bombshell Decker, who fulfills the minimal demands of her role, but screen irritant Nick Swardson, a useless Dave Matthews and a slumming Nicole Kidman — as well as the typical Sandler concessions to fratboy humor. Whether it's a kid pooping on Swardson's hand or Sandler describing his own poop as "black pickles," these witless interludes destroy the film's raison d'être: its romcom convictions. After all, it's hard to snuggle with your sweetie on the couch when both hands are required to cover your nose and mouth.

Blu-ray extras include audio commentary by Sandler and Swardson; separate audio commentary by director Dennis Dugan; 16 deleted scenes totaling 17 minutes; 13 behind-the-scenes shorts with such titles as "Decker's Got Gas" and "Sneaky Kiki & Bart the Water Fart"; and a 5-minute gag reel.

Movie: *1/2

Extras: **

A MAN CALLED HORSE (1970) / RIO LOBO (1970) / BIG JAKE (1971). Just as reliably as birds fly south for the winter, Hollywood releases classic Westerns on disc just in time for Father's Day. For this celebratory go-around, Paramount Home Entertainment has opted to debut three oaters from the early 70s on Blu-ray.

One of three prominent 1970 releases to largely center on Native Americans (the others being the magnificent Little Big Man and the so-so Soldier Blue), A Man Called Horse was successful enough to spawn a pair of sequels in 1976's The Return of a Man Called Horse and 1983's Triumphs of a Man Called Horse. Today, though, it's mainly remembered for only one sequence (more on that in a second); in all other respects, it's like a test run for Dances with Wolves, with Richard Harris cast as an English lord who's captured by Sioux warriors but eventually becomes an integral member of the tribe. Initially treated like an animal (hence the title), he soon proves his valor and, in order to marry the lovely sister (Corinna Tsopei) of the chief (Manu Tupou), must undergo the Sun Vow, a bloody ceremony that involves dangling from spikes thrust through the chest. This once-iconic sequence still retains some potency, as does the climactic battle between warring tribes, but much of the film is undone by what ultimately remains just a surface look at a different culture.

It's simply absurd that the man who directed (to name just a few of his classics) His Girl Friday, Rio Bravo, The Big Sleep and the original Scarface isn't as known to the masses as Alfred Hitchcock or Frank Capra, but that continues to be the tragic fate of Howard Hawks. The great filmmaker reportedly wasn't too pleased with Rio Lobo, his final picture (he would pass away seven years later, at the age of 81), yet while it clearly doesn't compare to his many masterpieces, it's nevertheless a pleasant and perfectly acceptable way to sign off a career. Frequent Hawks leading man John Wayne is typically larger-than-life as Cord McNally, a Union officer who teams up with two Confederate soldiers (Jorge Rivero and Christopher Mitchum, Robert's son) immediately after the Civil War in order to locate the man who betrayed his side during the skirmish. With a playful script co-written by Leigh Brackett (she not only co-wrote the earlier Rio Bravo but also The Empire Strikes Back) and a mischievous performance by Western vet Jack Elam, Rio Lobo is rarely meant to be taken too seriously. As the female lead, Jennifer O'Neill is simply terrible; as the secondary female character Amelita, Sherry Lansing is just passable, but after this picture, she had the sense to give up acting altogether and work behind the scenes, resulting in a spectacular career as the first woman head of a major studio and one of the guiding lights behind a string of massive hits (including Fatal Attraction, Forrest Gump and Titanic).

Rio Lobo proved to be a commercial failure for John Wayne, but the nation's top box office draw quickly drew audiences back into theaters with his next picture, Big Jake. The Duke stars as Jake McCandles, who's summoned by his estranged wife (Maureen O'Hara) to set out after the criminals who kidnapped their grandson, Little Jake (Ethan Wayne, in actuality John Wayne's son). Accompanying him on this mission are his sons Michael (Christopher Mitchum again, positioned to become a permanent part of Wayne's acting troupe until The Duke learned of his leftist views) and James (Patrick Wayne, another real-life offspring), as well as his best friend, Sam Sharpnose (Bruce Cabot). The humor is more forced than in other Wayne outings, yet what truly sinks the picture is its extreme violence. This is easily the bloodiest movie The Duke ever made — the opening massacre, which includes a small boy getting gunned down, a young woman hacked to death with a machete, and the outlaws taking extra satisfaction in repeatedly shooting an elderly black cook in the back, is almost unwatchable — and it flies in the face of Wayne's hypocritical statements at the time abhoring the new levels of sex and violence in American cinema. Wayne, Cabot and especially Richard Boone (as the head kidnapper) are fine, but Patrick Wayne's emoting is torturous to behold.

