New on DVD

New on DVD

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Rated R for bloody violence and some sexuality
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This prequel to the original Underworld series sets up the story of the first half-werewolf half-human lycan named Lucian (Frost/Nixon’s Michael Sheen) and the war the lycans begin with their slave-master vampires lead by Viktor (Love Actually’s Bill Nighy).  I have the same criticism for this third film in the the series that I did for the first two: this would be a great movie with more money.  With a big studio to back these films, they could have something on a grand level.  The story is pretty good, and the actors are very talented.  More money would bring a better director and special effects worthy of this project.  Still, I think this film can still be appreciated for what it is.  B-

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing thematic material, sexual content, some drug references and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Liam Neeson is an ex-CIA operative whose daughter has been kidnapped in Europe and forced into the sex trade.  Realizing that there is only a short amount of time before he loses her forever, he flies to Paris and kills everyone that has ever come into contact with her.  I believe that this film had real potential as a thriller.  After all, it’s about a father trying to save his little girl’s life and that can bring out some very strong emotions.  I was disappointed in the film primarily because it is a Rated R film posing as a PG-13 picture.  This really gets in the way of the film’s integrity.  Also, I thought that the involvement of the mother and stepfather was ludicrously absent throughout.  There were also some major script problems that I don’t want to discuss due to possibly spoiling it for some folks.  This film did make a lot of money though ($217 million world-wide) so audiences obviously found something in it that they liked.  C

The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin: The Complete Series
Unrated – Made for television
Available on DVD

This 1970’s BBC comedy tells the story of Reginald Perrin, an unhappy man going through a mid-life crisis.  He is deeply bored with work and hasn’t had a holiday in years.  He is in love with his wife, but dreams of an affair with his secretary.  One day he decides he has had enough, fakes his suicide, and disappears.  When he desires his old life again, he assumes a new identity and attempts to re-enter his old life through a new persona.  This very ambitious three season comedy had me in stitches with its dry British wit and off-the-wall sense of humor.  A-

Taking Chance
Unrated – suitable for all audiences
Available on DVD

Based on real events, Lt. Col. Michael Strobl (Kevin Bacon) volunteers to escort fallen marine Chance Phelps from Delaware to his home in rural Wyoming.  Along the way he sees an America that is touched by the sacrifice the marine has made and meets the many people whose lives were effected by this young man’s death.  There is no real drama here, but rather a simple, short story that almost feels like a nicely produced reenactment on what goes on behind the scenes when a soldier dies overseas.  While it is not a compelling feature film, it is a very moving, patriotic story that I am glad was told.  I will warn you, though, that it is an impossible feat to watch this film without crying.  And to make the tears fall even harder, check out the special features section with accompanying interviews from Chance’s family and fellow Marines.  A-

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