New on DVD October 12, 2010



New on DVD October 12, 2010

Splice
Rated R for disturbing elements including strong sexuality, nudity, sci-fi violence and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

When two scientists attempt to splice human DNA into a creature that they have created from multiple animals, they are forced to steal their creation and go underground when the pharmaceutical company they are working for pulls the plug on the project.  At first the creature takes on the properties of a human, but as time elapses it becomes a hybrid of many different animals and extremely dangerous to all those around it.  Splice is a strange little film that starts out like a horror film, transforms itself into a weird little family story, and then propels itself back into a horror film again.  The acting by Adrian Brody and Sarah Polley is excellent and the production values are terrific especially considering the relatively low budget of the film.  The problem is that this film becomes exceedingly uncomfortable to watch towards the end due to some really deranged choices by the writer.  B-

Benny Hill: The Complete Megaset

Available on DVD

For twenty years Benny Hill ruled the sketch comedy genre with his racy yet hilarious characters and witty writing.  Especially nostalgic for me, my father and I got in so much trouble, time after time, when my mom would come home and find us watching him.  Compared to now, the comedy is tame, but from 1969-1989 it was considered one of the edgiest shows on TV.  This new set contains pretty much all of it including almost 600 sketches on 18 DVDs.  B+

The Exorcist: Extended Director’s Cut & Original Theatrical Version
Rated R for strong language and disturbing images
Available on Blu-ray

When The Exorcist was released in 1973 it took the world by storm and changed the horror genre forever.  Widely hailed as the scariest film of all time, it tells the story of a young girl possessed by a demon and the priests that attempt to rid her body of the unwanted entity.  This new remastered release contains both the original 1973 version and the Extended Director’s Cut released in 2000, both in stunning HD.  The beautiful collector’s set is packaged in a book-like format with the discs and notes about the film.  Also on the disc is a new 3-part documentary on the movie’s production and legacy.  A

Sex and Lucia
Unrated
Available on Blu-ray
In Spanish with English Subtitles

Paz Vega (Spanglish) stars in this erotic drama about a young woman who after the death of her boyfriend moves to a secluded Mediterranean island where she meets a new man as she reflects upon her troubled past.  This intensely erotic film is more graphic than you would expect but the movie is superbly written, directed, and acted by a daring cast.  I did find the movie to be somewhat confusing as it is not told in a linear fashion and instead only gives subtle clues as to timelines and reality.  B-

Arn: The Knight Templar
Rated R for violence
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
In English, Swedish, Arabic, French, and Latin with English Subtitles

After being accused of a crime he didn’t commit, Arn Mangusson is sentenced to the life of Knight Templar and sent to the Crusades to fight for his church.  While there he uses his wit and skills as a fighter to change the course of the war, and hopefully the chance to return to his long-lost love in Sweden.  I have to admit that this Swedish epic took me by surprise.  It looks just as good as a Hollywood big-budget film and has a great story that is well-acted by its talented cast.  Unlike most American films, which are mostly told in English, this film uses pretty much every language that would have been used at the time giving it a sense of reality that you don’t normally see in these kinds of features.  If you are looking for a good film about the Crusades – you can’t do much better than this one. A-

The Last of the Mohicans: Director’s Definitive Cut
Unrated
Available on Blu-ray

When Mohicans was last released on DVD with a special director’s cut much of what people loved about the movie was taken out and replaced with material that fans were ambivalent to.  For the Blu-ray release, Michael Mann created a brand new definitive cut, putting back in much of the cut material and making it a more worthy fan-friendly picture.  This retelling of the story of a white man, along with his adopted Mohican father and brother, who protect a British general’s daughters from a group of vengeance-seeking Indians is both tremendously exciting and romantic at the same time.  While the new cut is certainly great, the transfer to HD is not.  Much of the film takes place at night or indoors and these scenes are almost too dark to watch, even after huge television adjustments.  I was hoping that this was just a problem with my copy, but it turns out to be an issue everywhere from what I have learned in my research.  I am hoping that this is something Fox will rectify with a recall and hopefully new copies for those who have already purchased, as I would hate to see this new version dismissed due to a quality check error.  While the film is still one of my all-time favorites, I would wait to buy this new version until the problems have been fixed.  A-

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