New on DVD

New on DVD

Apollo 13: 15th Anniversary Edition
Rated PG-13
Available on Blu-ray

In order to capitalize on the 15th anniversary of the theatrical release of the Ron Howard/Tom Hanks Astronaut classic, Universal is releasing Apollo 13 for the first time on Blu-ray.  For most folks in Houston, the events of the film are a close to home history when Jim Lovell and crew attempted to land on the moon and almost didn’t make it back to Earth.  While Howard admits that he never intended it to be so, the film has become one of the most important historical looks at the NASA program ever put on film, telling more than just a story, but also fully explaining our unique fascination with space exploration as well.  Universal brought back all of the old special features from earlier editions, but there is very little new on the disk and that is a shame.  The U-control features, especially the one dealing with Tech-Splanations is a nice addition, but they really should have updated the documentary Conquering Space: The Moon and Beyond as it is incredibly dated.  While the commentaries were taped 15 years ago, I highly recommend the one with Jim and Marilyn Lovell as they relive their experiences while watching the film.  It’s a very unique way to take in the movie.  B+

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This second installment puts Alvin and his brothers in school, while three new female chipmunks come on the scene to give them a run for their money.  I have to admit that when I was a kid I used to like Alvin.  I sped up records and sucked in Helium to imitate the sound.  So I can understand how kids can like it, but the difference is now I wish they wouldn’t like it.  It’s not that this is a bad film.  I can’t think of any way to make it better.  It’s just annoying.  Really, really annoying.  By ninety minutes in I wanted to strangle the rodents though the screen.  I really do believe that Alvin the Chipmunks was invented as a weapon to seek revenge against parents for having children.  People without children and critics unlike me who had something else to review this week are laughing themselves silly at the poor saps who have to put up with this.  If you are one of said parents – I feel bad for you because your kids are gonna tear that disc up, just like they did the first one.  My advice: invest in some nice noise-canceling headphones, plug them into your iPod, and say over and over again “serenity now.”  For kids: A  For adults: F  

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