DVD Releases for March 10, 2009

DVD Releases for March 10, 2009

Let the Right One In
Rated R for some bloody violence including disturbing images, brief nudity and language
Swedish with English subtitles (English-dubbed version available also)
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

For those out there that felt Twilight has butchered the vampire genre, never fear (no pun intended), the Swedes are here with this horror masterpiece.  When a bullied twelve-year-old boy finds a new best friend that just happens to be a same-aged vampire, his life is changed forever.  Relying more on drama than easy scares, the chills are subtle and therefore much more effective.  This tale is compelling enough to have been a major contender for 2008 foreign film awards and achieved a 97% Fresh Tomato Meter on Rottentomatoes.com, making it officially one of the best reviewed films of the year.  This is absolutely one of the greatest horror films ever made and a must-see for those who are into that sort of thing.  A

Pinocchio (70th Anniversary Platinum Edition)
Rated G
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This newly restored edition of Walt Disney’s Pinocchio really shows off why many believe this to be the most amazing animated feature ever made.  A Disney animator once told me that if you were to remake Pinocchio today the way it was made then, it might end up being the most expensive film in history.  Watching on blu-ray is a spectacle that everyone should experience.  The details are exhaustively intense and the art shines for all 88 minutes.  In addition, there are loads of special features that will not only educate, but keep you entertained for hours.  I highly advise watching the movie in Disney View, which adds a beautiful letterbox to the sides of the screen.  A+

Role Models
Unrated (Was Rated R for crude and sexual content, strong language and nudity)
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott are two pseudo-friends that are sentenced to a big brother program.  What could have been a tame and lame film turns out to be a really funny comedy filled with bad behavior.  While the story isn’t the best, the laughs are plenty and I found the movie to be very enjoyable.  B+

Synecdoche, New York
Rated R for language and some sexual content/nudity
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Philip Seymore Hoffman is a playwright in New York that receives a genius grant in order to allow him to write and direct a play of great importance.  His play takes him decades to produce and, well, I’m really not sure what I just saw.  If you thought that writer Charlie Kaufman’s earlier works (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich) were weird, you ain’t seen nothin yet.  This is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen, and I have not yet put in the time necessary to understand it, frankly because I think it can’t be understood.  Warning – do not do what I did and watch this film sober.  C

Milk
Rated R for language, some sexual content, and brief violence
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Sean Penn just won the Oscar for this portrayal of gay politician Harvey Milk.  While there is no doubt that Penn gives a worthy performance, I wasn’t sold on the story (which also won an Oscar for best screenplay).  I found the lack of character development of the villain, played by Oscar nominee Josh Brolin to be distracting, especially in light of how important he was to the overall story.  I will also freely admit that I wasn’t that comfortable with the overall subject material.  B

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic material involving the holocaust
Available on DVD

Set in Germany during the World War II, a young boy secretly makes friends with another young boy living in a concentration camp.  The biggest problem with this film is that it feels like it was made simply to win an Oscar.  The subject material is thought provoking, but starts to feel fake about half way through.  And the overly dramatic ending could have been more believable and better directed.  C

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