New in Home Entertainment – March 29, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

March 29, 2011

Rated PG for brief mild violence
Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D

You know it’s a strong year for animated films when a movie like Tangled garners some of the strongest reviews of the year, makes over a half-billion worldwide, and still can’t muster up an Oscar nom for best animated film.  That being said, the tale of Rapunzel, the kidnapped long-haired princess locked high in the tower, couldn’t have been more entertaining or beautiful to watch.  The characters are all incredibly well-written, the music finds Alan Menken at the top of his game, and the animation is perhaps Disney’s loveliest to date (not including the Pixar pics of course).  While I abhor most 3D films nowadays – if you have a 3D television – you will love what the animators did with this one.  It really enhances the picture instead of getting in its way.  A+

Made in Dagenham
Rated R for language and brief sexuality
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

In 1968, a group of British women working in an automobile plant fight for equal rights, causing a disruption of the status quo in their own lives, their community and the entire country.  The true story of the Dagenham plant is inspirational, although a tad bit unoriginal.  Still, the performances are strong, especially those of the amazing Sally Hawkins and Bob Hoskins.  While not overly relevant for a message film, it is still a nice picture of the history of the Women’s Rights movement.  B+

The Resident
Rated R for violence, language and brief sexuality/nudity
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

Hilary Swank is an ER doctor in New York that moves into an apartment with an unassuming landlord, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan.  She discovers soon enough that something strange is afoot with her new place and that she might not be alone in the apartment.  Trying to be creepy, the film just turns out to be weird, perverse and laughable.  Hilary continues on a bad string of movie luck with this new project that not only does nothing for furthering her career but damages her reputation a bit as well.  C-

Cool It
Rated PG for thematic elements
Available on DVD

Bjorn Lomborg is one of the most despised environmentalists alive, not because he doesn’t believe that there is a problem, but rather because he knows there is a problem and doesn’t think driving hybrids and using compact florescent bulbs are the solution.  While I consider myself to be a strong proponent of a green lifestyle, I also think that Bjorn has some great points.  His solution is to spend less money on research that will help the environment (not zero dollars like many of his adversaries claim) and to spend the money we are currently “wasting” on the green cause to bring the world out of the dark ages, giving people water, food and much needed resources to allow them to help themselves.  His case is strong and the message of the film really hits home as you watch it.  Whether you are on the right or the left of the debate, the solutions presented here are hard to deny.  B+

The Ten Commandments
Rated G
Available on Blu-ray

Even by today’s standards, Cecil B. Demille’s The Ten Commandments is an impressive achievement in cinema.  With huge sets, thousands of extras, and a solid group of big Hollywood actors, this film still carries itself well almost 55 years after its original release.  This new restoration looks and sounds gorgeous and will allow most of its audience to see the film in its original glory.  This is truly a film that could not be remade to this spectacle today.  A

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection
Available on Blu-ray

Growing up in a house with only 7 channels on the TV, I managed to see a whole lot of old movies on the good old UHF stations.  Some of my favorites were the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes movies from the 30’s and 40’s.  So if you are like me and love to revisit these old films, you’ll love this set that includes 14 movies on 5 blu-rays.  Masterfully restored, this set includes favorites such as The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and others, complete with six audio commentaries and many other great features.  Sure the movies are dated, and Basil isn’t as entertaining as Robert Downey Jr., but there is a nostalgia to the films that many will enjoy thoroughly.  B  

The Civil War: Commemorative Edition
Available on DVD

What many consider to be the crowning achievement from documentarian Ken Burns is getting a fresh re-release with this commemorative edition of the masterpiece series about the war that almost tore America apart.  Remastered  for optimal picture and audio quality, this is the best the film has ever looked and sounded and there are tons of new features in the set as well.  Considering that my set, before Paramount was kind enough to send me this one, was in a bulky VHS box, I love having it now on DVD, although I’m sure a time will come soon when I’ll own it on Blu-ray or whatever comes after that.  While many documentaries don’t appeal to the younger generation yet, I was imagining while watching this again that if any teenager or college student were to take a look at this series, they would ace whatever history class was covering the subject.  A+

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