New on DVD

New on DVD

Away We Go
Rated R for language and some sexual content
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Sam Mendes (American Beauty) directs John Krasinski (The Office) and Maya Rudolph (SNL) in this little indie about an expecting couple that travels around North America looking for a place that they can finally consider a true home for themselves and their new baby.  The pic feels more like a thought-provoking buddy road trip movie than a romantic comedy, although there are enough laughs to keep the film well in the comedy genre.  But I think it’s the tears that folks will remember the most and the performances by the leads here are truly touching.  There are also a bevy of interesting characters to keep your attention throughout, with great cameos by a host of terrific actors like Catherine O’Hara, Jeff Daniels, Allison Janney, and Maggie Gyllenhaal.  Check out the extra on how the cast and crew went out of their way to keep the film’s carbon footprint to a bare minimum.   A-

Rated R for language
Available on DVD
If you are like me and you were hoping that Jennifer Anniston’s latest theatrical release Love Happens would have been a romantic comedy instead of whatever that was, check out this very low budget pic starring Anniston and Steve Zahn.  Anniston is a bored salesperson staying in a cheap motel in the middle of nowhere and Zahn is the son of the owners of said establishment.  When his cute but kind of creepy moves prove effective, a very different kind of relationship is forged and what we get is one of the better rom coms of the last few years.  Don’t let the art house label scare you off.  If this would have been released in theaters by Paramount it would have made a killing.  I just hope it gets a better second life on DVD.  A-

The Girlfriend Experience
Rated R for sexual content and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Between big box-office releases, director Steven Soderbergh (The Informant!) likes to push out an occasional very low budget indie.  The Girlfriend Experience tells the story of a high-end prostitute (played by adult film star Sasha Grey) as she attempts to live a half-way normal life, including her committed relationship with her personal trainer boyfriend.  Granted, too much time is spent exploring her boyfriend’s career and not the subject at hand, but still, the film is a fascinating and fresh look at the world’s oldest profession and the most surprising thing is that the movie isn’t at all about sex. B

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
Rated R
Available on Blu-ray
This obscure little film, which just so happened to be named one of Entertainment Weekly’s 20 Scariest Movies of All Time, is making its much anticipated blu-ray debut.  Loosely based on the real life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, the story follows Henry, living in Chicago with his sociopathic friend Otis and Otis’s sister Becky.  As he and Otis travel around committing acts of random murder, Henry becomes romantically involved with Becky, putting a strain on his relationship with Otis.  The movie is definitely sick and twisted.  I wouldn’t call it scary, but I would use the word disturbing.  Even more disturbing is the documentary on the real life Henry Lee Lucas who committed many of his murders in the state of Texas.  I’m actually very thankful they didn’t make the film completely accurate after watching that doc.  I’m even more thankful Lucas is not around to see it.  B

The Universe Seasons 1-3
Available on Blu-ray

The complete History Channel series The Universe is available in this 10 blu-ray set filled with pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about the universe we live in.  While the production isn’t quite up to Cosmos standards, and the animation is a little bit and miss, the content is very interesting and the examples made, while sometimes a little cheesy, are usually entertaining.  Sometimes there is a feeling that there’s not quite enough to fill each hour-long episode and that they are stretching a bit, but it seems that that is the route many of the science programs are going nowadays.  Still, if your goal is to learn about everything outside of the Planet Earth, this set will fully educate you.  B-

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