New on DVD

New on DVD

Whatever Works
Rated PG-13 for sexual situations including dialogue, brief nude images and thematic material
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Larry David, pretending to be Woody Allen in this Allen film, is an old curmudgeonly man with a negative disposition and a terrible outlook on life.  One night he meets a young naive girl from the south played by Evan Rachel Wood who convinces him to let her live in his house until she can get up on her feet.  The two are polar opposites but have an almost neutralizing effect upon one another as the relationship goes from unfriendly to friendly to fatherly to possibly something else.  Starting out you could swear that this was going to be nothing but an uncomfortable yet funny comedy about a jerky old man set in his ways, but over the course of the film it lightens up rather quickly and turns a direction that you just don’t see coming.  At the very least it’s unpredictable.  At the most it’s rather funny and at times hilarious.  Larry David doesn’t have to be anyone but himself here and that’s just fine for this character.  While none of the acting is outrageously great, Wood and her mother, played by Patricia Clarkson, are both a hoot.  And for those of you that insist that you can’t put up with more than thirty minutes of Larry David at a time – good news – he disappears in the second act for a very large chunk of the movie.  And with this ensemble you don’t even miss him.  B+

Orphan
Rated R for disturbing content, some sexuality and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

When a couple loses their third child during birth, they decide to adopt a young Russian girl to make up for the loss.  Unfortunately for them, the new addition is a saint to their face, but a demon behind their backs and a real danger to their family.  I was hesitant to see this one after star Vera Farmiga’s last creepy child movie Joshua was such a let down.  I have to admit that this one is a much better attempt at the genre though.  While the husband, played by Peter Sarsgaard is annoying in his ignorance, Vera and the little girl, played by Isabelle Furhman put on a nice little show with plenty of scares and chilling scenes.  Please take note of the R on this one though as this is a very violent, dark film with a little child doing things she shouldn’t be doing.  I can easily see folks grabbing it off of the shelves thinking it to be a PG-13 and wondering what they got themselves into.  B

Prisoner: The Complete Series
Available on Blu-ray

This popular British series follows a former top-secret operative who is abducted and thrown into a place known only as “The Village.”  Village residents are given numbers instead of names and each is held captive because of the knowledge they possess.  Now known only as Number Six, he battles to protect himself, discover the identity of Number One, and hopefully escape.  The convoluted plot and innovative style earned this TV show cult status in the 60s and now that it is being released on Blu-ray with a transfer from the original film elements and a newly remixed 5.1 surround track, it stands to attract its audience back and maybe pick up some new fans along the way.  The five-disc set includes way more special features than I had time to dive into, but should make any fan very happy.  Overall, I can see why folks liked this show and I’m actually anxious to see what AMC does with the new miniseries The Prisoner it is premiering in November.  A-

Dogfights: The Complete Series
Available on DVD

The History Channel recreates some of the most famous aerial dogfights from past, present and future in this 10 disc box set.  In Season One, they take a look back at the sky battles that took place in Guadalcanal, Korea, and Vietnam.  In Season Two, they take a look back at the great fights of World War One, where dogfights began, through Desert Storm.  Finally in Dogfights of the Future, they take a look at what our boys in uniform will have in store.  Overall, this is 23 hours of time-killing guilty pleasure that will have you glued to your TV in fascination.  It’s almost weird the addictive power this show has, and how fun it is to watch, even if you are like me and know nothing at all about planes.  A-

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