New in Home Entertainment – February 15, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

February 15, 2011

Waiting for Superman
Rated PG for some thematic material, mild language and incidental smoking
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

One of the most glaring omissions from this years Oscar ballot was this sobering documentary about the failure of the American public school.  Following children and schools from around the country as well as leaders in education, the documentary sets out first to explain why we are in the mess we are in and then shows not only how we can get out of it, but how programs around the country already have.  Most of the blame given in the film lies on the very powerful teacher unions and the fact that it is almost impossible to fire a teacher in this country.  While the rebuttal is not allowed by the opposition, the case is made well and is difficult to refute.  The film itself is a roller coaster of emotion that will leave you in hopeless tears.  More than anything, the movie makes you angry that the answers seem apparent, but yet nothing is being done to correct the problem.  As an incentive to buy the film, the movie comes with a $25 gift card for donorschoose.org which will allow you to make a donation to school projects from around the country.  A-

Unstoppable
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and peril, and some language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

I was not looking forward to this Tony Scott directed film due to the fact that I thought he was getting on too much of train kick since his last film, The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, was a runaway train film as well.  But I came out very impressed at this original actioner where the villain isn’t human, but rather a large locomotive aimed to destroy a major U.S. city if not stopped.  Scott infuses the movie with a tremendous adrenaline push and the performances by Denzel Washington and Chris Pine are perfect for the picture.  While some of the side stories don’t work as well as the central plot, the film is so fast-paced that you hardly notice.  B

The Double Life of Veronique: The Criterion Collection
Rated R for scenes of sexuality
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Polish and French with English Subtitles

This 1991 classic film by legendary Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski is getting another royal treatment from Criterion in this new Blu-ray edition.  In this complex fantasy, Irene Jacobs stars as two women living in separate countries who each have live different lives but have a subtle sense of each other.  It’s not only a fascinating story, but it is so beautifully handled that it becomes mesmerizing.  Many will be thankful that the film utilizes the original ending rather than the U.S. ending that Mirimax’s Harvey Weinstein forced Kieslowski to add.  As you would expect from Criterion, the special features are numerous and include the U.S. ending, commentary from Kieslowski biographer Annette Insdorf, and many other featurettes.  A-

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