New in Home Entertainment – March 8, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

March 8, 2011

The Walking Dead
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
With the popularity of all of the vampire shows popping up recently on TV, it’s no wonder that someone wanted to create a series based in the zombie world.  In the wrong hands, this sounds like a horrible idea, but in the hands of Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont, it turns out to be brilliant.  In this short first season, a group of survivors during a zombie outbreak gather just outside of Atlanta and do their best to survive.  Although many of the ideas are stolen from the cornucopia of zombie flicks such as 28 Days Later and even Shaun of the Dead, the show turns out to be daringly original due to strong character development and just enough of the walking dead to keep you freaked out.  The relatively unknown cast of actors perform as a strong ensemble and the production values are through the roof, cable television or not.  And if you are like me and a victim of your cable company (AT&T in my case) not carrying AMC in HD, then you will love the boost in quality of the viewing experience.  A-

Jackass 3
Rated R for male nudity, extremely crude and dangerous stunts throughout, and for language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

I still can’t believe that no one from the cast has died or been too injured to keep on making these movies, but each one is getting funnier than the last, with the proof coming out on DVD and Blu-ray this week.  While I could still do without the bodily function stunts, the rest of the film is so funny it will make you hurt from laughter almost as much as the cast hurts from the actual stupidity.  Sometimes when I watch this stuff, I feel like Dax Shepard in the movie Idiocracy watching “Ow! My Balls,” hardly believing that this is the funniest movie of the year.  But then I take off my snobby critic hat and sit back and enjoy the awesome display of fatuity.  B+

Birds of the Gods
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

You could have David Attenborough narrate a movie about dung beetles and it could almost trick you into thinking you were watching the most interesting film in the world.  But when you give him material like this, the experience is very satisfying.  While not quite as beautiful or well-produced as Earth or Life, this short doc from PBS on the Birds of Paradise is one marvelous-looking piece of nature footage.  In order to educate and not just just allow you to chill out and stare at nature, the film ties in two researchers who follow the birds and dream of filming them during the mating rituals.  The results are peculiar and captivating.  On a nice TV in 1080p, this makes for not only an enriching, but an entertaining experience as well.  B+

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