New on DVD October 19, 2010

New on DVD October 19, 2010

How to Train Your Dragon
Rated PG for sequences of intense action and some scary images, and brief mild language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Based on the best-selling children’s books by Cressida Cowell, How to Train Your Dragon tells the story of a young boy named Hiccup in a mythological Viking village that falls under the constant attack of Dragons.  When Hiccup takes down the most vicious Dragon known to Vikings, he chooses to befriend it instead of killing it.  For me, this is still the best film of the year so far.  It is full of raw emotion, thrills, daring and adventure.  It is both spectacular to look at and listen to thanks to the brilliant directing by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders and a breathtaking score by John Powell.  The special features are also very much worth taking a look at just so you can see the pure artistry of the film.  A+

Oceans
Rated G
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Continuing Disney’s Earth Day Nature series is a stunning look at the Oceans of the world.  Just like last year’s release Earth, the visuals are amazing and truly beautiful to take in.  The problem with this one is the horrendous script and even worse narration by Pierce Brosnan.  I consider myself to be a conservationist, but the story told here hurts the cause and serves just to annoy the viewer rather than to enhance the picture.  Maybe if you can turn the volume down all the way and turn on some nice classical music the film has a chance to be enjoyed.  C

The Karate Kid
Rated PG for bullying, martial arts action violence and some mild language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan star in this reboot of the original 80s classic.  In this story, Jaden is forced to move to China due to his mother’s new job, and in order to not get picked on and beat up by school bullies, he must train under the tutelage of Jackie Chan and eventually face the bullies at an open tournament.  While the story is  very contrived, it is hard not to be impressed by Smith’s discipline and knowledge of martial arts.  The kid really learned to fight and  the choreography is remarkable.  The film is also pretty to look at, showing the more aesthetically pleasing parts of China and leaving out the ugliness.  I could have gone for a little better acting on the part of Smith, but his ego gets in the way of his performance.  Then again, when your mom and dad (Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith) give you your own 55 million dollar film, its hard not to get a bit of an ego going.  B-

Jonah Hex
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, disturbing images and sexual content
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Based on the Civil War era DC Comics character, Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) seeks revenge against the man that killed his wife and child.  While the movie contains a lot of action and violence, due to bad directing and an even worse script, the film fails to deliver an entertaining experience.  There is great potential here but the PG-13 rating keeps it from going where it needs to go to succeed and the way it’s pieced together shows the studio gave up on it before it was released.  Not even a scantily clad Megan Fox could save this comic tale.  C-

Psycho: 50th Anniversary Edition
Rated R
Available on Blu-ray

Finally getting the much-needed HD treatment is Hitchcock’s 1960 horror classic Psycho.  The transfer looks pristine and thanks to a very talented and caring sound production crew, the movie now has a stunning 5.1 surround track.  While the movie has lost a bit of its scare over the last 50 years, it is still extremely creepy and remains one of the most influential movies of our time.  Check out the new special feature on Psycho Sound as well as some of the old features including Hitchcock’s Legacy and a great commentary by Stephen Rebello.  A

The Darjeeling Limited: Criterion Edition
Rated R for language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Wes Anderson’s film about three brothers (Owen Wilson, Adrian Brody and Jason Schwartzman) traveling through India to visit their missionary mom is getting the ultimate collectors touch with this new Criterion set which contains tons of great special features and everything you would ever want to know about what went on in the making of the surreal comedy.  While it’s not my favorite Anderson pic, it remains probably his most artistic.  Now we just need Criterion to take on Rushmore and Fantastic Mr. Fox! B+

Predators
Rated R for strong creature violence and gore and pervasive language.  
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

While originally slotted to be the first sequel to Predator, this new Predator story tells the tale of some of Earth’s greatest killers who are all kidnapped and put onto a game reserve on another planet so the the Predators can have fun hunting them for sport.  The unlikely cast assembled are some Hollywood’s best actors including Adrian Brody, Topher Grace and Laurence Fishburne and the movie provides for a pretty entertaining butt-kicking action flick.  Sure its silly at times, but the movie doesn’t suffer from it.  B+

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: 35 Anniversary Edition
Rated R
Available on Blu-ray

The first time I saw Rocky Horror was on VHS with only three people in the room.  So its no wonder that I thought it to be a pretty crappy film.  But once I had the chance to see it with hundreds of people all screaming and going wild, I came to the realization that this is just not a good film to watch without a crazy crowd.  This blu-ray release attempts to remedy this with a picture-in-picture midnight experience that I can’t suggest highly enough.  Otherwise you’ll get the same lousy experience I had the first time and wonder what all of the hubbub is about.  B-

    

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