New on DVD

New on DVD

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and smoking
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Based on the Broadway musical, which was based on the Federico Fellini film 8 1/2, Nine tells the tale of a famous film director (Daniel Day-Lewis) that is dissatisfied with all aspects of his life, most notably his guilt of having to love only one woman when there are so many in the world worthy of his bed.  While maybe not the greatest choice for the latest big-budget Hollywood musical, Director Rob Marshall and his ultra celebrity cast of performers, including Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Fergie, and Judi Dench, does a stellar job of entertaining and the film is as sexy as a musical can possibly be.  The problem lies in that aside from a couple of tunes, the songs just aren’t that great.  Guido’s Song and Be Italian get you going just fine, but most of the numbers just leave you thinking that the movie would be nothing without the amazing art direction. 

Leap Year
Rated PG for sensuality and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Amy Adams sets up an elaborate plan to propose to her boyfriend who just happens to be in Dublin on February 29, the day she is convinced is an Irish tradition to get engaged.  When the weather doesn’t cooperate with her plans and she ends up way off course, an innkeeper (Matthew Goode) offers to drive her the rest of the way to Dublin.  Of course they get in their own little adventure and she must decide if she really wants the new guy or the old.  Two words: Predictable and boring.  If you just watch the trailer for the movie it is exactly what you expect, except you hadn’t wasted 100 minutes of your evening on it yet.  There are a couple of cute jokes, but overall it’s a sad little waste of time.  D

Dr. Zhivago: 45th Anniversary Edition
Rated PG-13 for mature themes
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

David Lean’s classic tale of romance and struggle set during the Bolshevik revolution is getting the hi-def treatment with this new release including a restoration taken from original film elements.  While I’d rather they have done this to Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia first, it’s still good to have such a quality version of this beautiful film for the library.  I do think they went a little overkill with that song over 3 and a half hours, but it’s still a remarkable motion picture. 

Saving Private Ryan: Sapphire Series
Rated R for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence, and for language
Available on Blu-ray

Getting the Sapphire treatment from Paramount this time around is the modern classic war film Saving Private Ryan.  Containing two discs, the movie is just part of the package here, as included in the set are hours of extras such as the making of the picture and a documentary hosted by Tom Hanks about the courageous men who filmed battles.  Even with tremendous undertakings like HBO’s Band of Brothers and The Pacific, Saving Private Ryan still holds up as probably the most realistic and certainly one of the most compelling WWII films ever made.  How it got beat out at the Oscars by Shakespeare in Love is still a mystery to me.  A+

Tokyo Sonata
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language
Available on DVD
Japanese with English Subtitles

When a Japanese businessman loses his job, his seemingly normal family slowly deconstructs to the point of pure chaos.  Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, this is a highly unusual film where we see the similarities of our culture and then the vast dissimilarities.  The father doesn’t wish to let his family know of his job loss, even though they already know.  The oldest son wants to join the American military against his parents’ wishes.  The youngest son wants to study piano, and might just be a child prodigy, but the father gives strict instructions to not do so.  And the mother is losing her mind.  The whole thing spins so far out of control towards the end of the second act that you wonder how the atonal mess can ever bring itself back together.  But I would challenge anyone to fight back the tears in the very emotionally impactful third act.  B+