There are no extras on the Blu-rays, not even the original theatrical trailers.

A Man Called Horse: **1/2

Rio Lobo: ***

Big Jake: **

Extras: *

THE SUPERMAN MOTION PICTURE ANTHOLOGY (1978-2006). Along with Fox's release last year of its Alien Anthology, this Warner Bros. product is perhaps the best Blu-ray box set I've yet encountered. Similar (though not identical) to the DVD set released in 2006, this includes all seven versions of the five films that were produced over the course of a quarter-century.

For my money, Superman (1978) still remains the best superhero movie ever made, full of humor, heart, and an iconic performance by Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. An Oscar winner for its visual effects, this exciting adventure also contains one of John Williams' best scores, a rich screenplay by the heavyweight team of Mario Puzo (The Godfather), Robert Benton (Bonnie and Clyde), David Newman (ditto) and Leslie Newman, and terrific performances down the line, including Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, Margot Kidder as Lois Lane and Valerie Perrine as Eve Teschmacher (the last-named making my teen heart race during the picture's original run). This set includes the 1978 theatrical release and the 2000 touch up Superman: The Expanded Edition (with eight additional minutes); both are superb.

Superman II (1981), in which our hero squares off against three super-foes (Terence Stamp, Sarah Douglas and Jack O'Halloran), is slam-bang entertainment, capturing the style of an actual comic book better than just about any other adaptation that comes to mind. The first movie's director, Richard Donner, was famously replaced on this sequel (by Richard Lester) after ample filming, an occurrence which finally gave way in 2006 to Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut. This edit primarily contains restored footage of Marlon Brando as Jor-El, but given its erratic pacing and occasional lulls, I still prefer the version shown in theaters back in '81.

Superman III (1983) exhibited the falloff experienced by too many grasping second sequels. While hardly a disaster, it still qualifies as a massive disappointment, even with Richard Pryor in a featured role as a computer whiz duped by a criminal mastermind (Robert Vaughn) into tangling with the Man of Steel.

The studio largely gave up on the franchise and handed it over to notorious 1980s schlockmeisters Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, whose Cannon Group was largely responsible for the fall of Charles Bronson's career and the rise of Chuck Norris' and Jean-Claude Van Damme's (all unpardonable crimes). The resultant Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), which appears to have been filmed for a buck fifty, is an absolute embarrassment, with Superman squaring off against Nuclear Man (Mark Pillow), Hackman and Kidder returning for no discernible reason, and Jon Cryer and Mariel Hemingway looking extremely out of place.

After successfully kicking off the X-Men franchise with X-Men and X2, director Bryan Singer attempted to resurrect Superman's screen career with Superman Returns (2006), a fine update with Brandon Routh as the new Man of Steel and Kevin Spacey as a jovial Lex Luthor. Still, the film didn't wow audiences and critics as anticipated, meaning that another reboot is on the horizon: 2012's Man of Steel, with Henry Cavill as Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane.

Among the countless extras in this eight-disc Blu-ray set are (take a deep breath) audio commentaries; deleted scenes; making-of featurettes; the 1951 theatrical release Superman and the Mole Men (starring George Reeves); 17 Superman cartoons from the 1940s; screen tests for the 1978 Superman; the 110-minute documentary Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman; the 90-minute documentary You Will Believe: The Cinematic Saga of Superman; and the 1958 TV pilot for The Adventures of Superpup, so cheesy that it almost makes the 60s Batman TV show look as sober-minded as Hill Street Blues by comparison.

Superman: ****

Superman: The Expanded Edition: ****

Superman II: ***1/2

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut: ***

Superman III: **1/2

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace: *1/2

Superman Returns: ***

Extras: ****

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