New in Home Entertainment November 16, 2010



New in Home Entertainment   

November 16, 2010

The Kids Are All Right
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some teen drug and alcohol use
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore are a lesbian couple with two teenage children that are very curious who their biological father is.  When they track down their sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo), he attempts to work his way into their lives.  The film starts out as a sweet and funny alternate family comedy, but as tensions build, it becomes a thought-provoking drama that brings you into the fold.  This indie will most likely garner at least two acting nominations for Bening and Moore and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it ended up being one of the top 10 best picture noms as well.  A-

Mutiny on the Bounty: 75th Anniversary Special Edition
Not Rated
Available on Blu-ray

The infamous true story of the mutiny that took place on the HMS Bounty in 1789 gets the HD treatment in this beautifully packaged edition of the 1935 Academy Award winning classic starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable.  While the directing and acting styles are very much dated, the picture is stunning as is the collector’s packaging.  Unfortunately, the movie serves more as a historical relic than classic entertainment.  That being said, it would have been nice to have more special features, although the 1935 short Pitcairn Island Today gives a nice insight to the true story.  C+

Sondheim! The Birthday Concert
Not Rated
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

When master composer Stephen Sondheim turned 80, his friends, of which there are more than you can count, threw him a party where the New York Philharmonic backed up some of his most famous songs, sung by some of Broadway’s best performers, past and present.  Among the many performances are Michael Cerveris, Joanna Gleason, Patti Lupone, Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin, Bernadette Peters and dozens of other celebrated actors singing selections from his hit shows West Side Story, Sweenie Todd, A Little Night Music, Company and many others.  Needless to say, it’s a must own for any musical theater lover.  A-

Disney’s A Christmas Carol
Rated PG for scary sequences and images
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future) retells the famous Dickens story using the motion capture process that he previously used on The Polar Express and Beowulf.  The result is a gorgeous movie that ends up a little on the creepy side due to the looks of the characters.  Providing a lot more action than you would expect from a story about Scrooge, the pacing is perhaps a little too fast.  The special features provide a nice look at how the movie was made with this exciting new technology.  B

Twilight Zone: Season 2
Not Rated
Available on Blu-ray

Just like the recent Season 1 release, this second season set includes more Twilight Zone information than you will ever possibly need and is a fan’s must.  All 29 episodes with 25 new audio commentaries by a mother load of Twilight Zone experts, 22 isolated music scores, and many more features make this an exhaustive collection.  During its second season, TZ was really starting come into its own and the story telling set the pace for the rest of the series as well as much of the sci-fi and horror we see today.  This will be a fun one to watch and enjoy over the holidays.  A

Avatar: Three-Disc Collector’s Edition
Rated PG-13 for intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Many of you probably already own the previous movie-only edition of Avatar and are wondering if you need to repurchase the new edition.  That all depends.  This new set is pretty fantastic.  It includes 3 versions including the Original Theatrical Version, Special Edition Re-Release, and the new 3-Hour Collector’s Extended Cut which starts out on Earth.  If you are an Avatar nut, the newest release is well-worth the time and money.  What you’ll really want this edition for are the tons of special features on discs two and three including 45 minutes of deleted scenes in various forms of completion and a feature-length documentary on how the film was made from beginning to end.  Also, for those that didn’t want their kids to watch it because of language, there is an all new family-friendly audio track.  And it’s all wrapped up in a beautiful box as well.  A+

Night of the Hunter: The Criterion Collection
Not Rated
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Actor Charles Laughton’s (Mutiny on the Bounty) only directorial effort is being released in this new Criterion set, fully restored and chocked full of special features.  This story tells the tale of a dirty preacher played by the creepy Robert Mitchum that hunts down a young family when he discovers that his cell mate has hidden $10,000 somewhere at their house before he was arrested.  Aside from Mitchum and Lillian Gish, the acting is atrocious, as is the directing and production, although the story shows real potential.  If you are a fan of this 1955 thriller, you will certainly appreciate everything included in the set, but most will wonder why Criterion chose this title to give their special treatment to.  Personally, I would really like to see this film remade with a more talented director and a solid cast of actors.  C-

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