New on DVD

New on DVD

Watchmen: Director’s Cut
Rated R for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

In time for the world-famous Comic-Con convention in San Diego comes this new three-hour cut of the cult comic classic turned big-budget blockbuster.  When one of a group of renegade super heroes named The Comedian is brutally murdered, one of his teammates, Rorschach investigates who could have killed him and what he discovers is bigger than he or anyone could ever imagine.  The movie itself is very good, but very dark, with, what I thought, were some questionable artistic choices in music and even story.  But I really liked this new cut and and what I liked even more was the special blu-ray feature of immersive maximum movie mode where director Zach Snyder shows you his take on the movie while you are watching it, with all kinds of great looks at the special effects and features that went into the making of the film.  This is truly one of the most impressive special features I have come across yet and it seems like Zack and Warner Brothers are really setting the bar high here.  A-

Rated PG for thematic elements, scary images, some language, and suggestive humor
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

For young Coraline, the world just seems flat.  She has just moved to a boring, bland town.  Her parents are always working on their computers and have no time to spend with her and no money to buy her things.  One night when she enters what she discovers to be the “Other World” she finds a nice mom and dad, with lots of great food, and time, and things.  The new world is full of color and life.  But it comes with a cost.  This stop-motion animated film from Henry Selick, the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and based on the book by Neil Gaiman is masterfully crafted and just plain weird.  The film was in 3D in select theaters and is available in a 3D version here.  While the 3D is cool, it’s not nearly as beautiful as the 2D and I highly recommend watching the film without the included glasses.  The colors are much more brisk and you’ll end up with less of a headache from the red-blue tints.  Also, check out the making-of special feature as it is almost as impressive just watching them make the film.  A-

The Great Buck Howard
Rated PG for some language including suggestive remarks, and a drug reference
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Colin Hanks is a law school drop out that goes on the road to work as an assistant to an aging magician/mentalist (John Malkovich), whose claim to fame was that he appeared on the Johnny Carson show dozens of times.  While the film seems a little too indie, especially with a cast including these two plus Tom Hanks and Emily Blunt, it is fun to see Malkovich in such an incredible role.  The film is worth a rental just for his amazing performance as the lonely, end-of-his-life entertainer.  I hope that enough folks see this film come awards time this year so that he might get his due from it.  B

Echelon Conspiracy
Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense violence and action, some sexuality and brief language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

A young engineer obtains a cell phone that sends him messages granting him good fortune wherever he goes, but soon he finds himself the center of a deadly international plot.  Ed Burns, Martin Sheen, Ving Rhames, and Shane West all phone their performances in for this horrendous Bourne wannabe.  It’s badly directed, badly written, and you could tell the actors were just taking their paychecks.  F

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