By Angela Dawson
Front Row Features
Two new DVD/Blu-ray releases to look for as the year winds down to a close are “Don Jon,” a comedic love triangle starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson and Internet porn, and an offbeat revenge western called “Sweetwater,” starring Jason Isaacs, Ed Harris and “Mad Men’s” January Jones.
“Don Jon,” written and directed by Gordon-Levitt, centers on an aimless New Jersey galoot, who spends his evenings hanging with his boys at bars sizing up the women before deciding which one to pick up and take home. He’s a modern-day Tony Manero minus the white polyester suit. The problem with Jon (known to his friends as Don Jon for his seduction skills) is he doesn’t find sexual fulfillment unless he’s watching Internet porn. This becomes a problem when he falls hard for a gum-chomping cutie named Barbara Sugerman (Johansson). Young and sexy Barbara teases and flirts but doesn’t go all the way—at least not right away, and not until Jon is helplessly hooked.
That’s when Barbara’s controlling personality starts to shine through. She insists Jon take a night school class, which he does. She insists he meet her family and he introduce her to his, which he does. She also insists that he stop watching Internet porn, which he can’t. When she catches him red-handed, so to speak, she drops him like a rock.
Meantime, Jon has developed an odd friendship with a much older night school classmate played by Julianne Moore. Though Moore’s easygoing Esther isn’t Jon’s usual bimbo-like type, he eventually finds himself drawn to her physically as well as for her judgment-free attitude. And, for the first time in his life, Jon discovers the transformative power of sex.
The Blu-ray/DVD edition comes with a Digital HD version that can be instantly streamed and downloaded onto smart phones, tablets and other electronic devices. Bonus materials include a “Making of Don Jon” featurette, “Don Jon’s Origin,” a segment called “Joe’s Hats!,” another called “Objectified,” “Themes and Variations” and shorts from HitRECord, Gordon-Levitt’s online production company.
The Blu-ray edition is available at the suggested retail price of $39.99. At $29.99, the DVD version includes HitRECord shorts and other extras.
If offbeat westerns are more your bag, check out ARC Entertainment’s “Sweetwater,” starring Emmy and Golden Globe nominee January Jones (TV’s “Mad Men”), Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Ed Harris (“Pollock,” “A History of Violence”) and Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” series). Directed by Logan Miller (“Touching Home”), from an adapted screenplay he wrote with his brother Noah Miller, “Sweetwater” is available on DVD for $20.99. The Blu-ray version has a retail price of $24.99.
In the late 1800’s, a beautiful former prostitute (Jones) is trying to build an honest life with her Mexican husband in the rugged plains of New Mexico.
When she catches the eye of a sadistic and powerful religious leader (Isaacs), her life is violently turned upside down. She embarks on a bloody course of vengeance with the assistance of a renegade sheriff (Harris), who has violent tendencies of his own.
Jones is a far-cry from reserved Betty Draper as a rugged red-haired frontierswoman, who can take care of herself when everyone and everything’s she’s loved and worked for is taken from her. Rated R for violence, language and graphic nudity.