New on DVD

New on DVD

Baseball: The Tenth Inning
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Ken Burns professes on the special features of this documentary that he refuses to make additions to his award-winning specials, but with Baseball something happened that caused him to change his mind: The Red Sox finally won the world series.  So starting where he left off, Burns explores the history of baseball over the last two decades, from the labor strike that almost crippled the sport, to the home run contest between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, to the steroid controversy, and onto his home team finally giving their fans a world series win.  While I’m not really a big fan of baseball, it’s impossible to watch this and not be enthralled by the history of the sport.  As usual, the film is extremely well-edited, well-produced, and superbly narrated by actor Keith David.  A

Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition
Rated G
Available on DVD/Blu-ray combo

Back when the Oscars only had five movies in their best picture category, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was the first animated film to ever be nominated for Best Picture.  While it didn’t end up beating out Silence of the Lambs (what could), it did end up winning the Golden Globe for best comedy/musical – another unaccomplished feat before 1991.  Now for the first time on Blu-ray, I think most folks will perceive it to be a no-brainer that HD is only way to take in this ground-breaking film, but also of note are the extensive special features Disney has added to the mix.  All of the previous features are still present, but check out the supplemental disc for the documentary Beyond Beauty which tells the decades long story of how Beauty finally got made and what, exactly, went into making it.  Even if you already own the DVD, this new edition is well worth replacing the old.  A+

A Nightmare on Elm Street
Rated R for strong bloody horror violence, disturbing images, terror and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

This new Michael Bay reboot of the teen slasher film replaces Robert Englund with Jackie Earle Haley as the infamous Freddy Krueger – a maniacal monster that haunts teenagers’ dreams and kills them in their sleep.  There seems to be a lot more fright in this new version, but the one thing this redo lacks that the other one had in spades was a sick sense of humor that made the film fun.  This isn’t fun at all, but rather just a bunch of pretty kids getting killed and a silly story.  The acting and production are all fine, but without entertainment value this version proves to be just a waste of a good remake.  C

The Human Centipede: First Sequence
Not Rated but not meant for anyone under 18
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

When two American teenagers seek shelter from a storm while on vacation in Germany, they find themselves victim to a mad scientist who wants to use them in his latest experiment: creating a human centipede by attaching them mouth to buttocks with another victim recently captured.  This is the epitome of sick, twisted, vile films that will probably do well as a cult classic (just the trailer has been widely publicized) and will unfortunately be the older teenager late-night sleepover film for years to come.  While it never takes itself too seriously, it is still a film that is not even remotely pleasant to watch.  And if you make some popcorn while watching – it’s liable to find its way back into the bag.  C

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The Maltese Falcon
Both Available on Blu-ray

Finally on HD are two of Humphrey Bogart’s best films from his career: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and the film noir classic The Maltese Falcon.  You might be asking yourself “why is HD important for these old film?”  It’s simple – increasing lines of resolution on a restored black and white print makes the film look crisp and pristine – maybe even as good as when it first came out.  Both discs are loaded with special features including a night at the movies feature introduced by Leonard Maltin and informative commentaries by Bogart biographer Eric Lax.  Treasure: A-; Maltese Falcon A+    

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