New in Home Entertainment – July 5, 2011

New in Home Entertainment

July 5, 2011

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Extended Edition
Rated PG-13
Available on Blu-ray with Digital Copy

Although The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is one of the most popular cinematic events of our lifetime, you would never know it from the previous blu-ray release.  While many of the folks who wanted a blu-ray edition of the film were completely satisfied with the theatrical editions released last year, the Amazon.com score was a mere 1 star.  It’s not that the fans didn’t love the film, but rather that once you’ve seen the extended editions (which were released several years ago on DVD), the original pales in comparison.  These new editions boast a huge amount of new material, and unlike most films where the added material was simply put back in due to cuts made to appease the MPAA, these new films contain about two hours of missing storytelling, new music and great special effects.  And with Blu-ray, the presentation has never looked or sounded better.  In all, the set contains 15 discs, with all of the great special features seen on the DVDs as well as the Costa Botes documentaries that provide a very special behind-the-scenes look at the making of the three films.  So if you are satisfied with the CliffsNotes version of the film that came out last year, you can safely skip this new release; but if you are a big fan, this set will most likely have you salivating.  A+

Sucker Punch: Extended Cut
Rated R for sexual content, some violence and brief language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo

If you were one of the few that went to see Sucker Punch in theaters, you were probably like me and left the movie scratching your head in confusion.  Afterall, this latest Zach Snyder release about a young girl who is is locked away in a mental hospital unjustly, and attempts to fight her way out with her imagination (that supposedly takes place while she is sexy dancing) is about as confounding as you can get.  This new extended edition sheds some additional light to the story, as well as some decent enough effects and fight sequences, but the dazzle just isn’t enough to come away with anything meaningful or entertaining.  C-

People on Sunday: The Criterion Collection
Not Rated
Available on DVD and Blu-ray

A lot of love was put into restoring this 1930 silent film about ordinary people enjoying their weekend in and around Berlin.  With the original film negative destroyed, a huge international effort was put forth to bring this film back to life; and for being 80 years old – it looks great.  Perhaps the most meaningful attributes are that it was one of the first screenplays written by Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot) and it is a fascinating portrait of the simple life that would be completely changed in just a few years time when Hitler would come on the scene and National Socialism would take over these simpler times, changing the country forever.  B+

Das Boot
Rated R for some violence and brief language
Available on Blu-ray

Towards the top of my list of favorite war films is this 1981 film by Wolfgang Peterson (Air Force 1) that follows the crew of a German submarine crew ordered to patrol the Atlantic during WWII and severely harass allied ships.  The film is a claustrophobic masterpiece that will have you biting your nails for almost three and half hours (unless you wimp out and watch the theatrical cut which will only have you biting for two and a half).  The pic not only explores the war from the German point of view, but also portrays well the tension between the German navy and the Nazi party.  Nominated for six Academy Awards (and not in the Best Foreign Film category), Das Boot also holds the #63 ranking in the Top 250 films of all time on IMDB.com.  A+

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *